It is hard to describe the 4-mile route to Matt’s school, which we walked a few times in anticipation of his daily “commute” in an effort to find the most direct route to a non-direct place. We found a good route and Matt has walked every day to school thus far and catches a cab home. You can check out his blog to see some great sunrise pictures and video showing the start to his day. http://mattgeiger.blogspot.com/
We start, obviously, at our house in Baños del Inca and walk through the town. Baños is small –we can easily walk around the entire town – and was the center of the expat community when there were more expats in the area. Houses are crowded close together and, like ours, generally run right up to the sidewalk. The main street in town has countless tiny shops and restaurants on one side and a market and main square/park on the other. We have become accustomed to walking around here, which was an adventure in and of itself at first. Sidewalks suddenly end or have large holes or random steps here and there, and piles of rocks pop up in the way. We have become pretty adept at navigating around Baños but still remain vigilant to avoid a broken ankle.
We rent the first two floors of our house. Our neighbor’s entrance is on the adjacent side and then they go up the outside stairs to the third floor. Maricarmen, her baby daughter and mother live there and are very nice. Conveniently, Maricarmen’s husband is Mexican and while he is currently working out of town, she speaks English as a result!
Once out of Baños we take the walking path along Avenue Atahualpa, which is the main road between Baños and Cajamarca. The path is decent and well used by walkers and joggers, and it would be a nice walk if not for the large amount of traffic (much diesel) on the road.
After about 1 1/3 miles is the turn off to Bella Union – a tiny hamlet. At first glance, the road doesn’t look much worse than Av. Atahualpa, but come the rainy season it will be a rutted mess.
Now we are in the country. A few cars go down this road, but not many, and we pass many farm families and countless animals. The natural aspect is quite pretty and pastoral, but we wonder how these people live apparently so behind the times. Just as we think that, a house will have DirectTV or a nice car in front of it. This is my favorite part of the walk although the countless dogs make me nervous. I would like to do this walk on my own, but am not sure that I will feel comfortable doing so without Matt.
After about another 1 1/3 miles we turn on a road that runs adjacent to the airport. This road is well paved, but a nightmare to walk due to all the traffic. We tried walking against the traffic, as taught in Wisconsin, and with the traffic, as they seem to do here, and neither makes for a safe-feeling walk. We pass a large piece of Caterpillar equipment on this road, and the first time by we stopped to take a picture to send to Tommy. Suddenly two dogs came running toward us, barking and teeth bared. Thankfully a passing motorcyclist beeped at the dogs and they ran away. The next time we didn’t linger but noticed that indeed the two dogs were guarding the Cat.
The airport road ends at Hoyas Rubio, which is the street with Matt’s school and finally we are back on a sidewalk for the last part of the walk. If I could manage to get out of bed to leave at 5:50 am, I could join Matt on the the country part of the walk each day, but anyone who knows me that isn´t going to happen!