Scanned from an old slide.. can´t really remember if it was Ecuador, Peru or Bolivia?
He approached me on the street and asked “señor.. usted puede hacerme el favor de tomar una foto de mi familia?” Mister.. can you do me the favor of taking a photo of my family?
This was in Huandoval in 1979, a small isolated village in the Peruvian Andes.
I went with him in to his house and suggested them to sit down in the doorway.
When finished the man in the house thanked me in a sincere way and invited me for a
drink. There was never any desire expressed for a copy of the picture, they just seemed happy enough for having their portrait taken.
Hope they are connected to the web today and google on “Huandoval”. If someone recognize this family I would be grateful for some information.
One of those trips to remember for sure, not only because of the heavily armed escort of peruvian soldiers (this was in the eighties when “Sendero luminoso” guerilla movement were active in the country. In 1992 the line had to close down for several years when bomb attacks killed 20 persons in the crew) but also because it happens to be the highest passenger railroad track in the world.
The route starts in Desamparados station in Lima at sea level. After an hour it reaches the town of Chosica. This is where the climb begins and we are not talking a simple uphill here we are talking the steep vertical mighty Andes.
Initially the train is zigzagging itself backwards and forwards gaining hight and edging its way between the mountain sides
The train totally passes 59 bridges and 66 tunnels on its dramatic and winding 12 hour journey through the cordillera to Huancayo.
The quick climb to altitudes close to 5000 meters is a brutal shock for the human body so the train company has a special service for the passengers who suffers from mountain sickness. Extra oxygen delivered by a man dressed in white. (see photo)
More or less half way on the track the train pulls in to “La Galera” station. At 4,781m it is the world’s highest train station. Compared to the dry pacific desert around Lima this is a completely different scenery and climate.
After climbing a few meters more the “Tren de la Sierra” starts to descend down towards the peruvian highland and the final destination of Huancayo.
During my visit to the remote and isolated village of Huandoval in the Ancash province in northern Peru in the eighties, I was lucky enough to be able to make a horseback excursion in the surrounding Andean mountains with the local shopkeeper.
We took off very early in the morning climbing the mighty Cordillera Blanca. Highlights on this adventure was when we after a couple of hours passed some old Inca ruins!
The road (path) in the picture at the other side of the valley is nothing less than pieces of the “Camino Real” the main road that linked Quito (Ecuador) with Cusco (Peru) in the days of the Inca empire. Quite impressive to see it like that, especially as I had no previous idea what so ever that these remains was waiting for us on this trip.
My host brought beans and guinea pig (Cuy) for lunch… yeah it´s delicios.
Turning back towards Huandoval it started to rain but luckily the shopkeeper had an extra poncho which he threw to me…
When travelling South America some decades ago my budget allowed me to stay only in cheap hotels.
Once I made a visit to Cajamarca in the Andes in northern Peru. Arrived late at night.
As usual I checked in at one of the less luxurious places and fell asleep almost immediately.
Next morning the andean light fell in trough that window, and I saw the graffiti !!
Este hotel tiene pulgas: This hotel has got fleas…
Went by bus from Lima, Peru to the small isolated village of Huandoval in the Andes. Road sometimes closed due to rain and avalanches!
If you keep on climbing you´ll reach the mountain Huascarán 6 768 meters high!
Can still remember that popular quechua song the driver played over and over and over … trough those cracked loudspeakers!!
It was a confusing battle where the Spaniards where extremely outnumbered. In the end the invaders anyway managed to capture Atahualpa and later on execute him.
It´s a thrilling piece of history. You can read about it for example in The Discovery and Conquest of Peru by William H. Prescott
It was the beginning of Latin America. These three mestizo boys resting in this Andean valley, ones the battlefield of Cajamarca, are descendants and a result of that violent and cruel meeting between the old and the new world! Click on photo to see higher resolution
This is the mining district in Bolivia. Principal town Oruru. The picture taken in Huanuni on the road towards Catavi, llallagua and the Siglo XX mine. Mining in Bolivia is on the uprise again as the mineral prices world-wide are increasing. The big lithium reserves is also a big asset.. think electric cars!
Revolutions in Bolivia have been initiated from these parts of the country. Working and living conditions are about as bad as it gets!
Guillermo Guzman Manzaneda at work painting “La Casona” in his studio in Huancayo, Peru 1979. Somewhere I have recordings saved where this internationally recognized artist sings indecent songs in quechua for us (the native language)