Today we were going towards the Peru/Chile border, and would see how far we’d get. We started to climb and the landscape started to get more arid. The trees turned into scrubs and we could see some mountain peaks covered in snow. Hopefully we don’t have to go there!
When we arrived at our pass at 4600m the scrubs turned into sand. We continued on a plateau of sand dunes and beach sand -we felt like we were the only people on earth.
When I was looking into the mirror, I noticed that the scenery in the mirror looked even better than in front. I mounted the photo camera in such a way that it was looking into the rear mirror. When I took the pictures I noticed they look like Sigrid is riding on the other side of the road (like in Australia).
A couple of hours later we started to descend and it got warm again. We arrived in Tacna, the closest town to the border, we checked into a nice hotel with easy parking. There we planned our border crossing. Looks like this is one of the borders were we don’t need to buy anything (insurance, fumigation …) and don’t need any copies of our paperwork. That sounds too good to be true, we’ll see tomorrow.
We got up early and left the hotel at 8 AM with only 20km to the border. We finished the Peruvian paperwork in thirty minutes, it was a breeze. Then we entered Chile, there were more queues, so it took a bit longer.
In Chile was the first time that the Aduana (customs) didn’t believe that our number plate don’t have a number on them, just our first names! But after to-ing and fro-ing involving some superiors we got the all ok and could enter Chile. Hello Chile, here we are !
After riding 32km in Chile we decided it was enough for the day and that we would stay tonight in Arica. We had a bit of trouble to find reasonably priced accommodation – this will probably be a consistent problem in Chile – but after looking around for an hour we found one. Close to our accommodation there was a mall where we found an ATM and got our first Chilean money.
When we walked through the mall it felt like home. At night we went for a walk through the town down to the beach to have a look at the sunset.
When we arrived at the ocean, we realized that there was no beach, only a container wharf and some rocky slopes to keep the pounding waves of the road.
Along the beach there were some monuments, one for motorbike riders, one for surferes and one for some Arica heros in uniform.
We liked to stroll through Arica, it had a nice feeling.
On our way home we found, you guessed it, a church. So we had a look at it but it felt like dejavue… I couldn’t put my finger on it….
Sigrid eventually noticed the internal structure looked like the church in Santa Rosalia in Mexico. And she was right; we had stumbled across the second church by Eiffel in the Americans.
Tomorrow we’ll start our 2000km trip to Santiago, where our noble steeds would get new shoes and a complete service before we ride through the remote areas of Patagonia 🙂
We got up early, finished packing the bikes and left.
Today we planned to ride 400km which is easy if the road is a two lane highway, but if we get mountain roads with trucks and busses, it would take us eight hours of riding. We were lucky; the road was in good condition with hardly any windy mountain parts. During our ride we found the following sign.
Using Google translate showed that this is an advertisement to grow guineapigs. 🙂
We managed to be in Puno around 1 PM but it took us two hours to find a hotel where we could safely park our bikes. Finally we found one where we parked our bikes in the owner’s sort of living/storage room. We had to remove the panniers to fit through the door, but that was done in no time J
Sigrid quickly organized a Lake Titicaca tour at 4PM, so we had thirty minutes before the bus picked us up. The bus dropped us off at the harbour where we climbed into a boat and twenty minutes later we arrived at the first reed island.
When we arrived four women dressed in their traditional clothing were singing a welcome song J
After we all departed from the boat the locals and our guide showed us how the island are built and how people are living here. The tour enabled us to have a look into the inside of the houses and how they were cooking without catching the whole island on fire….
As we found out, they eat coy as well.
We walked around the small island and took a couple of pictures.
Then we got offered a reed boat tour around the island.
During this time we enjoyed the nice sunset.
After the sunset the boat took us past the main island where some of our fellow travellers departed for an overnight stay back to the harbour. A taxi bus brought us back to the hotel. What a day. 🙂
Tomorrow we will try to get as close to the Peru/Chilean border as possible. Currently we are not sure if we’ll hit a 300km dirt road as shown on our South American map …. We’ll see.
We drove up to Machu Picchu with an early bus which only took twenty minutes. And here we are, the first view of Machu Picchu.
