DAY 687 AYACUCHO- MOUNTIAN TOP
START 9:00 FINISH 17:00 (19/01/17)
DISTANCE 55KM RIDE TIME 6H49
The next leg to Cusco is going to be tough. Just under 600km with mountain after mountain. Today it was straight into it. Starting at 2788 meters, I spent all of the day slowly climbing and climbing. At 3300 meters I started to feel the altitude. After 40km I had risen 1500 meters and found myself freezing at 4242 meters. Ideally it would have been better if I could have gotten over the pass and dropped down.
It was late in the day. Things were bleak. The cloud and mist was rolling in. There was no trees to be seen. Just rugged tusic grass with a scattering of alpine lakes. It was very exposed. With the prospect of impending rain and night fall. I very quickly found a place to camp.
Finding a flat spot was near impossible. I got my tent up on a bit of a slope. At least it was nice and grassy. From the safety of my tent I could see masses of lighting flashing through the sky. It looked as though the storm was going to pass me. It wasn’t long before I was a woken by a huge down pour of rain. It rained all night. The slope was a bit much for me and I kept sliding down. Couldn’t manage to keep my feet from touching the tent. So in the morning my sleeping bag was a bit wet.
DAY 688 MOUNTIAN TOP – CHINCHEROS
START 7:45 FINISH 17:00 (20/01/17)
DISTANCE 103KM RIDE TIME 6H39
This morning Awoke up in cloud and mist. I waited for the rain to stop before I started to pack up my tent. It was so cold my fingers were frozen. I couldn’t open the buckles on my panniers. It was like they were frozen together. Once I got going I was stuck on the top for a few good km.
This is Lama country and I passed hundreds roaming freely. Once I started to descend, things soon changed, the landscape became more farming friendly. I passed through the cloud and it was suddenly a lot warmer. Ocros was the next town I reached.
It had muddy dirt roads leading into the centre. The only road paved was the road around plaza de armos.
I stopped here for a second breakfast. Really enjoyed the Big decent down to the river. Very scenic. After reaching the river, I was disappointed to see I was going to be following it up stream.
It was actually very gradual and a bit of a leasuire ride. Many towns only 4 -5 km apart. All good things come to a end. I left the river and started folowing a new valley. It was a steep slow climb. It was a loverly sunny afternoon, so I cashed in cycling as long as could. Was pleased when I got to chincccheros I had clocked 100km, which has been a rareity of late. I first tried the casa de padre………..unfortunetly the Pardre wasn’t home.
While I waited I put tent up in plaza de Armas to dry out as it was soaking wet from last nights rain. Even a hour wasn’t longer enough for the Padre to turn up. So I ended up heading to a hotel
DAY 689 CHINCHEROS – ANDAHUYLAS
START 8:00 FINISH 17:00 ((21/01/17)
DISTANCE 84KM RIDE TIME 6H38
Todays target is again 4200 meters before I can start descending again. Little steps is the way to go. I cycled about 10km to Upia the next town and called in for a coffee. A guy I meet yesterday in the plaza’s family owned the café. He kindly gave me the coffee for free. When I was leaving he brought me out a brand new t shirt. Still had the tags. He said it was to big for him. I continued heading for the cloud. Always a bit worrying because you don’t know if it will turn to rain. Mid morning I rested again. I was just about to cycle off again when a truck came slowly up the mountain. Behind him was a cycle tourist hanging on the back for a free wide. I waited for him and Patrick from Germany dropped off the back. Patrick is 19, fresh out of school and cycling from Mexico to Basil. We chatted for a while before cycling on together.
We got over the pass early afternoon and just as well………..we were both freezing cold. It was colder then expected , even with the all gloves hats and jackets. We had to drop a fair bit before we found a town for lunch. The day was disappearing quick. It was already
DAY 690 ANDAHUYLAS – HUANCARAMA
START 7:30 FINISH 16:20 (22/01/17)
DISTANCE 82KM RIDE TIME 6H36
Nothing was new today Patrick and I just climbed back into the cloud for the whole morning. Got back over 4000 meters. It’s as though we are living up here seam to spend so much time above 4ooo meters. Though we did drop 1000 meters by days end. We ended up camping above Huancarama next to the big Jesus statue. Great view of the surrounding mountains…………some with snow on the top.
