The Feb. 19, 2018

First 4500m!


We leave San Antonio de los Cobres rested. We had (still) a little money misadventure: the day before, when we wanted to go shopping, we noticed that all the supermarkets in the city only took Visa cards, and we only have Mastercards, and of course the bank didn't take our cards either. We had to do our shopping for four days with what we had left, about 15 euros: long live polenta, tasteless cheese and palleta (reconstituted cooked ham)!

But hey we're rested and in shape. And thankfully, because we are attacking directly with a nice hill. The ripio is good, we are progressing well. We've lunch at three quarters of the climb. The landscape is pretty and we cross several isolated houses and llamas. A lot of trucks are on this road. We then see that they branch to mines which are still in operation. Before the summit, we meet a Swiss couple who has been traveling in South America in a 4*4 motorhome for three years already. We arrive at 4560 meters, at the Abra Blancas. The altitude makes it difficult to breathe, but we're already starting to acclimatize, and this is less difficult than the 4100m of two days ago. We go down then, the head wind slows us down quite a bit. But the landscape is beautiful at that moment, we follow a small stream in the middle of this deserted mountain.

We arrive at Olacapato quite tired. We ask the police where we can sleep. They invite us to stay in an empty room in the small station and to use their kitchen. The police station is surely the only place in the village with internet. In the evening, several villagers come to make their calls. This makes the police station very lively.