Our guide suggested walking to the Sun Gate and back before we meet him with the rest of the group and that’s what we did. On the way we got a good view of the bus road from Aquas Calientes to Machu Picchu and a different view of Machu Picchu itself.
The right picture shows the view from the Sun Gate. As you can see we had to climb quite a bit to get there.
We were puffed when we finally arrived at the Sun Gate.
After a short break and a second breakfast we turned around and went back to the gate to meet our tour guide at 11 AM. This time we paid more attention to our surroundings and found quite amazing orchids and butterflies.
The butterflies changed the colour of their wings depending on the angle of the sun, but they were too fast to be captured on the camera. When we arrived at the gate we met Will again – Will and Nuria were with us on the same boat in Galapagos – he just finished four days of trekking and was waiting for Nuria to arrive by bus. When our tour guide arrived, we quickly made an appointment with Will for dinner tonight to get some stories about his hiking trip. We met the rest of the group and started our guided tour. The guide was enthusiastic and knowledgeable and it was fun to listen to his explanations. He showed us the aqueducts and the storm water system in the town which we would have overlooked otherwise. Before the first house was build, the Incas finished the Aqueducts so that they would have a steady supply of water. On the right hand side you can see how the water was cascading down through different basins.
The terraces were the argicultur area, the topsoil in these teraces was apparently brought up from the river since this was more fertile than the mountains soil.
The guide also showed us the Temple of the Condor. To be honest, if the guide hadn’t explained it, we wouldn’t have made the connection. The wings, in particular, we would have misses. Sigrid tries to show how it was meant to look – Sigird is on the right in the red T shirt J
We found beautiful stone masenarie which intergrated the natural rocks into the building.
With all the maisonary on show, I had to be reminded that the Inkas didn’d use iron or steel. To get this done they were apparently using rocks and copper – and the latter was only used for some intricate carvings. Looking at the picture on the right above at the round wall, the stones of the temple of the sun are just stacked on top of each other and they fit perfectly, even 500 years later, beeing exposed to the weather… isn’t that amazing? The area with the temples had a gate which was locked, so only special people could enter this area.
At the top there is the hinch for the door and left and right are openings for ropes to keep the door closed. Here again, the stones have no mortar between them, they are just held up by their own weight. Outside of the gate we could see the different classes of stones, in the front the smooth finish, used for temples, then the bit rougher finish up to the gate, and the much rougher finish as part of a common housing at the end.
On the left hand side in picture below you can see the highest point of the city with a platform on top of which is the Intihuatana. This is a huge carved rock that is believed to be a place of astronomic observations and various religious rituals (on the right).
A look down from the platform shows the height of the city, at the bottom there is a train- doesn’t it look like a toy train?
This was the point were our tour ended and we dicided to have a look at the trunk bridge. First we had to get up to the guard tower which involved climbing stairs again. Again, each of these stairs had to be carved by hand without any metal and then transported and fixed to the right place, amazing!
On our way up we meet Will and Nuria again, so they took some pictures of the two of us and visa versa.
We continued our walk to the bridge, we were again impressed how the Incas managed to build a path like this on a cliff face.
Removing the wooden planks would make passing the gap impossible. It is really hard to get a real picture but the drop from the brigde must be around 500m. From the side there was a rock that could be used to defend this gap, so there would be no way that anybody could cross it.
I felt safe standing on the rock until Sigrid told me that it was hanging over the edge for quite a bit, she shouldn’t have told me that 🙂
From the bridge we walked back to Machu Piccho and when we arrived it started to rain, so we hopped on the bus and returned to Aguas Calientes. When we arrived it was still raining, so we decided to get our bathers and go to the hot springs at the end of the town. I assumed we would be the only ones crazy enough to go swimming when it rained heavily. Wrong!! The hottest pool was croweded, I guess people went in before it rained and were scared to leave now. The bar service at the pool made these decission even easier I guess. And there were the hot foutains, which were the best in my opinion. It was just hot water coming out of the wall, it felt like getting a massage.
And when it got too warm, we could cool down in the freezing fountains, which were easy to find since they were the only empty places in the whole setup.
