In the Heart of the Andes
(LIP-wb) — This story takes us along the backbone of Peru, from the bucolic to the commercial, through the Mantaro Valley, then on the Macho Train to forgotten Huancavelica and its sacred mountains, old colonial mines and scissor dancers.
Our adventure ended, via the Liberator highway, with the blessing of the Beatita de Humay, close to the ocean at Pisco.
You could say that history literally crossed our path, because the Mantaro Valley is essentially a cattle area and we had just left the Santa Ana hacienda, which survived the rigors of the years of agricultural reform and terrorist incursions, and is now a peaceful guesthouse.
And history crossed our path because a crowd of people and bulls appeared suddenly on the road, causing our driver, Valois Llanos, to brake sharply. This was the Chupaca fair, an old cattle ranching tradition.
We took the opportunity to check out prices: bulls for 2000 soles, horses 500, donkeys 200, pigs 100, and sheep for as little as 20 soles.