Today we had to say a heartfelt good bye to Rocio and her team at Gocta Natura Lodge. We felt more part of the family than guests here and some of us had tears in their eyes when they said good bye. This is a very special place and all of us wished that you could just reach it easily for a long weekend instead of having to travel across half of the world to get here.
We emptied all of Rocio’s provisions for coffee, tonic water and white wine and we ate divine food throughout. The fresh home made breads, sweet cakes and desserts alone are three reasons to come back!
OK enough said, we had to get on our way back to Lima. As we had a flight from Jaén we had a drive of four hours in front of us. The first part through the canyon is picturesque, but not without danger. Driving along a windy road next to the Utcubamba river we witnessed the many land slides that have blocked the only road at various times. Some very recent, some older. The risk of falling rocks or washed out road edges ever present.
After two hours, the deep valley gave way to a more open space. The temperatures turned tropical and rice paddies started to appear as the river delta widened. As soon as we left the river delta, the land around us turned into a dry desert. We were driving into a dry zone between two mountain ranges and the change in vegetation was quick and stark. Trees and cacti appeared that you would find only in very dry areas and the lush rainforest was gone.
Finally we arrived in Jaén, quite an ugly township, if I may say so. Motorbikes and Mototaxis everywhere, not a single charming building, as all looked cobbled together without a plan and aesthetics in mind.
Way outside of the actual town is one of the smallest airports we have seen so far. One check counter, One departure gate and a long bus ride to the beginning of the landing strip. For our trip we seem to have way too much luggage… as if we intended to move here permanently instead of just spending two weeks in Peru.
Taking precautions to not loose certain members of our team (the ones who got lost know who we are talking about ;o)) we made sure to watch out. The plane from Lima arrived and had to be turned around and parked at the end of the runway, so despite such a small airport we had to take the bus to get there.
As the Peru / Uruguay game for the Copa America cup was going on, the boarding announcement was interrupted several times by loud, enthusiastic shouts of the crowd who watched on their smart phones and tablets. Peru beat Uruguay 5:4 in a penalty shoot out. Everyone on the plane was happy!
The flight back to Lima was uneventful. We did not leave anyone behind and all our luggage arrived. We made our way through Lima traffic back to our small buy cozy El Patio Hostelo in Miraflores.
Having only had snacks for lunch, we were all starving and opted for the small restaurant across the street. It turned out to become a memorable night! Good food, live music, way too many Pisco Sours! Esther left before things got completely out of hand. Lets me just say, things got a bit out of control afterwards as the level of alcohol increased as did the volume of the voices singing! We can’t tell what happened to the photos and videos that documented the evening – somehow they disappeared as if by magic …
Let me just say that some of us had to seriously detox for a day, could not eat anything, and/or had to lie down for an afternoon nap in order to recover.