Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Leaving Celedin by Movil Tours we at once climbed into the high cordillera. Having woken with that Imodium feeling I had a few concerns when the driver passed round plastic bags. Movil Tours is one of the more respected bus companies and we had 2 drivers for our 6 hour trip, both wearing company uniforms and driving an old but clearly durable Mercedes Benz. I had a front seat and a great view.

It is hard to describe the experience but suffice to say it will count as my most memorable bus rides and at only £7.50 I would have paid that just for the buzz. We climbed to 12000 feet and descended to tropical levels twice and stopped for lunch along the way. The road wasn't asphalt but had a mainly good surface as we clung to the mountainside snaking round bends only inches from certain death drops.

Arriving at Leymebamba I was situated in an excellent hospedaje, Laguna de Dos Condores. This is a small town, quiet and very pretty, reminding me of North Wales with its stone church, fast running river and steep hills and rain, but with a tropical flavour. It is said that there are more horses here than people and hence one needs to keep an eye on the path ahead.

There is a museum here displaying many of the finds of burial chambers/platforms which were discovered some years earlier at a distant laguna. Unfortunately people began to rob the graves for artefacts to sell and in so doing caused great damage to these significant finds. Eventually, with the help of donors and support of local people they recovered many of the mommies and have created a truly excellent museum. Walking to and from the museum the views were incredible and I faltered for superlatives, but maybe sublime would cover it. This is a very fertile valley and you could sense the plants growing.

After visiting the museum I went for a coffee opposite and by chance met up with Rob, a guide from England who runs a tour service. You can fin him HERE It was nice to chat to someone from the UK. Later, realising there wouldn't be bus on Saturday I took the afternoon bus to Chachapoyas and found a reasonable hotel and later a pleasant bar, 'La Reina'.

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