Colombia-Ecuador-Perú 2013. Day 31: Balsas – Celendín

2013/11/16balsas - celendin

Click on image to see map

An early start to avoid the heat was a very good idea. By 9am I was already at 2000masl, and the heat was nowhere to be felt…

The truth is I found this pass quite easy. Is long, true, but you only need a little bit of being mentally ready (and your legs to feel just ok). Or maybe after last days resting and with the loss of weight I was simply feeling better…

From a landscape point of view, going uphill this side is as nice as downhill the other side (yesterday’s route). But maybe yesterday’s was better, a little bit more spectacular… Dunno.

There’s nothing in the beginning. Just the birds and lizards. Feels like a desert. Then some houses show up. There’re couple of small restaurants later on. Last one was at km 23.8 of my route; it may be a good idea to stop there since there’re just couple of houses near the top after that (some at around km 37 and some more at km 40ish, in the last curve; still, no bars nor anything).

The feeling of this pass was great as well: being above (and sometimes amongst) the clouds, the whole valley all the way from Balsas and its little oasis, yesterday’s pass… Great!!

And from the top, an easy 12 km downhill to Celendín, which is a nice town, much bigger than what I expected.

Particularly special the costumes of local people. There aren’t big changes here, but some noticeable ones. The extended use of hats (and their size) and women and skirts were the ones that caught my attention the most. In a way, this town gave me the feeling of some kind of small Cajabamba in Ecuador: lots of local indigenous people dressed up like they used to. Not that many nor as spectacular as then but still…

Just one thing. This is why I’d like to recommend you NOT to stop in Celendín or spend a single penny there: bullfighting. They do that and are very proud of. Everywhere. That kind of savage “games” and the people who take part in them should be erradicated from Earth.

Truth, I discovered later on that this was quite common in lots of towns in Perú…

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