3pm when we left. The next 25km flew by as we had a rapid decent into andahuylas. What a shit hole………..real disappointment. Had planed to stay two nights………..that soon changed. It was just a dirty concrete jungle. A city with no sole or car actor. We got a very basic hostel for $5
DAY 690 ANDAHUYLAS – HUANCARAMA
START 7:30 FINISH 16:20 (22/01/17)
DISTANCE 82KM RIDE TIME 6H36
Nothing was new today Patrick and I just climbed back into the cloud for the whole morning. Got back over 4000 meters. It;s as tho we ae living up here seam to spend so much time above 4ooo meters. Tho we did drop 1000 meters by days end.
We ended up camping above Huancarama next to the big Jeaus statue. Great view of the surounding mountians…………some with snow on the top.
DAY 691 HUANCARAMA – ABANCAY
START 6:30 FINISH 14:00 (23/01/17)
DISTANCE 65KM RIDE TIME 5H19
It rained again in the night, at times quite heavyly. We have been really luck durion the day managing to stay dry. First thing this morning Patarick and I cycled into the town for breakfest. My cycling shorts which have now seen two years of service are now pretty much ripped to shreads. They seam to atrack coments daily………….I am now finding it hard to get rid of them. People asked why are they so ripped and I tell them it was a dog and the expresion on there face is priceless. I then tell them I was joking and we have a lough.
Today was a tough cycling day……..we were all over the place. From 3200 meters we climbed up to over 4000 meters again and then dropped down to below 1800 meters. The lowest I have been for a while. The last part of the day was a tough 14km climb back up to 2400 meters.
Abancay is provincial capital with a population of 130 000 and in the guide book it describes it as a nice mountain town. I describe it as a complete disappointment with nothing to offer. Not even a nice church which is normal a given.
Had more problems with hotels. It was 40 sols per person for a single room or 50 sols for two people in a double room. So we took the double room. Checked in, had showers, came down to go out for lunch and was told we had been given the wrong room. the room we were in was now 60 sols. We said we weren’t paying. We were then told we could have another room down stairs for 50 sols………..but it only had a double bed. That wasn’t a option. So we left. Went a 100 meters to a hostel for 25 sols . Single room , bathroom hot water tv and wifi and free coffee and tea. Much better option. Always works itself out.
DAY 692 ABANCAY REST DAY
DAY 693 ABANCAY – SAYWITE
START 9:00 FINISH 15:00 (25/01/17)
DISTANCE 41KM RIDE TIME 5H27
I didn’t go to far today. This was partly due to the fact I started quite late (9am) and 2ndly for the fact I was climbing all day. Usually story winding myself up into the cloud. I jumped 1600 meters. By the time I started my decent. It was starting to look bit dodge. Playing it safe at 3pm I spotted what I thought would be a good camping spot. Just off the road in a nice grasses area amongst some very young pine trees.
Had all my camping gear out when first a guy with two horses and his wife came past. They had finished after a day in the fields. Less then 30 mins later 4 more guys came past with there hoes and other equipment. They seamed friendly enough. I’m never that happy if too many people know where I am camping in case one of them gets the idea to come back and rob me in the night.
DAY 694 SAYWITE – CCONOC
START 06:20 FINISH 09:20 (26/01/17)
DISTANCE 46KM RIDE TIME 2H04
It did rain a fair bit in the night. Once the rain stopped and the cloud cleared. I could see mountains with snow on them. There was still lots of cloud around. It was below me. I rugged up warm and continued my decent. What I did yesterday km wise I had done in less then two hours. I could see it been a good day km wise. When a sign for Thermalies caught my eye.
I couldn’t resist cycling the 3km down to the. river to check them out. 20 past 9 in the morning they were already busy. 5 sols ($1.60) to get in and that included camping. Soon after I arrived a family had brought me over a cup of coffee and bread. The only bad thing about dropping down to 1800 meters was that within minutes of arriving I had been severely eaten alive by sand fly’s.