We tried it and did know why it was empty -hard attack material! Anyway after two hours we got dressed and met with Will and Nuria for dinner. We got some wood oven baked pizza which tasted realy nice. Will was starving after his four days trekking.
We talked about Will’s trek adventure and what the plans were after this journey. Both lived in Australia and at the end of the journey will be moving to Nuria’s birth place, Switzerland. They have an exciting time in front of them! After tea we departed and wished them good luck in Switzerland.
In the morning I took a picture out of our room, the view was just great.
After breakfast we went to the train station and hopped on the train not long after. It was not raining today, which made the train ride even more enjoyable.
An hour and a half later we arrived in Ollantaytambo where a community bus was waiting for us and we arrived in Cusco at our accommodation two hours later. Sigrid had another look through all the bags, it looks like her mobile is lost :/
We were mostly planning our next steps up to Santiago and tried to find Sigrid’s phone. Sigrid was able to load a software called Plan B onto it and finally got a GPS location back around 10 PM at night. It turned out that the location was in a 200m radius of our hostel, but that was the last time that we received an update. Now it was either switched off, the battery was empty or it moved outside of the internet range. Anyway, we thought we stay a day longer to see if we can locate it in the morning.
The next day we looked for Sigrid’s phone but couldn’t locate it. In the afternoon we gave up and decided to have a look at the South American Explorer club house – to get some road info and to see what we can do about the lost phone – and to eat coy (guineapig).
We got some info about the road from Puno to the border and on how to get the mobile phone back. The best chance would be to go to a particular place on Saturday, there would be a very high possibility that we would find the phone and could buy it back :/
We gave that a miss since today was Monday. So the next step would be eating coy….Well, we had a drink before we endeavoured onto this adventure and what better place than the highest 100% Irish owned pub on the planet.
Ok, now we were ready to eat a guneapig :/. We went to a restaurant that offered it as a meal for two. Here it is, one half with head and the claws.
In my opinion it tasted like duck, only there was hardly any meat on it. So after all, I thought it tasted good but it had some strainge effect on Sigrid….
When we arrived at the hotel the side effect had ceased. The porter invited me and a fellow guest to a game of table football. We lost… but it was fun J
Tomorrow we will ride to Puno and have a look at lake Titicaca.
City: Chalhuanca , Peru
Kilometres ridden: 326
Cumulative kilometre: 35766
Street: windy good condition
We had a nice breakfast, packed our noble steads and left.
We didn’t go very far and stoped in front of Cerro Blanco before we continued.
It was still hot, so we had all our vents open and were wearing only the minimum of our gear. For the next hour the road went up until we crossed a national park, and here they are, our first wild Llamas -which were actually vicuñas.
We were really excited!! We took plenty of pictures and just looked at them. After a while we continued carefully not to hit a vicuña, they just crossed the road all the time. After a while we stopped just before a Peaje station- pay station for South American toll roads. Again there were Llamas, this time the real once.
Then we continued to the pay station and we got into the wrong lane, so we had to get the bike around to use the outside lane and pass the station without paying. Sigrid didn’t like to pass through two red barricades – which was tight with our luggage – so she tried to get around all lanes all together over a gravel patch. To cut the story short, getting off balance Sigrid laid the bike gently down. She was asking if I could take a picture of it, here it is
Thanks to the boxes and the tank nothing was damaged, only some more scratches. So we picked it up, no harm done.
As short while later we hit a road construction, they were just clearing a sand slide from our lane.
The weather was warm and mostly sunny, so we enjoyed the short break. After the road was open again, we kept climbing until we were over some clouds.
Then the first rain started, turning into hail. We stopped and put all our raingear on.
Now we were ready – rain or hail would not phase us – and it did not stop for a while….But finally it stopped. However riding on the plane at 4000m, it started to get freezing! So – stop again and out came our heated jackets and gloves. Now we were fully kitted out. The picture below shows Sigrid with the heated glove on.
It started to rain again, first light then heavier. Around 4500m we saw our first snow on the side of the road and then on the road… shock for the system. Should we have gotten snow chains for the bikes after all?
We started to ride really slow following the trails trucks had made before us. Luckily after a while we got out of the snow, but it was still raining. Finally the road started to descend and we got down to around 3000 m. There it was warmer and the rain stopped. We arrived in a town called Chalhuanca, booked into a hotel and fell into bed. Tomorrow we will see if we can make it to Ollantaytambo.
