Peru

Day 81/164: Juli to Copacabana* – 63km

Climbing 675 meters, down 674 meters

Another short ride today. We have the border crossing into Bolivia and you can never be confident it will go smoothly. The trucks are not allowed to cross where we do and have to go over 300 kilometres to the border by La Paz. Our daily bags were loaded onto a local truck so we would have our tents etc if the trucks were held up. Turns out it was luckily this plan was put in place, as the trucks were held up till the early hours of the following morning due to protest action in La Paz.

It was very cold getting up and having breakfast. The ride out of town was quite steep and I had to stop at about 3 kilometres to take clothes off as I was already too warm. There were great lake views.

One lady was moving her sheep and I had to laugh as a lamb was not following the plan and got threatened with a long stick. It must have had experience with the stick as it soon got back into line. One of the two sheep dogs ran at me barking, but it was not sure what to do when I said “Good boy” and it sort of made a groaning noise and ran off.

The border crossing went smoothly. The American riders had to pay about $160 USA dollars and provide heaps of documentation. Apparently it is payback for what Bolivian’s experience when they try to enter USA, but for everyone else it was straight forward.

We enter Bolivia (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

We enter Bolivia (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Once we got through the border the first thing I noticed was no tuk tuks. There were a number of Taxi vans and a few taxis. The traffic was quieter but this may change as we get further into Bolivia.

There was only 8 kilometres to Copacabana*, about 6 kilometres was a hill. Given the short riding day and the lack of complications at the border I was in Copacabana* by midday. I had some lunch in the village and then headed to camp.

On the road to Copacabana (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

On the road to Copacabana (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

View of Copacabana

View of Copacabana

We are staying at Samawi Hostel on the lake front (camping). There was not a lot of space for camping, and there were rooms available, so given how cold it gets at night I got a room. Alas: cold showers only, the whole of Copacabana is currently without power. Apparently this happens frequently as the grid gets over loaded. I caught up with some blogs and emails ready to send when I next have wifi, which will probably be in two days time in La Paz. Then I dozed the rest of the afternoon.

Our camping spot tonight (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Our camping spot tonight (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

The time difference has changed and we are now ahead an hour. At the rider’s meeting we found out about the trucks being held up in La Paz due to protest action. We were told there was a possibility that they may not get here at all. However there was a back up plan with local transport for our day bags and the cooking equipment. Fortunately the trucks did arrive in the early hours of the morning.

I am pleased I have a room as it was very cold eating dinner. When I got back to my room it was considerably warmer than outside. Alas, no nice hot water bottle, but the power did come back on at about 7pm.

Dinner was meat kebabs, a vegetable ragout (like a tomato paste vegetable stew but not sure how to spell it), various condiments, and pita bread.

Dinner is cooking (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Dinner is cooking (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

*Editor’s note: This is not THE Copacabana from that awesome song, as I was excitedly led to believe. Apparently there are TWO Copacabana’s – one in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and this one in Bolivia. So no Lola’s where Kaye is.

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Copacabana, Bolivia (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Copacabana Bolivia (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Copacabana Bolivia (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Sunset over lake Titicaca (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Sunset over lake Titicaca (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

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Categories: Bolivia, Peru, South American Epic | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Day 80/164: Puno to Juli – 83km

Climbing 175 meters, down 300.

It was cold coming out of the hotel, and had a maze of streets to negotiate through. Even though it was only 6:30am there was lots of traffic already. Once we got clear of Puno we had great views of the lake. It stretched out to the horizon, and was hard to believe that we are at 3,800 meters above sea level.

I am ok on the flat, but am still having problems with asthma and altitude on hills. My lungs have decided to add to the problem by producing lots of mucous. I am pleased that this week is going to be a relatively light riding week. 83 kilometres and not much climbing is just what I need at the moment. I rode with Shirley and Dan for about 20 kilometres but then stopped at some ruins.

All of a sudden my gear shifter on the left stopped working, so now I have small and large cog on the left and large only on the right. Not so easy for getting up hills! I managed ok for about 30 kilometres with an up gradient that was not steep, but had to get off half way up a hill in the town. It was either get off or fall off! Thankfully this was the last town before going downhill to camp.

We are camping at 3,750 metres, by the beach, thankfully not a dust camp. There is grass to pitch the tent on. Given that we were only biking 83 kilometres (although the climbing was at least double the 175 meters planned) I got to camp at midday. I cleaned my bike ready for bike clinic at 3pm, put up my tent, and dozed for a couple of hours in my tent.