Shame I had sent my bug spray to Cusco………….I had no defenced. There were about 7 different pools. The water wasn’t overly hot. It was nice. I spent all day relaxing in the pools………….it was a safe haven from the sand fly’s. Except for the two times I got out for something to eat.
I got a good camping spot and started a camp fire. Just as well because in the evening the place filled up with tents.
DAY 695 CCONOC REST DAY
I was awoken up at 4:30am this morning. I got soon after and found everyone was in the hot pool. I soon joined in. They were lovely and warm . I soon discovered I couldn’t get out because every time I left the water it was so cold.
By the time I did the sun was well up. I cooked some breakfast on the camp fire. A local family came over and asked if they could also cook on my fire as well. Afterwards they brought me over a orange. Then a group I had been talking too in one of the hot pools invited me over for breakfast.
DAY 696 CCONOC – ANTA
START 6:45 FINISH 17:00 (28/01/17)
DISTANCE 86KM RIDE TIME 8H47
When I went to bed. Mine was the only tent. By midnight. There were tents every where. People were then running around all night.In and out of the hot pools. When I got up. I just packed up and left. It took me a hour to get back up to the main road.
Mid morning I had a unpleasent experience. 3 dogs came out from a house and chased me. I spun around and stopped. The dogs became the less of my problem when I was attacked by a swam of bees. As I tried to get away swatting vigariously the bees from my head. I was still stung a number of times on my elbow, my throat, on my cheak above my eye and at least 7 times on my head. It seamed like an aturnety before I was able to get away. 10 minutes later I was still pulling dead bees out of my hair. I am thank ful I am not alergic to bee stings. I had some discomfort with my elbow , cheek swelling up. The swelling lasted a day. The pain a lot shorter. At the time I thought of getting a lift to Cusco and to the hospital. Instead I cycled on.
Having reached the top of the pass. It was a pleasant surprise to have a small decent in to a wide open valley and a fairly flattish ride towards Cusco. I was able to get to within 30 km of Cusco…………looked for a camping spot. But was a bit build up. So I ended up getting a basic hostel . While I was out on the street cooking my dinner. Two cyclists from Canada Lillie and Vincent turned up. They cheeked in as well and we all ended up cooking on the side walk while watching the farmers come past with their cows and sheep after a day in the fields.
DAY 697 ANTA-CUSCO
START 7:30 FINISH 11:00 (29/01/177)
DISTANCE 31KM RIDE TIME 3H25
It was a wonderful sunny morning.Had a clear view of some of the surounding mountians with snow on them. I had a light breakfest and cycled on for a hour before finding a nice resturant for a secound breakfest and multipul cups of tea. I met the Canadians just at the top of the hills before you enter Cusco.
They had passed me while I had an extended breakfast. Cusco looked large. Population 350 000. we cycled together down into the city,
Straight away there was an abundance of tourists. Once we got into the centro historical part of the city in was a lot cleaner. We were able to find the hostel Estrellita fairly easy. Just a few blocks from the Plaza De Armous. I was relived to discover they had safely received my box, I hads posted to them 6 weeks ago. Not looking forward to having to load the extra 10 km back on to the bike.
DAY 698-703 CUSCO REST DAYS
I had 6 pretty lazzy days in Cusco.Doing a mixture of things. From walking the cobble stone streets through the nice colenial centro historical
to walking up to see the Jesus statue overlooking the city.
With the time I also overhauled and cleaned a lot of my equipment as well. I found time for another trip to the Barbers for a 10 sols haircut and shave.
DAY 703 CUSCO – CHECACUPE
START 8:30 FINISH 16:00 (04/02/17)
DISTANCE 101KM RIDE TIME 6H26
Got a bit of a gift this morning after not turning the legs for nearly a week. Little bit of traffic leaving Cusco. The first 30km was all down hill. After that it was just a bit up and down for the rest of the day. I was passing small towns at regular intervals. I stopped in Huaro for a early lunch. It was a warm day and I found a spot under a tree in the main plaza. Which was very deserted. Off the square was a little church. I went to have a look. You had to pay. So that wasn’t a option. What I saw was that the inside was covered in beautifully painted murals.