Started a bit later hoping that the clouds might disappear, but they had other plans. Below are some pictures out of the window of our hotel.
The road was windy and we didn’t progress fast. The weather was overcast/sunny but no rain! The ride went up to 4000m but no rain or snow this time.
The ride was easy; the roads were mostly great and not too many trucks or busses on the road. When arriving in a town called Ancahuasi we took the road to Ollantaytambo. Around 100m after the town ended, the pavement stopped and the dirt road started. After some contemplation we though we don’t need 50km of windy dirt road at the end of the day, particular when it started to get dark. So we turned around and road the 20km to Cucso and looked there for a hotel. First in the outskirts of the city – no Cama Matrimonial,… then inner city, but no hotel with secure motorcycle parking. Finally Bjoern spotted another hostel with secure motorcycle parking and where we could leave the bikes when we visit Machu Picchu for 2 days.
Today we were organising our trip to Machu Picchu. Lucky for us, the travel agent was just next doors. There we got prices for the whole Machu Picchu trip (Bus & train tickets, accommodation in Aguas Calientes and the entrance fee). Then we went around and compared it with others and couldn’t find anything cheaper, so finally we went back and booked it, that was easy J.
Then we explored Cusco, and I couldn’t resist taking some pictures from two llamas and a duck.
The expression Lama, Lama, Duck is part of a song, have a listen to it J
While taking the pictures we meet Nuria from the Galapagos trip. What a coincidence! Will, her partner, was currently tracking along the Inka trail- but she had been suffering from Altitude sickness and had to stay in Cusco instead. We agreed to meet at night to go together to a lecture about Machu Picchu she had found. For more sightseeing we walked to the main plaza and took some pictures.
At night we went to the pub were we meet with Nuria.
It turned out the meeting was organized from the South American Explorer club which we are members off. Finally that paid off J Paolo Greer´s lecture was really interesting. He is a guy from Alaska with an interest in the Inca period. He did so much research and collected so much knowledge that eventually he was asked to give a guided tour to the head official of Machu Picchu. The story is that the restorations weren’t done quite properly and therefore some history is lost.
After the seminar we had dinner together and then went to our accommodation. When we arrived at the hostel, a guy met us and told us that there is going to be a problem with the bus to Ollantaytambo the next morning. The bus drivers will strike. We should get out of the city at 4AM. But Sigrid was not well all day and didn’t agree to get up that early. So she negotiated a car around 7.30AM. We packed everything that night and were nearly ready to leave.
We got up at seven just in time from the night porter at the hostel to tell us that the travel agent has arrived. She told us the driver will be there in 20 minutes so we got ready and jumped into the car . We got out of Cusco before the strikers blocked the road. The taxi dropped us of at the Ollantaytambo train station where we had a coffee and tea before we decided to go back to the city for the next two hours. In Ollantaytambo we walked around and took some pictures around the main square. On the right there is the storm water system -a bit peculiar, partially open, partially closed.
A bit later we found a local market and had a look around.
We found as well a place where we could buy a cheap wrist watch. Since Sigrid couldn’t find her mobile in the morning and had asked in the hotel to check for it We would now use the watch for timekeeping instead of the mobile.
There are as well ruins close to the city, but it would have taken us too long to get there and back.
When the time came we walked back to the train station and hopped on the train. At this point it was raining heavily.
The train ride was beautiful despite the rain. When we arrived in Aquas Calientes, the receptionist of our hostel picked us up. The hostel was just a couple of minutes away from the train station. The view from our room was great.
At night our guide for Machu Picchu came past to talk to us about tomorrows arrangements. Then we had a short stroll through the town, taking a couple of pictures on the main square.
After that we settled for a pizza and coca tea for dinner.
Carlos picked us up from the hotel and drove us to the airport. Here we hopped on the small air plane. People suggested taking some sea sickness tablets, we were not sure why, but we followed the suggestion and took some.
After take off it took only a couple of minutes before we saw the first Nazca figurine, first a tight left turn, then trowing the plane around and a tight right turn. I suddenly got the idea why people suggested taking sea sickness tablets… There are huge triangles, nobody knows really why the figurines and lines were created.