View of beach camp

View of beach camp

Thankfully the problem with my bike is just a snapped gear cable, so I have a new one on, and the bike is ready to go again tomorrow.

Next I went to the medic clinic to discuss my asthma and altitude sickness etc. I am going to go off the altitude sickness pills as the effect wears off the longer you take them and they have side effects. When I am in La Paz I am going to go to a medical clinic, and get an asthma management plan. My asthma is starting to settle, but we are going to be going higher up in altitude again, so I need to be better prepared. I think I was lucky this time.

Dinner was hamburgers with buns, salad, and gherkins. It was warm here during the day, but the night was cold. I had both sleeping bag inners, my hat, long john top and bottom, socks and jacket and I was still cold! I will need to sort this in Lapaz, as I have been warned that Bolivia is going to be cold.

Camping on the shores of Lake Titicaca (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Camping on the shores of Lake Titicaca (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Our campsite tonight (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Our campsite tonight (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

The sun sets on our camp (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

The sun sets on our camp (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

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Day 79/164: More photos of Puno

Editor’s note: Here are some more photos of Puno, from Sue’s blog:

We take a 3 hours trip on Lake Titicaca (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

We take a 3 hours trip on Lake Titicaca (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

The reed island that we visited (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

The reed island that we visited (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

More reed boats (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

More reed boats (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

We visit one of the homes on the island (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

We visit one of the homes on the island (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Even a football field on a floating island (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Even a football field on a floating island (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Lake Titicaca (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Lake Titicaca (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Puno (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Puno (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

A local taxi in Puno (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

A local taxi in Puno (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

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Day 79/164: Rest Day in Puno

Breakfast was included with the hotel stay and such joy when I got down to the restaurant: a toaster! 😀 😀 I have certainly missed being able to have toast. There was also butter but no grapefruit marmalade, so not quite perfect but pretty close. They did have some very nice honey and some pineapple jam.

As there is only one rest day I decided not to do the full day tour to the floating islands and planned to do a three hour one instead. I went down to the wharf, about two kilometres from the hotel, politely declining the numerous offers of rides in a tuk tuk.

The trip to see two islands is $20 sole, plus a $5 landing fee. You had to wait for the boat to have ten passengers before it would leave but that did not take long. The first mate was a boy aged about 8, who was in charge of the ropes and telling the passengers when they could go up to the top of the boat etc.

Boats that take tourists out to the floating Islands

Boats that take tourists out to the floating Islands

On the boat

On the boat

The trip out took about 30 minutes to the first island. We had an explanation of how the islands were made and what they ate (Editor’s note: I honestly have no idea what Kaye means by this . . . maybe the islands are like the one in Life of Pi?).

Then we were each taken to one of the individual’s houses to look inside, then that person took you to their market table to sell you either weaving, jewellery or small boats made out of the reeds. The islands surface was dry reeds – you would not like to see a fire!

View of the floating island, ground surface covered in dried reeds

View of the floating island, ground surface covered in dried reeds

Island people waiting to welcome us onto the floating island

Island people waiting to welcome us onto the floating island

Sitting with the one of the Island woman holding the wall hanging I bought

Sitting with the one of the island woman holding the wall hanging I bought

Enjoying the sunshine

Floating islands

Then we had to pay another ten sole to go on a traditional boat to the next island. The traditional boats are made of reeds also. This boat was not rowed however, it was pushed by a dingy with an outboard motor.

Boat being rowed not push by dingy

Boat being rowed not pushed by dingy

Editor's caption: Kaye looking too cool for school

Editor’s caption: Kaye looking too cool for school on the boat to a floating island

The next island was the chance to buy food and beverages at hugely inflated prices, twice that as on the mainland. The whole experience was a bit tacky and about milking every possible $ out of the tourist. The longer trips are a bit more of a real experience but overall I was happy with the trip. I got to go on a floating island on Lake Titicaca.

Kaye on the restaurant island (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Kaye on the restaurant island (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

View of Puno from boat

View of Puno from boat

After getting back to the mainland I had lunch then back to the hotel. The plan was to Skype with a couple of my children and catch up with the blog and emails. Once again problems with the wifi: too many riders crashing the system. I could not get Skype to connect! Again! Most frustrating and disappointing when you have limited access to wifi. One of the riders was telling me that you can also do a Skype like thing through Facebook that works better. Will have to look into it.

