Oh Peru, How Sweet Your Coast Was
Adrian reports from the South American Epic bicycle expedition:
One’s immediate environment has a significant effect on their happiness. For me personally, I am happiest when surrounded by sparse open desert or facing a seemingly endless stretch of ocean. I love the open solitude the desert presents, humbling and inspiring all at once. Then there’s the ocean which provides the most wonderful form of sensory overload, the smell and feel of the salty air as it blows on by you, and the sight and sound of and endless blue horizon producing wave after wave after wave. Having been up in the mountains for a long stretch of time, I have found myself yearning for more of the long Pacific Coast of Peru. All along this stretch of coast the desert joins seamlessly with the sandy beaches of the ocean providing breathtaking views, delicious food and some enjoyable cycling provided you’re willing to be somewhat fluid with your definition of enjoyable.
South of Pacasmayo we found ourselves weaving through desert dunes and into La Gramita, a tiny fishing village full of delicious fresh ceviche and not a whole lot else. The coastline was scattered with rocky outcrops and ancient ruins offering dramatic viewing points for some truly magical sunsets over the pacific. La Gramita was also the first open starry sky since reaching the coast and so I took full advantage of this opportunity and slept out on top of a rocky bluff and watched the night sky drift slowly by.
In the surrounding regions of Lima we cycled along the old Panamerican Highway which cut through small coastal towns, many of which seemed well past their hay day which one can only assume is a result of the new Panamerican diverting daily traffic away from them, travelling through this coastal demise I found myself conscious of the fact that we would soon be heading inland. Whilst I was excited to discover more of the Andes I couldn’t help but realize that it would be many weeks and a couple of countries before I could once again dip my toes in the salty sea. And so no doubt this upcoming absence will make my heart ever more fond of my environmental Zen, which will make my reunion with the ocean that much better.