And here is a picture of the Hummingbird and the astronout
Below you can see the tower from where we had a look yesterday at the figurines, you can see the Pan American Highway and in the right corner the hands and in the middle the tree.
There are not only the figurines to see, there are also multiple other lines which are the result of vehicles driving around before the site was declared a national monument and some lines which point a certain direction. All that sometimes makes it hard to see the figurines – as you can see below, in middle left side is the spider.
After a short time we returned to the airport, here is a picture of the captain who brought us back in one piece 🙂
In the afternoon we explored Nazca for a bit
We saw black corn and a car used to climb the second highest sand dune in the world, the 3800m high Cerro Blanco. No, we had enough adventure for the day and gave that a miss.
Here is a picture of Cerro Blanco, it is the white mountain in the middle.
Strolling through the city we also found a replacement for Sigrid’s Crocs which were worn through. So no wet feet for her anymore when the streets are wet 😀
In the morning we joined a guy who had a tour booked for two, but his friend didn’t feel well and couldn’t come. So we visited the Nazca underground Aqueducts (named Puquios) which are still functioning today. They survived the 1996 earthquake that nearly destroyed the whole city of Nazca. Below are pictures of a bit of open channel aqueduct and one of the entrances, which were used for getting water, cleaning the Aqueducts and for spiritual celebrations.
There are around 36 of these undergrounds aqueducts, which bring the water from the mountain to the arid desert and allowed the Nazcas to life here. Then we had a look at the Nazca ruins, which were build 2000 years ago. The ruins are still in the process of being excavated and rebuild, so there was not too much to see, but on the right picture you can see the difference in the building style. The bit rough part was done by the Nazcas, the front part was built by the Incas a couple of hundred years later.
When we returned Bjoern had developed a fever and the next couple of days were needed to recover from an infection. To entertain us there was a folklore festival going on, so there were some street parades showing the different costumes from different countries, here are some pictures.
The streets around the hotel were in the process of being redone so it looked a bit sandy around, but the hotel itself was nice.
When Bjoern had recovered with the help of a local doctor and some antibiotics we explored the city again. We had a look at the central plaza and took a couple of pictures of the art around.
The next evening we went to a folklore festival to see the Russian and the Brazil performances.
At night we once more sampled the Pisco sour on the central plaza, there was a very nice Purina lady making them. To be honest, I could get used to that stuff J
We just had to try out if it is different in Nazca to how it was in Pisco 😉
In the evening we saw the Southern Cross the first time since nearly a year – no that has nothing to do with the Pisco – It was the first night with a clear sky since we are back in the southern hemisphere. We stayed a day longer to see the Nazca Mummies. They are around 2000 years old and you can still see the skin on some. There was a also a small room with some mummies behind glass, also showing their belongings.
Some of the fabrics didn’t look 2000 years old, more like they were just recently produced.
Outside were the open graves, where the mummies and their hair were still preserved by the dryness of the desert, some of them had long raster locks (picture on the right).
We did the tour with Carlos; he had heaps of information for us about traveling in Peru. We really enjoyed his stories and his tips for us.
At night we went to the final folk festival evening, today the winner would be announced. The winner was Russia and I think it was not a big surprise after seeing their performance. After the Ceremonies were still some performances from different countries. Some were caring a huge amounts of bottles on their head while dancing, others were performing some acrobatics and some were portraying a fight between two tribes.
Tomorrow we will start to ride direction Machu Picchu.
We started early to avoid the frantic traffic in the city and it worked well. Not far from Chiclayo we were riding through the Atacama Desert for the first time, white sand everywhere you look. We stopped and took a couple of pictures.
We continued riding until we could see the ocean from the Pan American Highway, so we decided to turn off and have a look. When we arrived at the beach we realised that the promenade was not ready yet, but a mermaid sculpture was placed there.
The idea was to find a nice restaurant with ocean view, but this didn’t looked like the right place, so we continued. Riding through the desert and not having too much sand on the road seemed a bit strange, so I wondered if the sand was soft or if it had a crust on top. So we stopped and Sigrid had a look at it, the sand was soft.