I ended up dozing off to sleep in the sun and woke up and it was dark.

Usually on rest days I still eat early but tonight it was after 7pm before I left the hotel. All the restaurants were packed. One had an hour long wait just to order. I managed to find a place that was not as busy but just in time, as it filled up within 5 minutes of getting there. I had a quick Pizza and headed back to the hotel to pack and try again with the Skype. There was an eclipse of the moon so watched that for a while. Very clear sky, so easy to see.

Looking at the rider’s whiteboard it looks like the next four days are going to be quite easy. Nothing over 83 kilometres, and nothing with climbing over 950 meters. We will still be at about 3,800 meters in altitude every day though. I am still having problems with asthma and altitude sickness, so a few easier days will be great.

No luck still with the skype :/. Into bed with my hot water bottle, it would be great if I could have one of these delivered to my tent every night.

Lake Titicaca

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Day 78/164: Ayaviri to Puno – 142km

Climbing 1,000 meters – down 1,380

It was quite cold in the morning so well dressed to start. I am still suffering from altitude, asthma and wind/sun chaffed lips. To start off with I had my silk balaclava over my mouth to protect my lips but also to stop the cold air which aggravates my asthma. Thankfully to start there was no steep climb, just a gradual up with some rolling hills. It is frustrating to be going up the last bit of the hills in granny gear (the easiest gear) and still huffing and puffing like a steam train.

SacredvalleyLunch was half way at 71 kilometres, and on the menu was toasted sandwiches that Adrian (TDA) was cooking in a fry pan. I am liking the change in food with a new chef. As usual a collection of hopeful local dogs were watching the proceedings with great interest. They will be lucky today as we are going into a rest day tomorrow and everything that is opened is thrown out. Plus Adrian is as soft with dogs as me.

Adrian cooks us fried sandwiches for lunch (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Adrian cooks us fried sandwiches for lunch (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Lunch spot today (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Lunch spot today (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

After lunch we had to go through a town called Juliaca, we were told it was busy and there were road works. It was insane! The roundabout was being reconstructed but it was still being used by the traffic. No one was following the road rules and no one (apart from most truckies) gave any thought to the rights of cyclists. Of course we had to get across lanes of traffic, it was chaos. Then we had approximately 5 kilometres of a main road under reconstruction, also with huge pot holes, gravel, dirt, and traffic coming at you from all directions. It was a relief to get to the other side of it.

Then long straights with a slight up gradient and a headwind. The last 10 kilometres there was a 7 kilometre uphill which I found hard going. Then 3 kilometres down a steep gradient into Puno.

The roads are under construction in Puno (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

The roads are under construction in Puno (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Puno is as much as a tourist spot as Cusco. Once again lots of white faces and street vendors. We are staying at a hotel called the Intiqa Hotel. It is owned by an Indian tribe. Nice shower and a bath in the room and the hotel does laundry :D.

Puno is a tourist spot because of Lake Titicaca: 280 meters deep at 3,800 meters altitude, it is the highest navigable lake in the world. It is famous for its floating islands. There are hundreds of them. The islands are made of reeds woven together and the islands can last a hundred years. Some Peruvians live on them all year round and fish for a living. Generally these are the islands a while from the shore. There is a hotel on one of the floating Islands and on other islands you can go for a day trip and have lunch in a family’s home. Others are show pieces for tourists. Lake Titicaca shares a border with Peru and Bolivia.

Lake Titicaca from Puno (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Lake Titicaca from Puno (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

There are numerous restaurants close to the hotel. I went to one that had a blazing Pizza oven. Not because I felt like Pizza but because it looked warm and inviting. It gets really cold here as soon as the sun goes down. I had the restaurant speciality smoke trout, it was not as good as the NZ trout but was ok.

Back to the hotel where they had bought hot water bottles round for everyone’s bed. Was very cosy hopping into a bed that had a hot water bottle in it. Reminded me of being a child.

Lake Titicaca (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Lake Titicaca (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

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Day 77/164: San Pedro to Ayariri – 124km

Climbing 1,300 meters – down 1,400.

I coughed quite a lot during the night so in the morning I added myself to the list of riders going in the lunch truck. My lip is still a problem and am covering it with lip sun protection. A number of the riders are the same. Gastro is making its way through the camp again so a number of the riders on the truck are on it for this. Sue is still unwell and does not expect to be riding again until after the next rest day.

