16/2. Tuesday. Again we were very lucky with the weather.It had rained the whole night and still rained in the morning when Eduardo came to La Lojana. But the rain soon stopped to start again when we arrived in Zumba 8 hours later.
We fetched the camera-man, Frans Coronel, whom Eduardo had asked to accompany us. We first drove to the entrance of the Podocarpus National Park, but we had no time to go in. So, we haven't seen one of these trees, also not near the street because they are cut and taken away for their valuable wood. In Vilcabamba we made a stop at the finca of the family of Frans. There we were cordially invited for breakfast by some 20 family members with papaya-yoghourt, yuca (=casave) and coffee. To some of the many children we could give one of our small presents and a balloon.
Frans Coronel joins us as cameraman.
Breakfast with the family of Frans
Then the trip started through a landscape of mountains and valleys, which I had made several times using Google Earth. I couldn't imagine how we would ever get through there. But here we were, going up and down over wide dirt roads (camino de tirra) with many holes on an average hight of 2000 m.
We saw a very large hacienda, remnants of an Inca pyramide and "pastos", were farmers had burned the fields and planted "mequeron". This African grass survives the ferns that usually compell the farmer to move further and start burning an other site.
Eduardo showing the newly planted mequeron grass.
We passed the continental divide ("la divisoria continental de aguas") around 12:30 on a hight of 2700 m. An hour later we came to Valladolid, mentioned by La Condamine, and had lunch. We continue over mountain ridges (~1200 m) with the Rio Yzimanchi (?) deep beneath us. It is surprising how everywhere along this road isolated houses occur and pastures on the top of the mountains. Is this still a heritage of the Inca tradition?
On the continental divide.
After 220 km we arrive more or less exhausted in Zumba (1300 m)where Eduardo found a hotel "El Emperador". That night it would rain continuously. In the middle of the night (3 am) a bus stopped; from where? A young women stepped out into the rain and entered a desolate house which had been burned half; a dog barked, then only the rain....
Evening dinner in Zumba. View from our hotel.