Cusco to Juliaca- 6/15-6/18

Cusco- Juliaca = 4 days, 350km, +2413m

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So—heading out from Cusco was a little hard. We celebrated (a little too hard) the night before we left at La Bodega 138 with a wee bit too much wine. I somehow forgot that we haven’t been on the bicycles for 2.5 weeks and need all my wits and strengths about me, especially when heading out of Cusco on a crowded Monday morning.

It’s approximately 12km from our Hostel to the proper outside of Cusco. We left pretty early- 730AM, but not early enough to avoid the traffic drama. It was so dusty! One very negative thing about the road is that it’s not bike friendly at all! There were LOTS of grates with support running parallel to the street along the whole entire width of the street. Some of the supports were 1.5” apart, so any bicyclist would have to get off and walk their bikes. I, for one, was semi oblivious, having passed multiple of these grates that were filled with dust and crap all the way flush to the road, so I could pass comfortably. This, was no bueno since I thought that these things could be passed easily. So—there was one grate that was clean (with no accumulated dirt) and I went full on, not really thinking about it, only to have a third of my front wheel sunk into the grates and me falling forward through the handle bar. Brady insisted on writing this portion ~~~>Brady here jumping in on Sylvia’s wonderful and improving blog writing, I must add a few items about the mighty frontend spill. Keep in mind it was Monday rush hour in one of Peru’s busiest City’s where there are little to no cyclist on the streets. Unregulated exhaust fumes, vehicles of all sizes, and hundreds of school children inhabited the streets and then in the middle of the organized chaos Sylvia’s front tire sinks into a drainage grate (any traffic engineer would have spec’ed the grate to be installed the opposite way) with absolutely no chance of recovery, Sylvia’s body was propelled over the handle bars and onto the filthy asphalt, water bottles and unattached items followed behind. Luckily the vehicles were far enough behind that they were able to stop or perhaps they sensed the impending crash……I must say Sylvia handled it like a true cyclist and got up right away and headed for the sidewalk to reflect on the situation. No injuries meant we were back on the road in no time. However, this would not be the last of the day’s mishaps. Skipping ahead 30km and out of the blue Sylvia takes another dinger to the pavement; this time without any excuse – no cars, no grates, no people, except for a newly purchased llama key chain installed on the bike for good luck. Needless to say the llama found a new home in the middle of a cornfield. Thanks for the guest appearance now back to Sylvia.         

So— that happened. Now after two falls in one day, I was disheartened and freaked every time my wheel comes within inches off the side of the road. After 80km of riding, we got a Cusipata, a small town with not much going on. Wild camping is not available in this stretch since there are farmers and small town everywhere, and the next town is pretty far out. So we stayed at another mud hut again at Cusipata with only one restaurant open for dinner. The place we stayed at had a variety of animals, from this amazing cat, to lots of Cuys residing inside huts called the “Obama” hut. Dinner was a mere 5 soles ($1.70) per person.

thumb_IMG_4599_1024Guys inside a hut, with “Obama painted right outside”

thumb_IMG_4595_1024Beautiful cat at Cusipata mud hut hostel

thumb_DSC04949_1024This is the only stretch with signs of bicycles!

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I started to feel a little sick (sore throat, achy body—maybe from whiplash?) so we started late the next day, heading to the next big city, Sicuani.

thumb_IMG_4592_1024Typical riding these past four days- Altiplano (flatish riding at high elevation), with mountain views, along the Peru Rail track and sometimes along the river.

thumb_IMG_4618_1024Our very typical breakfast- Pan con huevos (or palta= avocado) with a glass of warm sweet quinoa drink.

thumb_IMG_4619_1024Where are they taking the llamas?

We passed through friendly towns of San Pedro and San Pablo where the school kids were really friendly and curious, waving and yelling at us. Lunch was a 4 soles ($1.30) affair.

Sicuani is a busy town, with lots of people hanging out on the streets. We could not figure out why, but the people are the friendliest lots we have encountered. They were not shy to gawk at Brady’s height. Brady is officialy the #grandegiant in instagram. I will strive to continue to document the #grandegiant adventures in South America where everything is just too small for Brady.

thumb_IMG_4638_1024This lady was very excited to meet Brady- she is literally half of Brady’s height.

thumb_IMG_4642_1024We even met Peruvian bulldog who resembled Arthur.

thumb_IMG_4634_1024Sicuani– a good sized town with a lot of Pasteleria = cake shop = our favorite.

thumb_IMG_4631_1024So many choices of rotisserie chicken places- how to choose?

thumb_IMG_4636_1024Maybe the people here are friendliest because of these? Sicuani has the most of rubbing alcohol in drums being sold that we’ve seen in Peru.

We had a long day from Sicuani to Ayaviri (114km) and Ayaviri to Juliaca (100km), both days were pretty flat, but with a little bit of wind. We were expecting mostly tailwind, but only had it for an hour or so.

thumb_IMG_4646_1024Cute (and sad) cuy statue at the town of Marangani

thumb_IMG_4647_1024It is wheat harvest season right now, so there were lots of activities going on including these boys trying to keep their horses walking in circle on the wheat to probably separate the seeds from the stalk?

thumb_DSC04962_1024At the pass- Abra La Raya- probably our last pass in a while.

thumb_IMG_4654_1024The top of the pass also serve as a Mirador = viewpoint where there were lots of people selling souvenirs and tour busses spilling tourists to take pictures and use the restroom for 1sol.

thumb_IMG_2588_1024Me, waving to somebody on the train (she waved back!)

thumb_IMG_2574_1024Typical early morning breakfast. Quinoa and pan con huevos- again. Its fast and easy ($1.40 for the both of us)

thumb_IMG_2605_1024Brady, taking stealthy selfie as we entered Juliaca.

thumb_IMG_2607_1024Not happy with the road as we entered Juliaca. As of now, the shittiest road that we have encountered. And the road is also littered with tricycle (like the person behind me)– I guess I have nothing to complain about.

So– we are 100km away from Bolivia border. I applied for my visa 10 weeks ago, but have not received any response. At this point, we are not sure whether or not we can enter Bolivia. Brady is obsessed about biking the salars (salt flats) of Bolivia. So– cross your fingers for my visa to magically be approved in the next day or few days

 

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