April 27th, 2006

The small industrial town of Huancayo sits in a fertile valley just over the cordillera from Lima.
The plaza is, as ever, full of life. People can bee seen sitting on benches and taking walks while children are chasing pigeons. On one side of the plaza is the old cathedral, opposite is a large indoor market.

The surrounding countryside is typically beautiful, more so as the wet season is coming to an end and things are greener than usual. We came across the old remains of a bridge outside town that crosses the river in the centre of the valley. It was here that during the War of the Pacific local women were able to stop advancing Chilean troops from crossing the bridge by cutting the ropes and killing many of the soldiers in the process. A monument is now found at the exact point where the old bridge was.

There are dozens of small producers of alpaca items around Huancayo and the pueblos nearby. In one such pueblo we were invited in to see the weaving process. The photos below of the woman shows how she turns the sheared fur into a single thread, how that then goes on the large weaving machine operated buy the man in the alpaca sweater that he probably made on the same machine!

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