Cerro de Pasco
The town of Cerro de Pasco, at 4,365m, is one of the highest cities in the world. It is a rather unattractive place, and there is little reason to even pass through. Cerro de Pasco is one of the main mining towns in all of Peru, and silver, zinc and lead are all found in large quantities in the surrounding mountains. There is little of interest in the town and it gets incredibly cold at night. However, if you find yourself stuck in Cerro de Pasco, the Laguna de Patacocha, on the outskirts of the city, offers pleasant views. A bit further from the city is the Bosque de Piedras de Huayllay, an interesting rock forest where the wind has eroded many strange shapes, including elephants and dinosaurs.
The standard of domestic football in Peru is not particularly high, especially outside of Lima. However, one team used to have one of the most enviable home records of any football team in the world. Although its away performances generally left quite a lot to be desired, Unión Minas, which played its home games in the city of Cerro de Pasco until 2000, hardly ever lost a local fixture. This had little to do with their stadium, which was hardly more than a field, or its fans intimidating the opposition (the team stopped playing in Cerro de Pasco because very few people turned up to support them). However, playing at over 4,300m altitude is a distinct advantage, especially when almost all of the other teams in the Peruvian first division are based at sea level. Hardly being able to run, let alone streak down the left wing, the opposing teams generally found playing against a team which was accustomed to the altitude a rather forlorn experience. Despite leaving Cerro de Pasco, Unión Minas has not completely abandoned its winning formula. It now plays its home games in several cities in the central highlands, all situated above 3,000m altitude. Not surprisingly, its home record is still fairly impressive.
The road from La Oroya runs along the pampa before reaching Cerro de Pasco, 3 hours away. There is little of interest in between, although the town of Junín is situated on the shores of Lake Junín (**), the second largest in Peru and the one of the world?s highest. The lake measures 78km by 16km, and its altitude is over 4,000m. There are over 40 bird species on the lake, including flamingos. There are five or six basic places to stay in Junín and several places to eat. Buses going to Huánuco and Cerro de Pasco pass through Junín. The town is also easy to reach by colectivo from La Oroya and Tarma.
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