Seams to be a lot of Inca ruins along the highway. Passed some more today. No need to pay as I could see enough from the road. At 2pm the rain came. I dodged a bullet. I was just cycling into Cusipata at the time and was able to dive into the Mercado and sit out the torrential down pour before continuing. When I cycled into Checacupe I got a nice surprise.
Firstly I cycled over the 1900 Iron bridge, which is one of the three bridges. The other two were the 15th century stone bridge build by the Spanish and they then charged a tax to cross and the other 14th century reconstructed Inca rope bridge.
The main square was tidy and next to it was a church. I went in and it was just beautifully. Similar to what I had glimpsed earlier in the day. It was complete painted with murals and it had the most grand gold plated alter.
I arranged for a warm showers host. Instructions were to call when I arrived in the square. On doing so Jaime said he was in Cusco and would be two hours. No worries I went off and had something to eat and came back and waited. 3 hours after my arrival no sign, so another call. Sorry ………….but would be another hour. By this time it was getting cold sitting in the Plaza…………at 9pm the plaza security kindly brought me a hot drink and offered that I could sleep in a room off the plaza. I declined. 30Mins earlier a friend of Jaimes had come to check on me and said he wouldn’t be to long. Jaime turned up at 9:30pm and was very apologetic. He had had some kind of emergency in Cusco.
He took me to a banded house just 1 min from the square and I was able to sleep in comfort for the night, Soon after going to bed. There was a stone at the window. Jaime had returned with a hot dinner for me. It’s very good that he is trying to help the tourists.
DAY 704 CHECACUPE – AUGAS CALIENTES
START 7:30 FINISH 15:00 (05/02/17)
DISTANCE 77KM RIDE TIME 6H03
What a gouges sunny morning. Making for a perfect cycling day. It was a Sunday and the roads were quite busy early on with lots of people taking their animals to market.
The first 40 odd km were nice and flat and I was able to scoot along. I came across some more ruins. I stopped to have a look. 20 sols to get in………..so I just had a look from over the wall.
The flat ran out when I got to Sicuani. After a cheep lunch.(4 ½ sols) I started the climb up to the Augas Calientes. I thought The hot pools were 15km past Sillini. With no sign I asked and was told by the police chief 8km. After 8km asked again and was told 5km away. The next time I stopped and asked was told 2km away. After 2km I came across a sign for 7km. So my afternoon cycling was a bit longer then I hoped.
When I arrived at the Augas Calienties. I was greeted with a bit of snow on the mountains. Which made the hot pools very inviting because at 4000 meters it was quite cold. Been a Sunday the hot pools were proving popular. There was about 200 cars and 500 people. This place is a real gem for cyclists. Only 2 sols to get in and you can camp for free. One of the golden rules of when you finnish cycling for the day is to put your te6nt up. It proved valuable as a furious storm rolled in. I sat in my tent as it was pelted by hail and rain and I watched striking the mountains close by. The storm was a bit of a blessing as it cleared everyone out and once the storm had cleared I was able to get in and enjoy the hot pools. They were nice and hot and relaxing.
It proved valuable as a furious storm rolled in. I sat in my tent as it was pelted by hail and rain and I watched striking the mountains close by. The storm was a bit of a blessing as it cleared everyone out and once the storm had cleared I was able to get in and enjoy the hot pools. They were nice and hot and relaxing.