It was quite cold in the morning but not as cold as it gets here. The cattle are put in the barn overnight so I suspect it gets well below freezing.

Waiting for the lunch bus this morning (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Waiting for the lunch bus this morning (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Beautiful sunrise this morning (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Beautiful sunrise this morning (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

For the past two weeks the Peruvians have been wearing traditional dress. The woman wear like a bowler hat, a long hooped skirt, and a jacket and blouse. They carry stuff on their back in a brightly striped blanket. This includes babies, clothes, sticks etc.

A couple in their traditional dress

Traditional Peruvian dress

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The cloth back packs are amazing – they expand (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Photo shoot with a local

Photo shoot with a local at lunch (Photo credit: Sue’s blog)

The lunch truck stopped at 65 kilometres, so I only had about 58 kilometres to ride. After helping set up for lunch I set off about 9:30am. It was mostly a slight up gradient with a bit of a head wind. I took my time and got to the hotel about 2pm. We are staying at Hotel Lumansa.

Preparing lunch (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Preparing lunch (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Puno - TDA

Curious rosy-cheeked kids join us at lunch (Photo and caption credit: TDA Global Cycling Facebook page)

It was nice to have a bed, toilet, and a shower. Some of the other rooms only had a toilet (and of course a bed). I had a look around the town, it had an amazing old church. That night in the town square there was a parade with a band and marching girls, small children dancing, etc.

The Church in Ayaviri

The Church in Ayaviri

Dinner was spag bol with fresh salad again and garlic bread (April is becoming quite popular as the chef).

April the new chef is here with us for a month( Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

April the new chef is here with us for a month (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

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Day 76/164: Cusco to San Pedro – 158km

Climbing 1,900 meters – down 1,775

I had lots of weird dreams about riding and did not sleep that well. It poured during the night and I was dreading the morning. Thankfully at about 4am the rain stopped. It would have been a misery riding all day in the rain.

Max (TDA) said the first 5 kilometres were up, then a 30 kilometre downhill. Not sure what he used for his calculations but it was about 10 kilometres up. It was cold and quite steep and I walked pretty much all of the first 5 kilometres. I was breathless due to the altitude and asthma. Thankfully I got to the top then quite a steep descent. It was really cold. I stopped and put all of my warm clothing on.

View from the lunch bus this morning (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

View from the lunch bus this morning (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

The view from lunch today (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

The view from lunch today (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

The rest of the day was rolling hills, with a couple of short climbs. It was a long day riding, it was 5pm by the time I got to camp, so about 10 1/2 hours riding. I couldn’t push myself because of the asthma so going up any hills is pretty slow. We are staying in a field at the back of a restaurant.

About two hours before the end of the ride I was coming into a town and three boys ran out from a bridge and grabbed my bike and pannier and demanded money. They would not let it go. They were aged about 8 to 9. In the end I got off my bike. There may be a language barrier but they got the message that I was not giving them money and to bug off. It was pretty scary though, and I was pleased they weren’t any older. If they had have been, I would probably have given them money. It’s the first time in South America that children have been anything but friendly.

I got to camp and set up my tent, and was just in time for the riders meeting and dinner. We have a new chef for a month called April, as the usual chef Mark has a month off. The dinner was chicken pasta and fresh salad.

I am starting to realize that I have not taken being asthmatic seriously enough. The problem is generally it is so well controlled that most people don’t even know I have asthma. I can go a year or two without using the reliever at all. Unfortunately I did not factor in what happens when it is not well controlled, which is occasionally as a result of a viral illness. So I have no peak flow and no steroid medication with me. I have doubled my dose of preventer, and am carrying my reliever in my pocket when riding. Today I have used it about 7 times. As well as being breathless I am also coughing and bringing up phlegm. All in all not ideal. I spoke to Erin the medic to check it was what I thought: my airways bring over excited as a result of either (or both) asthma and altitude.

We are going to be at altitude for a while still – probably at least a month – so hopefully it will settle down.

Tomorrow we are going to be climbing back over 4,500 meters again in the morning. Given that I am sure the altitude is what is driving the asthma I am considering not doing the climb and taking the lunch truck to lunch. Disappointing to be back in the truck but I am realizing that I need to take my asthma a bit more seriously.

Love the terrain around here (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Love the terrain around here (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Lovely evening light (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Lovely evening light (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

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Day 75/164: Rest Day Three in Cusco

I am having problems with the wifi, no doubt it is over loaded by all the riders. I was not able to log on much of the day. When I could, I could only get a connection in the hotel lobby and could not get Skype to connect at all. It is most frustrating when there are limited days you have access to wifi and then it does not work.

