Huancavelica was a tough choice to make, but I’m glad I chose the way I did. The city is currently in strike over university funds or the absence thereof. The protest turned violent shortly last week, but everything had calmed down by the time I reached Huancayo and the road blocks were dismantled. Anybody I asked there (and I asked a lot of people) told me not to worry and just go. So that´s what I did and I loved every minute of it.
Huancavelica is a small laid back town, at a stunning 3700m above sea level. It has very little tourism and this shows in an authentic interest and a very open and friendly way of communicating with tourists. As the protests hadn´t entirely died down by the time I got there, and part of the protest was that all churches, museums, shops and even the market stayed closed, I only spent little time there and went out and visited sites in the surrounding. One of those sights was the abandoned mine of Santa Barbara, hovering over the city and allowing for great views. It was a strong 2h walk up, but I was never really alone, a herd of alpacas and their guard or someone working in a field was always close by and usually a short stop would be welcome to exchange short questions, and if the person was a woman, tips on how to get a man, by preference Peruvian of course, were unavoidable.
When I got there the abandoned mine had everything one would expect: It made swooshy, scary noises, it had a lost shirt flattering in the wind and even shadows kept appearing and disappearing in it´s surrounding and around the ghost town which once hosted its workers. It was as spooky as I expected it and an interesting sight.
Next to the mine was the town which nowadays only consists of house ruins and left overs, except for the church that is still standing in all it´s beauty and can be visited from the outside.
On the next day, I was supposed to stop at the laguna de choclochoca. However when I got there on the only bus leaving that way, the windows were frozen solid from the inside and I was already freezing to death.. so rather than to get out, I scratched the ice from the window and watched the laguna from the not very warm bus as driving by.