Finally making it to our Christmas Holidays

Trip Start Oct 16, 2012
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Trip End Apr 20, 2013


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Flag of Peru  ,
Friday, December 21, 2012

We were pleased to be getting close to Mancora at last, as we had covered 750km in the past week. The first 5 days of cycling in the week had all been between 100 and 155km, which is tiring to say the least. So we were really pleased that our final day would be a slightly more manageable 85km, and would hopefully give us time to hunt out somewhere nice to stay. We had breakfast at the attached restaurant and looked up hostels on their WI-FI before setting of for the day.


We initially cycled along by the coast and then the road went more inland. The area was barren, with very little vegetation and no agriculture, as the soil was dry and dusty. The area was a desert with dry, red soil and dried out riverbeds.  Once we were back on the coast again we would occasionally cycle passed a house or two or a hotel near the sea. Sure enough they were marked on our map with the smallest size dot available, as there was not much else for them to highlight on the map at all.


We stopped in the middle of nowhere and feasted on a couple of mangoes that we had bought in the morning before leaving town. They were really tasty and juicy and along with lots of water they helped to quench our thirst from the dry heat. Unfortunately there wasn't any shade to be seen, so we just sat on the side of the road.


As we continued onwards we were surprised at how little traffic there was on the road, as it was a major highway and a good road. The majority of the traffic was cars or vans packed with families, with luggage strapped to the roof, who were obviously going somewhere for the Christmas period. About half way through the day we came across a small restaurant on the beach, which had numerous loaded up family cars in the carpark. We decided to check it out and see if they were making lunch. The woman said she could make us a fillet of fish, with rice, chips and salad, and she also had cold drinks available.  It sounded perfect! We sat on her shaded balcony overlooking the beach and watched children play in the waves, as she prepared our lunch. The lunch was simple but tasty and we hoped that the fish had been caught locally. When the bill came we were slightly surprised that somehow it cost about $16 for the two of us to have lunch there but it appeared that everyone was paying a similar amount and that we hadn't had “tourist tax” applied to it.

We continued along the quiet road, which was generally flat and would have been great if it wasn't for one thing; the wind. After our lunch stop the wind built up and blasted us in our faces for the rest of the afternoon. We plodded onwards and made hard work of the flat ground as the wind harassed us. We were both exhausted when we finally arrived into Mancora, as we had completed a long hard push to get there in time for Christmas. After 750km, our bodies were still up for the challenge but we were losing motivation and feeling ready for a break. Surprisingly the most sore area on my body was the palms of my hands, which had received a lot of pressure on them over the past week and having them in sweaty bike gloves all day probably hadn't helped. Of course, as soon as we stopped cycling and took a day off they were fine again.

Our first impressions of Mancora were something along the lines of “Oh, is that it?”, which may have been exacerbated by how hard we had worked to get there. The town was tiny, with one road with lots of fancy restaurants for tourists, but the road was under construction and it didn't have a pavement, so it didn't make for a very pleasant stroll. Then there was one road that connected the main road to the beach, which had a couple of jewelery shops, an ice-cream place and a couple of general food shops. Then along the beach front was about 10 small, less fancy looking restaurants, but only 3 of them were open. There was also a promenade being developed, which took the view of the beach away from the 3 places that were open and road construction further on down the beach road.  It all felt kind of strange and Kory even wondered if there had been a tsunami hit that we weren't aware of.

We grabbed a beer at one of the restaurants and tried to make a plan of where to look for accommodation. As we sat on the restaurant's outdoor seating, two french guys came over and with limited English expressed that they thought it was great to see us and check out of bikes. They seemed to have got bikes here in Peru and were cycling up the coast a little way, as part of their bigger backpacking trip. Before they had asked which way we were heading they exclaimed “the wind is great, huh, you hardly have to pedal, it just pushes you along”. I wish!!!  We cycled around town for a little while but struggled to get our bearings with all the construction and with having no map provided in the guide book. We came across a campground and decided to camp for the night, which would allow us to walk around the town tomorrow and decide if we wanted to stay or if we were going to move on to somewhere further down the coast.

By the time we had our tent set up we were both starving, so quickly headed back to the restaurants that were open earlier in the day. We both tried cerviche for the first time, which is fresh fish that has been marinated in lime juice, with onions, chillies and coriander, and is served alongside some corn-nuts (hard sweetcorn) and banana crisps for a crunchy accompaniment. Following this, we had what can only be described as a prawn and vegetable omelette, with chips and salad, that is called a tortilla de langostinos.  This meal in total cost us $3 each, which seemed much more reasonable for a South American dinner.
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