Last days on the beach of Cerro Azul, south of Lima. Returning home - from a tropical climate to snow chaos.

Travelogue Peru 2006
Cerro Azul and Returning home

Well maybe I should just mention those days we did sleep in. Tuesday for example – was not one of those. We had booked an early flight to Lima as we did not want to loose a whole day to travelling. Unfortunately our flight had two hours delay or more probably they simply cancelled the first flight because there were not enough passengers. I strongly advise impatient persons not to travel through Latin America.

But there were quite positive effects of this delay. While I was writing on this report Ingrid checked out all shops of the boarding area. She did not only find some peaces of silver jewellery but did also find someone with valuable hints. The point was that we did have the ticket to Lima but we did not know yet where to go from there. As we could not go to the jungle we had four more days which we could have easily spent in Cusco. But we were longing for some heath (though we were so lucky with the weather it was not exactly warm in Cusco, cold in the evenings and nights). We wanted four days to relax, to sleep in, to do (almost) nothing. So it was quite obvious that we would go to the beach and we did not want to go to far from Lima to minimize stress on the way back to the airport. To go north or to go south? For a change my guide book was not very helpful, it says the same as most people you ask: The beaches close to Lima are not very nice and very crowded. The jewellery vendor recommended Cerro Azul (Blue Mountain), two hours south of Lima, a few kilometers north of the tiny town Cañete. He told Ingrid that this beach had been en vogue a couple of years ago, now the beaches were still beautiful and with few people.

Peru: Cerro Azul
Cerro Azul
Peru, Cerro Azul: Pacific Coast
South of the light house the Pacific is rough
Peru, Cerro Azul: Pelican in front of the light
Pelican in front of the light house

That seemed fine to us. No sooner heard than done. Tuesday afternoon we arrived and picked luxury: the best hotel of the village, a little more expensive than the places we stayed in before but with a light and spacious room, sea view, swimming pool (which we did not use) and direct entry to the beach. Well, it was not a Caribbean beach with palm trees but lots of sand and a reasonable amount of people. Considering that it was the Pacific the sea was calm, swimming possible (in other places the currents are deadly) and there were possibilities for long walks. We spent our days here sleeping till late in the morning and eating lots of very good food, especially fish. Tuesday night a wonderful sunset on a great rock. Wednesday a long walk north along the beach bill our way was blocked by more rocks where we had time to enjoy doing nothing but sitting on the rocks and watching some crabs. Thursday a walk to the other side, passing a light house and getting to another beach where the Pacific was really wild but still beautiful to watch. Friday we did even less (Beach, Food, Swimming and Sunset) and Ingrid buried me in the sand. Must have been some kind of archaic farewell ritual 😉

Peru, Cerro Azul: Farewell Ritual
Ingrid’s farewell ritual

Things to remember:

  1. Close to Lima there are beautiful beaches. The farer you get from Lima the less crowded they will be.
  2. Flocks of sea birds fishing, plummeting from high above and diving into the sea till the sea looked as if it was boiling.
  3. Sea birds gliding in the up winds of the evening, without purpose, just enjoying flying.
  4. Death: Like never before at the sea I saw death. Obviously fish die when birds catch them but nobody feels sorry for the fish (compare the children’s movie about Lars “The Little Polar Bear “ where the conflict between seals and polar bears is ended when the seals start to supply the polar bears with fish and hence are not eaten themselves). Being surrounded by beautiful nature it is easy to cherish the illusion that everything is nice and harmonic. But in fact it is only about reproduction and above all eating and not becoming food yourself. Wednesday at the crab rocks there was a big sea bird between the rocks where it obviously fled with its last energy. While we were sitting there the water rose and the flood carried it away, yet to weak to hold its head above water. Thursday at the wild Pacific beach there was a pelican with a broken wing, most definitely sentenced to a slow starving death. One other pelican stayed close to the injured one. Do pelicans live in lifetime partnerships? I don’t think so and I can even less imagine that one partner would fish for the other. By the way, pelicans are hardly afraid of humans, they let you come really close. Great birds.

And so we came to the end of our Peru trip. One more time we had to get up early to get a bus to Lima, a taxi to the airport and finally going separate ways, Ingrid to Santiago de Chile and for me it was Munich.

There was some more excitement to come: Areolineas Argentinas had cancelled my flight two weeks ago and booked me on a Lufthansa flight – but without checking whether they had a seat for me or not. I almost had had to spend a night in Madrid (not a bad option if you are not tired and if you do not have to work the following day, both unfortunately true for me). Moreover, there was snow chaos in Munich, Saturday it had snowed more than in any other day for some 50 years and there were no flights on Saturday at all, even Frankfurt was heavily affected and on Sunday they still redirected and cancelled many flights. But I finally got a flight to Frankfurt and from there to Munich. Can you imagine coming from the beach to deep snow? It was a fantastic view with wonderful sun but it was freezing cold. And even my backpack arrived. Four days later 😉

Germany, Munich: Snow on the Hohenzollernplatz
The Hohenzollernplatz in Munich at my arrival on March 5th, 2006

I hope that you enjoyed reading my reports and maybe they whetted your appetite for travelling Peru. You’ll hear from me once my photos are online.

All the best from Munich


© Volker Umpfenbach

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