Monday, July 8, 2013
Final two days into Cusco
We have been in Cuzco now for over 24 hours and we are enjoying having all the facilities, warmer weather and the company of our friend Jon Kiser. After Ayaviri we had a great long day of riding to Sicuani going over Abra La Raya at 4300 mts (14,300 ft). The night in Ayaviri was very unusual. We walked around the market and found several items for breakfast and most importantly I found a half a liter thermos to hold hot water to drink mate in the morning (since the water heater broke). The city was kind of noisy when we went to bed early because it was so cold the only warm place was in bed under three wool blankets and a comforter. The taxis and micros were honking while we fell asleep but a little later in the night the music and singing woke us up. There were large groups of musicians and dancers going around the plaza in a choreographed dance until midnight. We watched a little from our room window but were too cold to go outside. We left after having breakfast in the room in what was a steady and low grade slope. We stopped in a town named Pucara for a nice lunch for 12 Soles (4.5 dollars) and kept riding to the top of the hill to the border between the Puno and the Cuzco region: Abra la Raya. Most buses stop there for tourists to take pictures and buy arts and crafts. We had several people come to us in awe that we rode up the hill. A couple of Germans were taking pictures of our tires: Schwalbe Marathon which are being distributed in their town in Germany. The Cuzco area roads were not as smooth as the ones in Puno, but we had a nice downhill. The head winds also started shortly after we started the descent and kept blowing until we arrived in Sicuani. We saw a Brazilian touring from Mexico to Chile, and a nice valley following the Rio Verde. Sicuani was a big town, like Ilave a few days back. We found a nice clean room after searching the town and went off to explore the area. We reflected on how many similar towns we had walked where we are the only tourists in town. Had a nice dinner at a restaurant with wifi and went to the warmest place we could find, our bed under three blankets. Yesterday was the last day of riding and we knew we would have use a different kind of transportation part of the route because there were 140 KM till Cuzco. Our day started well, no breakfast because it was Sunday and the possible restaurants were closed. We continued to follow the valley of Rio Verde, with many small towns along the way, some of them processing the wheat that was harvested, drying potatoes or having “criadero de cuyes” (guinea pigs for consumption in restaurants). It was up and down in the valley and we were doing fine until the switch of the wind was turned on, and we had to pedal hard to go downhill. A little bit before four hours of riding we came to a town Cusipata which was the last town we rode into this trip. We waited with 50 locals for a bus or a microbus to take us towards Cuzco but we were unsuccessful, no one will take us with the bus in the supercrowded buses. So I asked a taxi to take us to the next town, and there another taxi was going to take us to the following town but he offered to bring us all the way to Cuzco. We arrived at the Plaza de Armas in the early afternoon and made it (barely) up a steep hill to our Hospedaje WalkOn Inn. It was the second time I have been in Cuzco (was here 9 years ago with my children) but the first for Steve. We are enjoying our time until we start hiking the Inca Trail on July 10th till July 13th. We will probably update the blog with our best pics of Machu Picchu then.