DAY 705 AUGAS CALIENTES REST DAY
DAY 705 AUGAS CALIENTES REST DAY
DAY 706 AUGAS CALIENTES – AYAVIRA
START 6:30 FINISH 11:30 (07/02/17)
DISTANCE 82KM RIDE TIME 4H11
This morning I went for a early start. It was cold and got colder as I had a 11km climb to the 4338 meter Abra La Raya pass. At the summit locals were selling local crafts. Mostly warm clothing. There was snow on all the mountains. Below the road was the train line with a few old buildings and a old church. Height gained was soon lost with a enjoyable short decent. I was now on the Alta Plano. Wide open fertile flat valley. Full of nice old small towns with crumbling buildings. Every town had a cemetery. It was great been on the flat for a change. Even at 3900 meters I had the lungs pumping as I speed along at 20km an hour. After 4 hours I had knocked out 80km. It was a great work out and I felt so good for it. I called it a day. Didn’t want to push myself to hard…….or I might be too knacker to cycle tomorrow. Ayavira was a nice town to look around. Defiantly no tourists around.
DAY 707 AYAVIRA – JULIACA
START 9:30 FINISH 15:00 (08/02/17)
DISTANCE 96KM RIDE TIME 4H48
deffintly a later then usually start………….I went out and had breakfast before I left. When I left at 9;30am, I upend the Tempo. Nice and flat again on the alto Plano I was motoring along. After 90 mins I had cycled 32km and was in Perco. Really burning the carbs. I had to stop for another meal. I was staving. Re fuelled, I was on my way again and flying. The kms were just ticking by. 3Pm I got to Julica. What a dirty smelly city.
Piles of rubbish everywhere. 45Km short of Puno. I could have made Puno. After nearly 100km I was a bit tired. I was able to find a nice cheap hotel for the night.
DAY 708 JULIACA – PUNO
START 9:00 FINISH 12:30 (09/02/17)
DISTANCE 45KM RIDE TIME 2H35
Once I got out of town it seamed to be one very long straight road. I battled a little with the wind as it was pretty open. Lot more traffic today. Again was able to motor along and made good time. As I got closer to Puno I had a bit of a hill to get over. It did give me my first look at Lake Titicaca and a nice view over Puno.
The ride down was good. I cycled a little way in towards the centre before grabbing a hostel for 25 sols. They have put me up 4 flights of stairs. At lest I have been able to leave the bike in reception. After settling in, I then went walk about. Came across a couple of parades on my way to the Plaza De Armous.
Afterwards I walked about 1km down to the lakes edge for a look. Was soon inundated with offers for a boat trip to the islands. Passed on all. There were a couple of old boats tired up one a old Steamer and the other a dredge.
You could tell it was off season because there were hundreds of tour boats tired up and laying ideal. Must be pretty hectic when in season
DAY 709 PUNO REST DAY
Pretty much did it all yesterday. Mid morning I went out for a bit of a walk. Ended up back on the lakes edge. Wasn’t as nice to day. With a little wind it was cooler. Asking for a supermarket I got directed to a market. One ile only sold potatoes. They were all madly pealing potatoes, they must then on sell them to the restaurants. As usually the day went so quick with out actually feeling like you have done anything.
DAY 709 PUNO REST DAY
Pretty much did it all yesterday. Mid morning I went out for a bit of a walk. Ended up back on the lakes edge. Wasn’t as nice to day. With a little wind it was cooler. Asking for a supermarket I got directed to a market. One ilea only sold potatoes. They were all madly pealing potatoes, they must then on sell them to the restaurants. As usually the day went so quick with out actually feeling like you have done anything.
DAY 710 PUNO – ACORA
START 14:30 FINISH 17:15 (11/02.17)
DISTANCE 40KM RIDE TIME 2H222
I had a bit of a Puno nightmare last night I was locked out of room. I went for dinner and when I came back I couldn’t get into my room. After getting reception to show me how to open the door. I was told I shouldn’t have locked the room and because I had. It was my fault the lock was broken. We tried for about a hour to open the door. I was then told it was impossible to fix tonight and a guy would come tomorrow at 8:30am to fix the lock. So they gave me the room across corridor. I was a little worried because my passport, money, computer and camera were all in the room. The hotel is falling to pieces. I used bathroom in my room and turned the water tap and it fell off. water pissed out everywhere. I Thought, they are going to be really mad now. I managed to find the tap to turned the water off and I was then able to reattach the tap.
