En bicicleta, y otros

July 7, 2011

By bike, and other means…

After being ill and recovering in Ayacucho, it was time to get back on the bike for the next leg of the journey, to Cusco! It was a bit of a maze getting out of Ayacucho, bearing in mind by this point, the map was long gone, but after a detour up a rather steep hill, we were on the right road. Yet again, the road just continued to climb, almost endlessly. However we were glad for the nice road we had, if only this was to last…

Clearly the road we were on was brand new, very shiny and as smooth as a baby’s bum. But this new road was still a work in progres as we passed numerous roadworks with the road in different stages. The road works seemed to go on forever and on the first day we camped hidden just off the side of the road after climbing for 43km. The next day the roadworks just continued on and on mixing brand new road with loose rock before they eventually died out and we were left  on a rocky road seemingly in the middle of nowhere.

Just as Lisa was begging me to get a lift the rolling up-hills came to an abrupt end as the scenery got more like what I expected in Peru. However between us and the town must have been a 1000m drop which could only we passed by the windiest road imaginagable. As the day got later and later it was clear that we weren’t getting to the bottom and as the rain started and turned the road even more trecherous, it became clear we weren´t getting to the bottom. We decided to hitch a lift to the next town and luckily a lorry driver passed soon after who helped us on our way.

The change in scenery

After a night relieved to be somewhere warm, we set off again on the bumpy road. The morning was downhill and then road went along the river for a while before climbing yet again. At least at the end of this climb there was a town where we could stay, even a 3 star hotel. We were awoken the next morning by more rain which persisted all day, this made the 20km climb a muddy mess and a huge effort. When we finally reached the top it was clear going down the other side would be no better and we soon realised that the road was impassable. Accepting defeat again we got in the back of another lorry which kindly took us to the next town where they dropped us of at a bakery and told us to eat cakes and drink coffee. We decided that night that this was getting crazy and that the road was unlikely to get any better any time soon.

The view along the river

In the back of the lorry

The next day we decicded to get a lift to Andahuaylas which was a two hour taxi away. Very soon into the journey we realised that this was a good call as the rain had completely destroyed the roads. The taxi was sliding all over the place and lorries were stuck in the mud along the way. When we finally reached Andahuaylas, everything was covered in mud and it was still raining. We took a big decision to get a bus to Cusco as we couldn´t waste any more time on these roads as we were getting nowhere.

The next morning we wook up early to get the 0630 bus which was just managed to squeeze our bikes on. Yet again it was became clear very early on into the journey that this was the right decision to make. The roads here were as bad as earlier and at one point it took us an hour to get around one corner where lots of lorries had got stuck. When we finally reached Abancay (half way) 6 hours later (by the way the bus had no toilet) the roads finally got better. As the miles counted down to Cusco the night set in and we were getting on for 12 hours since we set off. With about 50km to go the bus all of a sudden went bang as a tire blew out and that was the end of our journey. No one seemed to have any idea about what was going to happen, but it became clear that the bus wasn´t moving anywhere until the morning. In the end we had to tie the bikes onto the roof of a taxi to the next town where we stayed the night before cycling to Cusco the next day.

A short morning cycle saw us arive in Cusco around lunchtime which was perfect to find somewhere to stay, go shopping and sort out a trip to Machu Picchu the following day. Cusco is much nicer than Lima butn expensive place to spend any amount of time. It turns out that thursday is the 100th anniversary of the discovery of Machu Picchu so if we were a day later it would have been impssible to get there.

Early the next morning we got our bus to Ollantambo train station where we got the train to Machu Picchu. Although a very expensive day,  spending god knows how many Soles and Dollars, it was well worth it. Machu Picchu was amazing and we spent the whole day wondering around taking pictures, before getting the train back in the evening. As for now it´s off to Puno on hopefully some good roads…

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

A long way down...

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One Response to “En bicicleta, y otros”

  1. Lisa said

    There was no begging!

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