Waking up in the morning in Leymebamba we started the day in a restaurant for breakfast. After shopping some bread and other supplies we were ready for the road. Leymebamba expected a visit from a minister or the president of Peru later in the day (we had different answers when we asked the locals about the visit) and it would be good to leave before the town got crowded.
From green Leymebamba at about 2600m it we drove up, up, and up through some small villages. The Peruvian women are incredible at using all their available time. While walking in the streets in the village they are knitting or spinning yarn.
We got up to the Barro Negro pass at 3680m and we were driving above the clouds.
The road was narrow and was winding down the mountain side. From our chilly stop at the pass in 7 degrees Celsius it got warmer and warmer until it was actually too hot to make a lunch stop at Balsas at 1200m.
Down by the river crossing at Balsas it felt more like a desert, and we were surrounded by cacti in 31 degrees Celsius. We drove up again until the temperature dropped and we could have lunch. After lunch the climb up the road continued, and we got to a pass at 3700m before heading down towards Celendin.
14 kilometers out of Celendin a women dropped a heavy bag full of corn on the ground and turned towards us to get a lift when she heard us coming. In our five hours of driving the 120 km from Leymebamba we had meet 11 cars/busses and two motorbikes. It would not be right to pass this woman so we gave her a lift down to town. When we got to town she pointed out where her house was, so then it was just to take her there. In front of her house she asked how much she owed us for the ride like she would do with colectivos (cars and minivans that operates like busses). When I told her it was for free I got a big hug.
The road continued up again from Celendin and we were back up in the highlands where all the houses had bright green toilets outside. Our guess was that they were the product of a sanitary project.
El Indio at 3620m was our last high pass for the day and after about 9 hours on the road we were back down at 2700m in Cajamarca. Hacienda San Vicente just outside town let us camp in their parking lot, and we were their only guests. Then suddenly a group of men came rolling in with their suitcases. They all got their rooms and disappeared. At dinner we saw them again when they had a quick meal before leaving the hacienda. When they left some locals kids was approaching them asking for their autographs. The kids came to our table and asked for our autographs when all the men were gone. After willingly writing ours we asked who the men were, and we learned that they were a famous Peruvian band called Grupo 5. We had to google Grupo 5 and found this video of them http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=juFGdBC5oEQ
This was one good day on the road in Peru and we hope that it will be several days like this.