The train ride to Huancayo was long but beautiful. It also had a certain ¨real Peru¨ feeling to it, as it started out by driving through the, let’s say less touristy, area of Lima’s outer circuits and, shortly after the top, through La Oreya, Peru’s most important mining area and recently dubbed one of the ten most polluted places on earth.
Nevertheless it was mostly an enjoyable ride, I won’t lie though, the swaying train did get to me eventually. I also met anumber of people on the train, mostly French, Peru seems to be overrun by the French, so that I had someone to share the views with. We did see a number of Lamas and other local animals, but they tended to be out of view very quickly, even though the train was very slow.
Once in Huancayo, I had to find out that the Hostel I had reserved a room at, had misteriously moved from “40m from the train station” to “a 40 min walk to the station”. They were proudly announcing that the prices had stayed the same, though. I canceled my reservation and went on the hunt for something closer to town. I found it, but I had to pay a lot more than I liked. However this change of location gave me a great view on the parade the next morning.
Huancayo itself is nothing much to look at, it is also not very safe to walk around, apparently. So I did two trips that would take me out of town, one to Ahuac and one to Jauja.
My first trip took me to Jauja and its Laguna de Paca, it was the tourist trap I expected from the description in the guide (which tried to make it sound nice but somewhat failed). However the second sight at Jauja, barely mentioned by the guide, proved to be real nice, even though that was more for the view than the ruins to which we went.
My second trip before driving on to Huancavelica, took me to Ahuac and from there t another Laguna. This was very nice, as it wasn’t very touristy at all. Indeed the most touristy thing of the laguna was a number of well posted signs which showed me where to go. It looked as if this may be different in high season though. The entire time in Ahuac was of a peace and calm, that made you feel relaxed and happy. No cars, no noises, no nothing to disturb the country ideal.
The relaxation came to an abrupt end when I entered the bus. Supposedly one of the better and safer operators of the area, I still felt that the driver attacked every corner at racing speed and believe me there were many of them. You also don’t get to look down 500m of free fall from your bus window every day. I made it safely though!