We continued further and found a turtle sculpture on road, so we stopped to take some pictures.
Opposite the turtle was a sign to a hotel that was off the highway and towards ocean. So we decided to give it a try and found a small village nestled in a cove. There were plenty of accommodations around, so we had a look and found something suitable with a great view of the ocean.
And then there was the stunning sunset. What a day! 🙂
I like sunsets 😀
City: Eco-Truly Park, Peru
Kilometres ridden: 325
Cumulative kilometre: 34906
Street: Highway mostly desert
The ride was again through desert. Then, to my amazement, there was suddenly a sugar cane field and then desert again… Just a green patch in the middle of the desert. Strange!
At lunch time we stopped at a road house. After the break we continued until it started to get late. Then we asked the GPS for accommodation and it guided us to a hotel complex that looked like it was out of star wars. We parked the bikes straight in front of our accommodation.
And that was the view from the courtyard.
We had the room in the left corner (first dome on the left).
After we settled in, we were chatting with Bhuvanath, one of the people responsible for sustainable tourism in this resort. It was interesting to hear how they try to save water, harvest their own crops, use compost toilets and all the other approaches to minimise the impact on the environment. I really enjoyed the conversation; we almost forgot the sunset! We rushed to the beach and just saw the last bit, but it was good enough. The water was once again freezing cold.
Tomorrow we will try to get through Lima as early as possible. We did hear from fellow motorcycle riders that Lima has the worst traffic and the car drivers don’t care about motorcycles; even if the’ve just bumped into one they continue driving. So the cunning plan was to ride through Lima on a Sunday morning, when all the good people are still sleeping.
In the morning we started early to get through Lima. When Sigrid tried to get the bike from the lawn to the foot path, she dropped it. Anyway, Bhuvanath and Sigrid picked the bike up, before I could get my side stand out, so no picture of the bike on the ground 😉
It was still early when we arrived in Lima and within an hour we were through without any incident. I can imagine how dangerous it would be to go through Lima during the week. It was quite tense sometimes and that on Sunday morning. I didn’t realise that Lima lies in a desert. With the cold water from the ocean Lima is often foggy. 60km out of Lima we had a break at a petrol station, this was the first place without fog after Lima. The rest of the ride was without any incidents and we arrived in Pisco relatively early and found a good hotel with an easy access to the secure motorcycle parking.
So we decided to clean the air filter on both bikes, as it was long overdue. Sigrid found another use for the air filter cages 😉
Ah, the reason why we went to Pisco was to have a Pisco sour, which is the Peruvian national drink! After all the messy oil business we went out to have a Pisco sour and ended up in a nice bar. Unfortunately we now both like the Pisco sour 😉
On our way back we strolled over the plaza and found some arty hedges
After the drinks we though we have something to eat and went to a restaurant that looked typical Peruvian. We ordered Inca Kola and a mixture of skewers, not knowing what we ordered. The Inca Kola we ordered because we saw an advertisement on the highway so we thought we give it a try. It tasted a bit like dissolved yellow Maoam, very sweet.
Then the food came, it looked great but for me it didn’t taste great. To be honest, I didn’t like the taste of any of the skewers. From the taste I would say they were beef liver, heard and a tipe skewers. Well, everybody has a different taste.
We oiled and fitted the dried air filter and started our way to Nazca. A couple of kilometres before Nazca we arrived at this viewing platform.
From the top we could see two Nazca figuriens, the hands and the tree figurines, but I found it hard to get it onto a picture.
So we continued to Nazca and were looking for a hotel and that is where we met Carlos. He showed us the way to the hotel (Google maps got it wrong) and he was also a travel agent who made us a good offer for the flight tomorrow. So after looking around we called him in the evening and booked the flight for tomorrow morning. He was also a wealth of information about Nazca so we talked with him a couple of hours.
It started to rain heavily in the morning, so we decided to delay our start a bit. That gave us time to take a picture of Thomas, a fellow motorcycle rider who was working at the reception.
