After the nice days I spent together with Torsten and Lutz, the two German cyclists that I met earlier, we split in the town of Ayacucho. I continued towards Cusco, while they decided to take a more rural road through Peru.
It was about 500 kilometers between Ayacucho and Cusco, the tourist capital of Peru. I took the main highway through the mountains that was fully paved. The road was surprisingly quiet for being the main road through the mountains towards the big city of Cusco.
I took me six days to cover this distance, which I think is pretty good if you look at the amount of mountains that you have to endure. I got passed passes of 4 kilometer every day. I remember being proud of climbing a mountain with an altitude of 3,6 km. Being in Peru for such a long time now, these altitudes are the most normal thing. The road to Cusco was tough, but it was worth the effort. The daily views on the snowy mountains keep surprising me and there is never a dull moment. Another thing that makes it much easier to endure is the perfect weather. It’s currently winter in Peru, which is the dry season of the year. This means a blue sky every day with a dangerously strong sun at this altitude.
A long a gradual climb, very typical in Peru
There are exceptions, unfortunately, since I started one of my days (on my way to Cusco) in the rain. While I was climbing all morning, the rain didn’t want to stop. As I kept climbing and climbing, the rain slowly changed into hail and even into snow. I arrived at the top of the mountain when I was soaking wet and ice cold. Even when I was climbing, I could not generate enough energy to keep myself warm. Descending was even more horrible, since the visibility was really poor, I lost my braking power and I had to dance on my bicycle to avoid getting hypothermia. Pretty tricky circumstances, but I managed to safely make it to the next village. This village had an hotel with hot water, so I immediately took a hot shower to warm up again. A couple of hours later, the clouds disappeared and it looked like any other sunny day in Peru’s winter.
The last part of it I mean
The last two days, I cycled from the city of Abancay to Cusco. I will upload some pictures to show the beauty of this section. I had to climb over a small hill to reach the city center of Cusco, which gave me a beautiful view over the entire city before descending into it.
I'm having some flat tire difficulties again
I stayed a week in Cusco. It is indeed a very touristic city, which is quite comfortable for a short period of time. The historic center is well maintained, the ambiance is really good and there are many good restaurants and hipster coffee places. Precisely what you would expect from a big city, actually. I met several travelers during my stay in Cusco, like Thomas and James (both from New-York) and and English girl who’s name is too difficult for me to remember.
I celebrated my 23rd birthday in this city as well in a fancy restaurant where I ate Alpaca. I have to say that it tasted pretty good! And the night didn’t end with just the dinner, I have actually experienced night life several times in Cusco and I must say that I liked it pretty much. I guess you just need that sometimes.
I also experienced night lift the night before I left Cusco again, which was not the smartest thing to do. That reminded me of the Mexican city of Guadalajara that I visited over a year ago. I stayed there for three weeks, but still managed to leave the city more exhausted than when I entered. Turns out I have not become any wiser with the year, but it was fun for sure!
Welcome to Cusco!
Het heart of Cusco's historical center
I decided to skip Machu Picchu, since they are exploiting the historical site completely. Not for me. Instead of Machu Picchu, I decided to cycle through the Sacred Valley and to visit several Inka ruins in that area. All these villages had equally weird names: Chinchero, Moray, Urubamba, Ollantaytambo and Pisac.
Picay was the last village that I visited and I apparently saved the best for last, because the ruins were spectacular. I met up with James, the guy from New-York that I met earlier in Cusco. He is about to fly to Mexico to buy an old Volkswagen van, refurbish it, and drive to California with it. Sounds like an amazing journey! We hiked the ruins together and were both amazed by the size of it. James did go to Machu Picchu and actually told me that he liked this place better than Machu Picchu.
Moncay, hundreds of Peruvians were replaying a traditional Inca ceremony
The Sacred Valley
After a week of relaxing in Cusco and visiting inka ruins in the Sacred Valley, it was time for some serious miles again. Let’s go towards Bolivia! When I left Pisac, I realized that I had exactly three months left before my parents will arrive in Santiago. This should be enough time, but I can’t stop at every city forever.
In four days, I cycled from Pisac to Juliaca, about 200 kilometers from the Bolivian border. I had high expectation of this city, but it turns out to be a dirty city without any ambiance. The road towards Juliaca was amazing, though. I slept at a location with hot springs at an altitude of 4 km, so I could avoid the cold at night by taking a delicious hot bath.
Eindelijk weer eens gekampeerd
From Juliaca, I will probably continue straight towards Bolivia, but I might take a small detour to another city that will celebrate it’s anniversary soon. To be continued!