As soon as we reach the coast via the sand-covered mountains, we are now on the legendary Panamericana, which stretches from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego. The road is well developed. Nevertheless, the landscape remains barren and so do the villages. If Mars has an ocean and is populated, then it might look like this.
Or on Earth after a nuclear war. Or on the west coast of South America. As soon as we are on the coast, the sky is covered with clouds and the air is cold. After all the days of sun, the weather is unusual for us.
With a small detour we reach the small town of Mollendo. The city is located directly on the sea and has a beach with powerful waves, an imposing cliff coast and a colonial-style old town.
After the surroundings look so dreary and the villages look so barren from afar, the sight of downtown Mollendo is a pleasant surprise. The houses are colorful and the people are very friendly.
On the coast we enjoy a good meal and first of all we marvel at the view of the ocean as if we had never seen the sea before.
I notice that there are no seagulls here. The black birds that flock here instead are vultures.
The day we arrive there is also a celebration in town, a religious holiday celebrating Señor de los Milagros Day. So we not only enjoy the sight of the city, but are also offered a procession. First there is a service, so most of the town’s residents stay in the church. That’s why it’s so quiet today. Then the first people begin to pour out of the church. Policemen, sailors and soldiers line up in formation on the street in their dress uniforms. Then a soldier and a woman in a beautiful dress start a fancy dance in the middle of the crowd.
As the dance ends, clergymen carry a massive statue – it looks like its own altar – out of the church to bring to the procession.
Meanwhile, children have brought their own little sedan chair, bearing the figure of a suffering Jesus Christ, out into the street to lead the way. Some adult churchmen try to coordinate the children, but waiting for the dance to end and the actual procession to begin is bad for order.
We spend the night near the city and in the morning visit the Aubergue Infantil Maria Inmaculada and César Loarte, who runs the Auberge and gives us a warm welcomeA heart for children in Mollendo.
Of course we don’t miss the beach either. Leon has a lot of fun playing in the sand and with the shells. We change his wet pants a few times. He doesn’t mind the cold water of the Pacific on his feet.
After two days in Mollendo we set off again and follow the Panamericana north to find deserted beaches, sea lions, whales, fishermen and other things.