I am still having problems with breathing related to altitude and asthma, and my lip does not appear to healing quickly. I had quite a lazy day today catching up on the blog, as I had got a bit behind. At most of camps lately there have been only picnic chairs and no lighting. With quite long days I am not getting anything done on the blog before dinner, and then it is dark and cold so I am not inclined to do any in my tent.

I went to the bike shop that the mechanic Luiz said sells shimano bike parts. I have been having trouble with my left pedal with my foot suddenly shooting out for no reason, which could cause a nasty mishap. I have new pedals on my bike.

Apart from that I repackaged my bags, read a book, and not much else. I went back to the same restaurant for dinner as the first night here “The Incantra” and had a really nice pasta dish with anchovies, olives, fresh tomatoes sauce, and parmesan. It could have done with a bit of heat but otherwise delicious. The pasta was fresh, and I had a nice green salad, and a glass of red wine.

I am trying not to think about tomorrow: 158 kilometres at altitude, with 1,900 meters of climbing. Yesterday 30 kilometres was added to what was a 128 kilometre ride with less climbing, to take us on a dog leg through a sacred valley (called The Sacred Valley) and miss the traffic. We have a number of unwell riders with one or more of the following: gastro, chest infection, altitude issues, asthma. There is concern that we are being pushed too hard.

Editor’s note: I asked Mum if TDA have done this ride before and had so many people quit / sick etc, and she said that the last South American trip was much shorter and went the other way, and did not cover as many countries.

Town gate in Cusco

Town gate in Cusco

Old Church n Cusco

Old Church in Cusco

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Day 74/164: Rest Day Two in Cusco

I slept in again, had breakfast and then went off to have a massage I had booked at 10am.

Along with general exhaustion I have
1. A really sore neck on the left hand side, I can’t even turn it
2. Altitude sickness, still really breathless and have coughing fits
3. Gastro related to the altitude medication, or the anti inflammatory medication for the neck
4. My bottom lip has big cracks in it even though I have been constantly covering it with lip sun block
5. A pressure area on my butt, thankfully the skin is not broken
6. Asthma, related I think to the altitude.

All in all the three rest days are badly needed. A number of the riders have organized tours to go to Machu Picchu but I decided not to. I was really conflicted as I am so close but in the end decided that I need to look after myself if I want to manage the whole of this ride. Sue went with a group of 7 of the riders, up on the early morning train, got to the main gates and was inside for ten minutes and collapsed. Sue was taken back to the hotel they had booked there and slept for 18 hours (which equates to a USD $750 sleep). Four of the other riders who went have also come back unwell, mostly with gastro related symptoms.

The massage (80 soles) was great, the masseuse really knew her stuff and spent ages on the left side of my neck and back. I had lots of knots. She would work on them for a few minutes and then do another area, but kept coming back. As I left I could already feel the difference.

Next off to get my hair cut and buy some sandals, mine have finally fallen apart. As I was walking up the street looking for sandals a pleasant seeming young man stopped me and asked me if I was from New Zealand. When I said yes he said “Wellington?” which I of course said yes. He then asked if I wanted anything for my hike, which is why most people come here. When I said no I am biking he changed to ‘did I need shoes, Lycra etc’. I assured him I had everything I needed. So then he asked me if I want some Charlie, blow or clean cut. I was a bit stunned and found myself shaking his hand saying ” I appreciate you asking but I am ok”. Weird, so I figure Charlie is heroine? Blow is cocaine? But ‘clean cut’? Crystal meth? Any ideas?

I managed to find some sandals finally in my size, a number of shops had sandals I like but not big enough to fit my feet. After this I had some lunch, bought some really warm multi colored socks, and went on the city bus tour. It was raining to start off with so I sat downstairs, but as soon as the rain stopped I moved upstairs, better for taking photos.

We went up quite a steep hill and I jokingly said to one of the other riders “I bet we come out this way”. No need they assured me, the main road leads straight out of Cusco.

View of Cusco from top of hill

View of Cusco from the top of hill

We stopped at a statue of Jesus that was donated to the people of Cusco by the Palestine government in recognition of the shelter given to the Jews in the second world war.

