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Huaraz and the Cordillera Blanca |

Our next destination was Huaraz (3090m above sea level) which is is set in the middle of snow capped Mountains. A Little Swiss town type feel to it. Wow.. ... What a beautiful place to live. It has the view of the highest Peruvian mountain from it - Cordillera Blanca Huascaran at 6768m. This town is set at the outskirts of the Huascaran National Park which is full of snow capped mountains, lakes, glaciers, protected trees and plants and hot springs. It has it all!

We decided to go on a tour and explore some of this beauty but first we visited this beautiful garden with this amazing view of the Cordillera Blanca. Why were we here? Well, just where we stood was once the town of Yungay. At 3.23pm on 31st May 1970, an earthquake of 7.8 on the Richter scale hit the town for 45 seconds. The ground opened up and people just didn't have a chance. Any one who survived this ran to the mountain. Unfortunately, five minutes later the earthquake caused an avalanche which built up a speed of 400km an hour and killed anyone in its path. 25 thousand people died in it. Unbelievable. 300 children survived as at the time they were at a circus on higher ground. Unfortunately most of these kids were orphans. Its hard to believe that we were standing on the town.

We moved on to Llanganuco lake. Now that was beautiful. Set at the bottom of snow capped mountains. So enjoyable to wander around. This area is so picturesque. The next day we headed off in the other direction from Huaraz. We stopped off all of a sudden at what looked like a pool of water surrounded by bright orange earth. The pool though had bubbles rising from it. Bicarbonated water! Supposedly if you drink 2 glasses, you will have eternal youth. I will wait for your opinions on whether it is working for me on my return! Tasted awful but I suppose there is always a price to pay with beauty and eternal youth!!!

Next we were passing the most unusual plants that I have ever seen! They are called Puya Raimondi plants and they have the largest number of flowers in the world - 18,000 individual flowers, 6 million seeds, and are at a height of 12m. Mad It only blooms once and that is at the end of its 28 year life. Unfortunately they weren't in flower when we were there. That would have been a sight!

We next arrived at Pastoruri Glacier at 5000m above sea level. This is the highest we have been on our trip. The Inca Trails highest point was 4200m if I can remember. So, yes it was a little bit of a struggle up hill. Great views around the glacier. We were travelling with mostly other Peruvians, many who had not seen snow never mind a glacier before so there was lots of excitement. Eimear and I found a cave under the glacier which was so picturesque. What fun we had in here.....

I'm so glad we made our way to Huaraz. Its so undiscovered by foreign tourists. Just great!

Locations Visited: Huaraz

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