Next morning was told the guy would come at 8:30. It wasn’t till 10:30 with a little toll box did he show up. He shouldn’t have bothered. Tried turning the key, no good. Then went away. came back with a few more tool. After a hour said he couldn’t fix useless guy. He also snapped the key . I then asked reception what the next option was. Talked about breaking a hole in the wall from the room next door or smashing the door in. I would have to pay to have everything fix. No way. I had thought about smashing the door in last night, Had thought better of it.
I went out and brought a 5 sols hacksaw blade and when I got back to the hotel I went up to my room. I pulled the door stopper slightly back from the jamb. Within 30 mins I had cut through both the dead lock and the normal lock. It was great satisfaction and relief when the door popped open. Finally 19 hours latter I was back in my room. I Quickly packed up all my stuff. Went down to reception. Told them the good news and before they had time to run up to the room. I had loaded up my bike and I was gone. I hope they liked the nice surprise I left them. I then Cycled 40km out of town pretty. Was pretty flat around the lake. Stopped at a farm as it was starting to get really dark with threating cloud. I Asked a young girl if I could came in her barn. No problem she said I asked if it would be ok with mum. no problem she said. Mum was not so pleased when she showed up. She soon came round. I guess the fact her Husband was away made her a little un easy. I got to Slept in the barn with a couple of calves for the night there were heavy thunder storm and rain.
DAY 711 ACORA – YUNGUYA
START 7:10 FINISH 15:00 (12/02/17)
DISTANCE 92KM RIDE TIME 5H25
I was keen to cross the border today. I ended up staying a little longer in the tent while I listened to the continuing thunder. While I was packing up the women came and talked to me. She was a lot more friendly this time. Asking where I was from where I was going. All the usual questions. There was a lot of dark cloud. I asked her if it was going to rain today. She said no and she was right. The morning was cold.
Mid morning I left the highway and cycled into Juli.
On the way to the Plaza I stopped and got a shave……….need to spend the last of my Peruvian Sols. It wasn’t as good this time……….I suspect the razor had been used before.
I made my way towards the Plaza and they were having some sort of Parade or March by out side the town hall. I stopped here also for a late breakfast Which included about 4 cups of tea.
After Juli we spent a lot more time cycling close to Lake Titicaca. There were many fish farms and boats on the lake.
There were a few hills. I made good progress. I cycled up into Pomata. In the church grounds a lot of the locals were all dressed in black and sitting having a meeting.
I sat down in the plaza for some street food. It was after 1pm and was looking unlikely that I was going to make the border. I pushed hard and in the end it was only 3pm when I reached the border town of Yunguayo Decided It would be easier to stay and deal with the border crossing in the morning. Found a really cheap basic hostel for only……..10 sols………..they had wifi which was great. It actually worked. I started uploading some photos. Left them to up load and went out and had a look around the town. Came back and noticed as soon as I had left the hostel they had switched the wifi off. Then it came back on and things were good again. I then went back out for some food. When I returned the first thing the guy said was, there was a power cut and the whole town was without electric. Funny I had just been watching tv in the restaurant and the street lights were on . Pretty sure they had bloody switched it off. Said the electric would be back in a hour. It never came back on before I left . Anyway I was tired and asleep just after 7pm
DAY712 YUNGUYA PERU – CUPACABANA BOLIVIA
START 6:00 FINISH 9:25 (13/02/17)
DISTANCE 12KM RIDE TIME 1H07
From the hostel. It was only a 5 min ride to the border. I was there just after 6am. The border was closed and didn’t open till 7:30am. In that time I oiled my chain and pumped up my tires. Once the border it was very quick and easy. I then only had a easy 8km ride into Comacabana. I grabbed a very cheap basic hotel on the outskirts. 30 Bolivianos ($4.20) they had wifi. Crossing the border incurred a time change. We were now a hour ahead. After settling in I walked into town and was hit by a instant wave of tourists that were everywhere. Along with all the touristy bars and restaurants. Cocacabana is probably Bolivia’s most touristy town on the lake.
After some lunch. I walked up/ climbed up to the hill overlooking the town with great views and lots of shrines and monuments.