Rest day two in Cusco . The Jesus statue from the Palestine Govt to the people of Cusco for providing sanctuary to the Hews in world war 2

The Jesus statue

After this the tour went to an Alpaca clothing factory. I bought a dorky looking, but really warm hat. Hopefully the socks and the hat will make a difference at cold camps.

On top of your bus in Cusco rest day two ( with my warm bed hat)

On top of tour bus in Cusco with my warm hat

We saw some Inca ruins that were a ceremonial centre and temple to the sun called Saqsaywaman.  The rocks were fitted together, some weighing up to 130 tons. The Spaniards took a number of the rocks from here for buildings in the town.

Photo of Sagsay waman in Cusco

Photo of Saqsaywaman in Cusco

Another view of Sagsay waman in Cusco

Another view of Saqsaywaman

Sun temple in Cusco

Sun temple in Cusco

On the tour I also learned that 70% of the adult population in Cusco work in the tourist industry, and the average monthly wage is $750 soles.

After the tour I saw two of my favorite riders Shirley and Dan from the USA sitting in a boutique beer bar so I joined them for a beer.

Dan, Shirley and Brett and boutique beer bar in Cusco

Brett, Shirley and Dan at a boutique beer bar in Cusco

I could not stay long as I was meeting Rebecca, a friend of Kelly’s, for dinner. Rebecca comments regularly on my blog, and has been travelling through Peru the same time as me, but only arriving in each place just after I left, so it was a good chance to catch up.

I met Rebecca in the lobby of my hotel and we headed off to a Peruvian restaurant “The Andean Grill” that was recommended when we went past on the tour. It was quite nice, I had fillet migon again, was nice had garlic in the sauce. Rebeca had lomas saltardo which is a Peruvian spiced stew. We traded stories about all the different places we had been. Rebecca has been on a number of Intrepid Tours all over the world. It was a good evening. Rebecca heads off next to walk the Inca trail.

Earlier when I had arrived at the hotel after the tour, I was greeted by the news that Eriberto, one of the full tour riders, was throwing in the towel and heading home the next day. “Too cold and too hard” was his reason. I was quite startled as he is one of the better riders and had given no prior indication that he was even thinking of doing this. However he is very cheerful about it and has booked his flights and will be home where he lives near Venice in less than two days, he tells us “drinking good coffee, red wine, enjoying fresh pasta and being warm”.

After dinner I went back to the hotel I tried skyping my son Dan, but the connection was really bad so I will try again tomorrow. Off to bed, last rest day tomorrow.

Water fountain in Cusco

Water fountain in Cusco

Interesting mural in Cusco

Interesting mural in Cusco

Small boy who waved and calked out whilst on your bus in Cusco

Small boy who waved and called out whilst on tour bus in Cusco

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Day 73/164: Rest Day One in Cusco

It was nice to wake up and not have to get on a bike. I slept in and got down to breakfast at about 9am. I am feeling not so great so the plan is to take it pretty easy today.

I checked emails and did a couple of updates on the blog. I went to a book shop that sold English books and got a book about the Inca history.

I need get some sandals do had a half-hearted look at a couple of shops. I had a look through the market, it’s really big.

It seems really strange to be back in a place where there are so many non-Peruvian people. This place is a real tourist Mecca. Lots of people come here as part of a tour or to pick up a tour to Machu Puhcu.

I watched some children playing football with a coke bottle and some other children playing with stones. I guess children are children everywhere. There are a number of children playing quietly in the corners where their parents are selling good, paintings, jewellery, hats etc. Everywhere you go you are constantly asked if you want to buy this or that. The sellers don’t follow you down the street though, and they do not actually come inside bars and restaurants. So if you sit at a table outside you are fair game.

I did book a massage for tomorrow, will try anything to unfreeze my neck. I had a hamburger for tea at a pub just round the corner, and then back to the hotel for an early night.

This is what happens when a bunch of cyclists show up and stay in your hotel.   We're in a beautiful little hotel, so what do we do?  Hang our tents and laundry out everywhere to dry.  Honestly, this is a pretty little courtyard (Photo and caption credit: Laura and Greg's blog)

This is what happens when a bunch of cyclists show up and stay in your hotel. We’re in a beautiful little hotel, so what do we do? Hang our tents and laundry out everywhere to dry. Honestly, this is a pretty little courtyard (Photo and caption credit: Laura and Greg’s blog)

Street hotel in Cusco (the street is the same name as the hotel)

Street hotel in Cusco (the street is the same name as the hotel)

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