Thursday, 27 January 2011

Arequipa 2 (cycling)

Cycling with Team Inter here in Arequipa

Last Sunday I joined the first of the regular Sunday rides with my newly found group of friends. The posted time of meeting was 8.30 and arriving punctually I was only the third person to make the riverside rendezvous. Making use of the the time available before what was bound to be a delayed start Jesus aka Mono (Monkey) offered to show me round his sports club, Club International nearby. I am not sure what makes it International but it is a well appointed club with 2 pools, tennis, football, athletics, Gym, spinning, physio therapy and much more. I have subsequently bought a months's membership. Disgracefully, cycling around the club I got caught up with some plastic sheeting and fell onto the concrete floor emerging with slightly bloodied knee and elbow! Good start.

We set of, 26 of us around 9.00 am in a SE direction straggling out through fairly quiet streets eventually reaching the village of Puacarpata where there is a large church and Plaza. After this we headed for the hills, mostly on rocky single track skirting the edge of newly grown but illegally developed villages of box construction concrete dwellings. As were we, they were sitting precariously above a drop of some 200 feet. Actually most of the path wasn't ridable and we had to dismount and negotiate the loose dirt ledges carrying and wheeling bikes. It turned into more of a scramble than a ride. I found this curious since this route had been selected specially in my favour but it was at least a good upper body workout.
Rocky sometimes unridable path
Eventually we reached a rocky resting point where stood the remains of an Italian house built around the time of the War of the Pacific. It had once been a well constructed dwelling but was now dilapidated and isolated.
Italian abandoned house
We then headed on by foot to an oasis where stood a 100 year old palm tree which dominated the otherwise sparse vegetation. This seemed to be a point for reflection on how it could have grown here and we rested before heading on to an old abandoned gold mine constructed above a deep gorge. On returning most was down hill.

heading back

We eventually reached the restaurant, La Zambita. This belongs to Wilhelm a member of the cycling club and only opens Sundays serving food typical to Arequipa. I had Rocotto Rellena served on a pastel of potato and cheese.
Rocotto Rellena at La Zambita
It was spicy and good but too much to eat. Eventually and in spite of the onset of the afternoon rain we headed back to the centre.

It has to be said that the countryside around Arequipa is not the most wondrous that Peru has to offer but the points of interest we saw, including Andean terraces stand out in the otherwise somewhat bleak moonscape.

Team Inter, great people

All in all a great day out and an interesting and fun ride.


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