I met up with Martin, my good friend and cycling partner, in Cusco. We started our journey together with going to some of the many Inca ruins situated in the vicinity of Cusco. It would take too long time to cycle the ruin round-trip, so we got around by “collectivo”, i.e. mini-buses. It was with mixed feelings we returned to Cusco after 3 days of sightseeing. The ruins are spectacular, especially “Moray”, “Pisac” and “Machu Picchu”, which are very well preserved and has withstand centuries of earthquakes.
What for me destroys the whole experience though, is the bad things that come with mass tourism. Machu Picchu is after all one of the world’s most visited tourist sight, and it’s crawling with people everywhere. This doesn’t bother me that much, it’s mainly the way the locals behave and act towards us as tourists that makes me very uncomfortable; The prices are four times higher than usual, everyone is trying to scam you and you have to haggle for everything, and nothing is genuine (a.k.a. tourist-friendly). Besides, by now I’m so used to the freedom of the bicycle, and having to rely on buses and sneaky drivers was a difficult change. If you have the time and want to go to these ruins, I highly recommend going by bicycle, I regret not doing so myself.
After our trip to the Sacred Valley, we returned to our hostel and started organizing for cycling down towards the coast of Peru. I was very excited after a long break to start cycling again, but we both knew it was going to be hard cycling. There were two passes at altitudes of 4300 m to cross, and several other long hills to climb.
When leaving Cusco we encountered several road blocks on our way, and this was due to a transport strike. This was a superb day of cycling, with no traffic and people who seemed so happy not having to work (and relieved of not having the intense traffic to worry about).
Before I came to Peru, I was warned by other cyclists about the crazy dogs of Peru. I have met many dogs on my trip that have been aggressive, running after me and barking intensely at my moving legs and wheels. In Peru there are just more dogs, sometimes a whole pack that comes raging behind you. I’ve learnt that the best thing is to stop cycling and pick up some stones from the ground, most of the time that’s enough to scare them away. When that’s not helping you’ll have to throw some stones to make them understand. I have nothing against dogs, quite the contrary, but when they try to bite my legs and my bags and run in front of my bike when cycling, I just have to intervene. To show my love to dogs, I have picked some nice pictures of nice dogs! 🙂
When climbing one of the passes on the road to Nasca, we suddenly found ourselves in a thunder/hail/snow-storm. The storm was so close that we could feel the electricity in the air around us. We had to go back to the nearest village and wait it out. When arriving on the top of the pass it started to snow again, and the temperature was around 0 degrees centigrade. That night we stopped in a small village and got to sleep in a small shed that barely fitted the both of us and our bikes.
After the last pass there were a more than 70 km pure downhill road leading to Nasca. We were descending from an altitude of ca 4300 m above sea level down to ca 500 m! When going down this great road, I thought about how I, with only the force of my legs, had created this potential energy that I now got back in form of high velocity and a lot of fun!
Another fascinating fact was that after crossing the ridge of the last pass, we were greeted by a much drier climate and landscape than before; it was such a sudden change from the green surroundings we were used to. Also the temperature changed drastically; when arriving to Nasca it was shy over 30 degrees, a nice change from snowstorms and such!
We met a cyclist who had found an a abandoned dog (they are many here), and decided he couldn’t leave it, so he brought it with him!
Between Nasca and Ica we ended up in a small village with about 20 houses, and the men where on the plaza, drinking Pisco and conversing when we arrived. They said that we didn’t need to worry about where to sleep; they arranged for us to sleep in the municipality, and even offered us food!
Right now we’re taking some days off in Huacachina, an oasis just outside of Ica. Tomorrow we’ll continue on the Pan American towards Lima, and after that we’ll probably head up to the mountains once again for a quick stop in Huaraz and the famous “Cordillera Blanca”. I’m excited!! 🙂
Thank you all for the lovely comments, it’s so nice to see that you like my stories! It means a lot! 🙂