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Cusco

Posted by on May 1, 2017

Posted from Cusco, Cusco, Peru.


As soon as I left Casa de Ciclistas I felt what I had been missing all this time in La Paz – the freedom of cycling. I remember thinking one month into the trip that cycling was perhaps not my way of travelling. Now, I am afraid, I might have got addicted to it. Even now, while I am sitting in a hostel in Cusco and I am about to leave tomorrow I feel restless. Cycling is a peculiar way of moving around. You are tired and sweaty and dirty and sometimes you cannot wait to finally find a camping spot and cook some food in the evening but the next morning you are happy to get moving again. One person wrote on the wall in the cyclists’ apartment in La Paz: “bicycle chain is the only chain that keeps you free”. It is a very true statement, well… maybe motorbike chain could be added into this sentence too.

I left La Paz quite late into the day and had to climb over 400 vertical metres into El Alto. Then I went the wrong way and cycled 30 kms west instead of north-west. Fortunately, I realised my mistake early on and could still take a small gravel road linking the two main hiways. The road to Titicaca was just great, especially that I could again feel the sense of adventure. First a slow gravel road, than a beautiful paved road to the lake and up the mountains through the ‘twisties’, across the strait on a ferry, then up across the mountains and down to Copacabana. I also happened to have had one of the best camping spots on this trip – up in the mountains overlooking the lake. Observing the sunset was just spectacular and I chose the view and bread and cheese for dinner over warm food in a village down the road.

Cycling around the lake in Peru was a bit monotonous in comparison to the earlier trip along a beautiful curvy road at the Bolivian shores of Titicaca, but the ride was still enjoyable. I was in another country, another culture, and even though the changes in people are very often gradual and not determined by the borders, I enjoyed to have come to another country. Half way into the journey I met a nice Chinese couple Bob and Cinderella. These are their European names, of course. I wish I could write their Chinese names here but I do not know how to use Han Chi :) Having planned to cross the hardest route across the Andes from Abancay to Arequipa and needing to pace myself I tagged along and cycled with them all the way to Cuzco. Their pace was a little slower than mine so I could still make progress but not get too tired. I cannot stop pushing myself hard when I cycle alone. However, most importantly, I really enjoyed the company of Bob and Cinderella. Not only did they cook great noodle soups, they were fun to be around. Bob has cycled more than 40,000 kms already on different trips and has now been cycling from Ushuaia. Cinderella joined him on his trip in Santiago having to learn how to ride a bicycle first. I admire the determination :) Since I joined them she started cycling faster, camping more and I got well fed on noodle soups and got a few tips regarding Chinese camping equipment :)

We got to Cusco a little later than I expected as we made a little detour to climb a touristy mountain called Rainbow Mountain (Spanish: Montana Arcoiris) in a pretty little corner of Peruvian Andes called Cordillera de los colores. The hike was nice but many tourists along the way – some of them pissed off at their guides about the fact that it rained and even snowed at the top and they didn’t have rain coats. Well, when you climb a mountain which is over 5,000 m.a.s.l. you should know to expect any condition, especially the rain. Some of the tourists were going up on horses and even getting down on them. What has happened to humans’ ability to roam? Some theories say that walking was the main factor which influenced our transition into homo sapiens. Where is the humanity heading?! ;)

I have now spent a couple days in Cusco to organise the last and the most difficult leg of my trip, which is crossing the Andes from Abancay to Arequipa over some really small dirt-roads recommended by the website Andes by Bike. I shall be crossing two deepest canyons in the world, 6 mountain passes around 5,000 m.a.s.l. and a few smaller ones, many streams, little villages and a whole lot of desolate terrain. You can take a look at the route descriptions

here: http://andesbybike.com/peru/routes/abancay-to-cotahuasi/

here: http://andesbybike.com/peru/routes/cotahuasi-to-aplao/#tab-3

and here: https://velofreedom.bike/2014/09/02/deep-canyon-capers-cotahuasi-to-the-colca/

Wish me luck and see you on the other side of the Andes (in the lowlands) :)

Morning selfie to see if I can go into the public :)

Morning selfie to see if I can go into the public :)

Fixing my freehub

Fixing my freehub

After a climb to El Alto

After a climb to El Alto

Getting out of La Paz

Getting out of La Paz

First camping after La Paz

First camping after La Paz

Gravel road again

Gravel road again

Getting towards Titicaca

Getting towards Titicaca

View

View

Road

Road

Titicaca

Titicaca

Titicaca

Titicaca

Little mountain pass onto Titicaca

Little mountain pass onto Titicaca

Into the sunset

Into the sunset

Sunset over Titicaca

Sunset over Titicaca

Sunset over Titicaca

Sunset over Titicaca

Fish nets in Titicaca

Fish nets in Titicaca

Snowy peaks over Titicaca

Snowy peaks over Titicaca

One of better camping spots

One of better camping spots

One of better camping spots

One of better camping spots

The sunset was better in real life

The sunset was better in real life

Ferry crossing

Ferry crossing

Ferry crossing from the distance

Ferry crossing from the distance

Beautiful road

Beautiful road

This road reminded me of French cote d'Azul

This road reminded me of French cote d’Azul

Titicaca again

Titicaca again

Titicaca

Titicaca

Titicaca

Titicaca

View onto Copacabana

View onto Copacabana

Fishermen's boats

Fishermen’s boats

Boats over the lake

Boats over the lake

Fishermen's fishnets

Fishermen’s fishnets

Happy birthday Martyna

Happy birthday Martyna

Camping in the field

Camping in the field

Sunset

Sunset

Met the Inca :)

Met the Inca :)

Puno

Puno

Road

Road

Bike selfie

Bike selfie

Fields

Fields

Big cheese

Big cheese

Bob and Cinderella

Bob and Cinderella

My neighbours

My neighbours

Spooky house

Spooky house

Colonial building

Colonial building

Local market square

Local market square

Local women

Local women

Man in colourful clothes

Man in colourful clothes

On Rainbow Mountain

On Rainbow Mountain

Local boys with horses

Local boys with horses

Bob and CInderella cooking lunch

Bob and CInderella cooking lunch

Bob and CInderella

Bob and CInderella

Campsite bath - too cold

Campsite bath – too cold

Camping with my Chinese friends

Camping with my Chinese friends

Campsite grew larger

Campsite grew larger

Cinderella posing

Cinderella posing

Cinderella and Bob cycling

Cinderella and Bob cycling

Pretty road

Pretty road

Mountains

Mountains

View

View

Happy to have found a camping spot

Happy to have found a camping spot

Sunset

Sunset

Bob dancing with a local woman

Bob dancing with a local woman

Incan bridge

Incan bridge

View from the transport truck

View from the transport truck

On the way to the Rainbow Mountain

On the way to the Rainbow Mountain

Local woman

Local woman

Cinderella on the phone

Cinderella on the phone

Road to the Rainbow Mountain

Road to the Rainbow Mountain

Mountain Llamas

Mountain Llamas

Bob and CInderella walking. Fat girl jumping on a horse

Bob and CInderella walking. Fat girl jumping on a horse

Mountains

Mountains

Mountains

Mountains

More Mountains

More Mountains

Montanas de colores

Montanas de colores

Montanas de colores

Montanas de colores

More views

More views

Even more views

Even more views

Last pic, finally :)

Last pic, finally :)

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