We travelled for the next 100km without any problem and arrived in Ambato, where the Ecuadorian Schuberth dealer is located. The building looked great in an average area. The company sells safety glass, for door, mirror etc. and it is a Schuberth dealer as well. It turned out that the visor comes in two sizes and the only size available was the wrong one. But the guy did help us by giving us the visor from a new helmet, which was very nice of him. 😀
For the rest of the afternoon we continued to drive towards the border and decided to start looking for a hotel around 4PM. So we stopped in Riobamba and found a nice hotel after a couple of trials.
Sigrid dropped the bike when she tried to get onto the parking lot, she underestimated the step from the road to the sidewalk, stalled the engine and rolled on the footpath… but no bodily harm was done. I was too busy to take a picture at the time, so we fudged one later on.
The view from the hotel onto the surrounding mountains was great even though there were plenty of clouds.
Today we would leave the mountain region and go back to the coast, were the evenings are nice and warm. We were riding through nice windy mountain roads and partially through clouds. Around 4:30PM we arrived in at the warmer ocean region and looked for a hotel. If everything goes well tomorrow we will leave Ecuador and enter Peru.
After packing our bikes we were riding a further south before we turned inland again. Here we were riding through banana plantations, the banana plants grow right up to the road. We turned onto a two lane highway and progressed quite well. The highway wasn’t finished yet, so there were some one lane gravel patches, but nothing serious. Then we turned off from the highway to get to the border crossing further inland. The road was great but hardly anybody was on it, sometimes it felt like we were the only ones on the road. The road was newly laid and in prime condition, so why was hardly anybody using it???
After a while we came to a construction site where other cars and trucks waited. From here on the road was partially single lane and the pavement started to fade away, until we were on a gravel road. Then we came around a corner and the road ended in a huge pile of sand and a bulldozer which tried to create a path.
Eventually we let the trucks and car behind us pass before we approached the sand. That was good since a car got stuck on a big boulder which the workers then removed. We had seen in India that you can easily get injured when you hit a boulder hiding in the soft sand. We then just followed the tracks of the trucks, no problem. The road got better and deteriorated again before we finally reached the end of the 70km building site. The joy to be on a good road didn’t last very long, as the fog started. First a bit and it was fun to ride in, but then it got really dense, we couldn’t see further then a couple of meters and all of the sudden there were buildings popping up out of the fog! We passed through a village and hardly noticed it. After half an hour we came to lower altitude and the fog disappeared. We were back on the Pan American highway which meanders along the mountain following a river deep down. It was around 3PM when we arrived at the border town, so we decided to stay there over night and start the border crossing to Peru tomorrow morning.
Here it was the first time that we couldn’t get petrol when we arrived. We still had enough petrol for 200km, but we made it a habit to fill up in the evening, and here it was the first time that it didn’t work. I guess the petrol in Ecuador is so cheap that people from Peru come over and fill their cars up if there was petrol at the border town.
In the morning we packed our bikes and went to the petrol station, this time we got petrol. The border was not far so we arrived in no time. The border crossing worked without any problem, the Customs officer was even happy to get a picture taken.
All was well organized on the Peruvian side, which doesn’t mean that you have less paperwork. At around 10PM we were free to go, Peru here we are! The road was in good condition and of the nice windy type, the weather was warm but not hot, it was just perfect. The landscape reminded me of Australia.
After the first couple of corners we encountered the Peruvian wildlife for the first time: goats and donkeys were on the road. The goats just disappear when we came close. However the donkeys, as we could have guessed, had to be navigated around…
Or maybe it was a blind deaf donkey?
So after a short while we were alerted to the fact that stray animals could be on the road after each corner or over a crest. At lunch time we stopped at a restaurant on the side of the road where plenty of trucks were. So far we got good cheap meals at these places. The girls cooking and serving in the restaurant didn’t understand our Spanish at all (figure that 😉 ) so we had plenty of fun ordering the meals. Sigrid ordered some fish and I ordered some beef. The fish soup was ok, well, it contained the full fish head but otherwise it was good. I must have gotten a traditional meal that is special to this region. I couldn’t cut the thin piece of meat, you had to tear it apart and chew on it for quite a while. It tasted good, but it was hard work to finish the meal. I think it was beef jerky which they heated up again (at least once).
From here we continued and stopped at a fruit stall where they sold mangos. Sigrid was keen to get some.