A dozen or so photos from the digital equivalent of the cutting-room floor. Clicking on any image will improve the resolution, but sadly won’t improve the quality of the photography. For past months in this ‘Snaps’ series, click here; and find literally hundreds more where these came from on our Flickr page.



muruhuayharp-900The music played by the amateur brass bands at Peru’s any-excuse parades varies between irresistibly joyous and a bad night at Café Oto. In most ensembles, trumpeters, tubists and drummers are in the blaring majority. But for a spell in the central Highlands, the bands consisted of about a dozen saxophonists, a racket of percussion and, inaudible at the back, a violinist and a harpist, harp strung uncomfortably around his neck as he struggled to keep up. Our friend Danny, whom Will has known since they studied music together at university, occasionally visits this site hoping to find a photograph of a ridiculous Latin American musical instrument (such as the ones we previously featured here and here). Dan, we trust this’ll do.
Muruhuay, 12, Peru
2 May 2014



pool-1024Just outside the dusty village of Huarmipuquio sits an empty, decaying, open-air swimming pool. Nothing remarkable, you may be thinking, but the pool sits at a laughably inappropriate 4,150m above sea level. While Will was marvelling at the circumstances that might have led to its construction, a local driver pulled over and explained, grinning, that there’s actually a thermal hot spring about a kilometre down the road. No one thought to connect it to the pool. ‘Estúpidamente.’ (We love Spanish.)
Huarmipuquio, 12, Peru
4 May 2014



tvjunin-1024Twenty minutes later, two pick-up trucks skidded to a halt just after they’d passed Will on the dirt road side of Lago de Junín (Ruth had taken the faster tarmac highway to the east). ‘¡Hola, gringo!‘ came the inevitable cry from what turned out to be a TV crew, who then interviewed Will for a documentary about the region. Seeing this photo again has reminded us that we completely forgot to watch it.
Lago de Junín, 12, Peru
4 May 2014



roadsign-1024The standard of Latin American road signage is perhaps a notch or two below what we’re used to in Europe. On the wonderful road between Huánuco and Chavinillo, some campesinos have taken matters into their own hands and made a couple of corrections.
Huanacanan (or is it Huaillacayan?), 10, Peru
7 May 2014



Corn drying outside a farmhouse, a familiar site in parts of central Peru.
just west of La Unión, 10, Peru
9 May 2014



These rare and curious things are puya raimondii, a kind of outlaw bromeliad with a brief autumnal flowering. They grow in only a handful of locations, all in the high Andes; Will saw this bunch, and several hundred others, on the way down from the 4,853m pass featured at the end of this post.
about 10km east of Carpa, 02, Peru
10 May 2014



Included for context: we don’t always get lucky with the weather. The day after Will and Alex scaled the Punta Olímpica under mostly clear skies, their luck changed. Heavy rain left the dirt road in iffy shape, and a soupy mist obscured the apparently spectacular views. This was a not untypical early-morning scene; as the rain continued, the surface got much worse.
north of Acochaca, 02, Peru
16 May 2014




Peruvian residential architecture is an improvised shambles of adobe, concrete and tin, with many buildings deliberately left unfinished so they’re not liable for property taxes. It’s a fairly ugly sight left even uglier by the political adverts clumsily hand-painted on to many walls, usually consisting of a name, a slogan (‘Somos Peru’, for example; ‘We are Peru’) and a kind of clip-art symbol representing the candidate or party: a football, a spade, a boot. (These symbols appear on ballot papers, so those who can’t read are still able to vote.) We will miss many things about Peru, but we won’t miss this.
Yanama, 02, Peru / between Carhuaz & Caraz, 02, Peru
17 May 2014 / 19 May 2014




The headline feature of the dramatic Cañón del Pato (literally, ‘Duck Canyon’) is the series of 40-odd tunnels that allow road users to thread their way through this needle’s-eye valley. We’re told it can be unpleasant for cyclists, who get caked in dust kicked up by trucks that come barging down the single-lane dirt route with no second thoughts. However, we got lucky: although the road was officially closed for construction when we arrived, the trabajadores were having a cuppa and so we were waved through with the road to ourselves. Here’s Ruth looking for the light at the end – oh, all right then, and the side – of the tunnels.
Cañón del Pato, 02, Peru
21 May 2014



Mars. (Any similarity to the private dirt road that connects the no-horse junction town of Chuquicara to the Panamerican Highway, short-cutting the apparently unpleasant city of Chimbote out of the journey north, is a coincidence.)
22 May 2014



ecuaborder-1024At last, another frontera. In this picture, Ruth’s in Peru, but Will’s in Ecuador.
Peru-Ecuador border (La Tina-Macará)
27 May 2014



from Loja, Ecuador