As soon as we landed in Tarapoto we hopped on a combie to Bagua Grande, rucksacks on top and tied on with netting, as usual. The ride was long and hot and squashed, and the combie started smelling as the time went on. It was sunset by the time we arrived and we walked into the plaza de armas looking for a bed. We went into the first hostel we found, just off the square and the guy who was temporarily on the desk was drunk as a skunk, so when we asked how much it was and he said 20 soles, it was sold. The room was big and had 3 beds and it had no window…which could have been a problem but it was actually an asset! We threw down our bags and went and had a smoothie, wondered around the square, had some typical dinner and went to bed. The next day we were off again, on our first actual coach (not combie) to Chiclayo. The journey was once again stunning. Through valley after dry valley, with rivers of the purest blue water running though mountains of dry dust, no greenery to be seen and no habitation. It was one of the cheaper journeys we took, but the seats felt like such luxury after such hard combie seats, and they RECLINED! And we watched a movie, had our lunch bought to us, and the journey went surprisingly fast.
Bus journeys are usually the worst, you don’t want to think about them and you always wish they’re just over and done with, or wish that you didn’t have to travel to get somewhere else . But I have to say that the bus journeys in Peru have been some of the best parts of my travels. I was angry when I let myself doze – missing out on the scenery. So amazingly alluring, always taking my breath and I have thought so many times during journeys in Peru ‘This is the most beautiful place I have ever been.’ At points in journeys you’re so high up you think you could just step out the bus and fly. Or right at the base of the mountains, following the meanders of turquoise rivers that I have wanted to transform into a fish and jump out the bus into the river and SWIM! And this just makes for such a nice change than being on a mega bus for 10 hours flying down the M65, because the M65 for Peruvians IS the Andes!