This past week of cycling has been awful. We have been riding along the nicely paved, often shoulder-less highway which is a far cry from the quiet rough country roads we are use to. Nevertheless, from within a kilometer of crossing the border into Peru, we noticed how much more outgoing and smiley the people here are, something we have really enjoyed. We had plenty of children and adults alike waving to us, or asking us where we were going, and whenever we asked a local for water or directions, they gave it to us with a huge grin and a wish of good luck.
We stumbled upon this little festival going on in one of the small towns we ate lunch in, and we quite enjoyed watching these cute children dance all afternoon! It also gave me an excuse to take pictures without making anyone feel uncomfortable.
This altiplano was much more fertile than the one we rode across in Bolivia, meaning that we saw all kinds of animals – sheep, cows, donkeys, horses and llamas – as well as agriculture. Interestingly enough we saw bags of potatoes in every (dirty!) water source we passed, as well as thousands of potatoes drying on tarps in every unused space. This area was also extremely populated with people, houses, and fields, which was very different than the much more rural and sparsely uninhabited areas we have been through in most of South America.
We saw a bunch of locals making cord one day as well.
Along this route I also hit 20,000km, right in time for my two year anniversary on the road!!
A few more fun cultural photos, from walking bags of hay, to laundry day.
This nicely paved highway brought us to Cusco, the most touristic town in Peru because of its proximity to Machu Picchu. On my last trip, I did visit the famous site simply because I felt pressured by all of the other tourists who were doing it too, and though it is a neat set of ruins with a fascinating history, it was far from the highlight of my trip. In fact, it didn’t even make it onto the top ten things I saw or experienced – and that was during my boring trip without the bike – and still to this day I find it prettier in pictures than in real life. In reality, there are thousands of other people all around you making noise and taking pictures, and in my opinion, turning it into a sort of adult-amusement-park money making tourist attraction.
So this time around, Kevin and I decided to skip the hassle of getting there and instead spent a few days in Cusco preparing for Peru by sleeping, eating, and sorting our stuff since we won’t be able to take it all with us when we begin the Peruvian Great Divide (more about that in the next post). We stayed at a hostel known by us cyclists as the place to go in Cusco, so we spent the week with other two-wheelers – many of whom also skipped the main attraction – talking, cooking, and swapping stories which made for a very enjoyable break. And though some of you may be disappointed that we missed this “National Geographic” type of monument, don’t worry as we will be passing through other similar ruins which aren’t at all touristic throughout the next sections of our route; ruins which we will be happy to examine at our own pace, without another soul in sight.