Travelreport No. 34 - Peru, 25.8. - 22.9.2009

Lima - Pisco - Ica - Nasca - Abancay - Cusco - Puno

What an extreme difference between the tropical Central America and the first 4.5 cycling days through desert from Lima to Nasca. The plantations with asparagus, cotton and grapes in the desert astonishes us, and the huge uncountable chickenfarms seem to have found an ideal place there. Well, all these chickens that get eaten daily in Peru have to be produced somewhere. How much would a chicken from the farm cost? since a meal with a big soup, a chicken leg, rice, salad and a drink costs about 1.20 dollar. When we eat the menu in a restaurant where the truck drivers stop, you can be sure that attractive girls waitress (this semas to be a worldwide phenomenon).

Before Nazca, we climb on the observation tower to see a small fraction of the famous Nazca lines, these famous glyphs and spectacular geometric designs in the desert. The german scientist Maria Reiche, who studied the lines all her life, claimed that they were an astronomical calender. There are many other theories.

After leaving Nazca, cycling is getting hard for us. 100km, 4000 meter of altitude within 2 days - this, and afterwards in the thin air another 100km through Pampa where an icecold head wind blows strongly against us - bestows me (Margrit) a condition of exhaustion as I never experienced before in my life. On the other hand, we enjoy an unforgettable and colourful sunset on our 38. wedding anniversary, dreamlike views, beautiful valleys with wateralls and grazing Alpacas, Pampa with with uncountable elegant Vicuñas and sparkling blue lakes as well as the snowcapped 6000m high mountains. In the valleys down to 1900m fly flocks of parrots and the descents are breathtaking!

It makes us happy too, to be able to camp along the way without any problem again, even so it gets bitter cold above 3000m and in the morning our water bottles are frozen.

In Cusco we recover for some days and rejoice in amenities of this touristy but exciting and interesting place. Machu Picchu we do not visit, because we do not want to destroy the impression of the Lost City of the Incas from the visit 25 years ago.

After the acclimatisation, cycling in the high altitude of around 3800m is not a problem anymore, which means, it takes only 4 days from Cusco to reach Puno, 390km away. For one night we put up the tent in Agua Calientes, a hot spring, and the bath in the 40 degree warm water is a real treat for cylists calves. Next morning a nice faithful dog accompanies us up to the pass on 4338m, finally when rolling down he cannot follow us anymore and we hope he turns back home.

The barren beauty of the Altiplano with its simple adobe houses and the river where flamingos stalk, are impressive. As well as the Indios who work the fields with oxes and plough.

Along the Lake of Titicaca its great cyling, beautiful landscape and always the high mountains in the view. Afternoons, the clouds build up to drastic thunder towers and show, that the rainy season will not take very long to arrive.

on the road from Pisco to Nasca in Peru

Riding up to the pass on 4300 m


Riding up to the pass on 4300 m


our 38. wedding anniversary

up to Abra Socllaccasa (3900m) in Peru

Impressions from Cusco in Peru

on Abra La Raya pass in Peru