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people and bikes


I arrive in Junin hoping for a little comfort. I’ve been in my tent, mostly in fairly marginal campsites, just about every night since I left Huaraz and – aside from the springs at Viconga – haven’t seen hot water in that time. Since I am not really in favour of cold water, my clothes and I are, unquestionably, filthy. However, it transpires that the hotels of Junin are a sorry lot.

I am considering riding out of town in search of a camp site when a tall foreigner standing outside a hostel on the highway hails me on spotting my bicycle. After five days of el silencio an evening chatting to another touring cyclist seems quite appealing so I check into the Hostal Aguilar without even casting my eyes over its rudimentary plumbing system.*

A welcome encounter with some fellow cyclists, an Austrian couple - whose names have vanished from my memory - on their honeymoon. Their matching Koga's - a wedding gift, I think - have named frames, his is El Tigre (The Tiger), hers Mariposita (Little Butterfly). These guys are not travelling light - four panniers apiece, bags across the back rack, a guitar - and he sports a backpack, too.

They are heading north and given their burdens stick to pavement.

*It transpires, on closer inspection, that the shower in the communal bathroom associated with my room is not functioning.

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