A Short Sojourn in South America

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by Tiffany, Jun 25, 2013.

  1. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

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    just re-found this photo in a different folder, thought you might like it

    To prove we were taking in some of the culture while in the historic city of Cusco, we dd some sight-seeing

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    #41
  2. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

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    Leaving the salt pans behind, I make my way up a steep gravel track, naturally it's narrow and naturally (as I'm in Peru) there are pick-up trucks and vans coming the opposite way at silly speeds and some are just parked. I hold my nerve and keep to the edge, trying to avoid looking down the vertiginous drop - safety barriers??

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    Still in the Sacred Valley, I make a few friends

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    Along the road, I spot some of my group having a picnic break whilst enjoying the view, I stop to see what I can scrounge from them:D

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    Enjoying the hairpin bends, I take several over my shoulder random shots with my camera, often just getting a picture of my plaits flying behind me and if I'm lucky a fellow rider in the background. this photo shocked me...

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    I think those are a couple of grey hairs I can see in my plaits :huh

    and then we hit gridlock, we went past the trucks and cars to find this at the front
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    We resign ourselves to a wait

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    the truck driver is very sweet, he manages to reverse a bit, and once there's a small gap, waves us through
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    smiles all round, we're through

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    Until we realise that a pillion passenger has gone walkabout...I wait with her partner, and unfortunately we're rapidly swallowed up by the gridlock again

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    After a while, I come up with Plan B, which is remove the cases, carry them through (it's literally only 200 metres) and we'll then be able to squeeze between a couple of trucks

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    leave the cases somewhere safe

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    and then of course, everything started to move and we were scurrying back to the bikes, and trying to retrieve the cases as the other traffic went past.

    We managed it, as usual, lots of smiles from those around us - I could just imagine them thinking you can always rely on those mad foreigners to provide entertainment. :D

    the reason there's so much gridlock in this obscure village is easy to explain, it's the last stop on the Sacred Valley Railway before getting to this place, which needs no explanation (but which deserves a post to itself)

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    #42
  3. Paddygfw

    Paddygfw Adventurer

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    :lurk
    Great pictures....I have enlarged the pic of your plaits and can't find a grey hair:D
    #43
  4. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

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    No disrespect Paddy, but I think I'll get a second opinion...from my hairdresser:D
    #44
  5. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

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    Possibly the most eagerly anticipated sight in South America- Lost City of the Incas...Macchu Pichu

    We were staying in a village called Ollantaytambo, last train station on the track. We had an early morning start and wandered down to the station to see our train waiting

    Peru Rail's finest

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    We had seats near the front and so had a great view

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    Sometimes, you don't always want a good view when you see this approaching and you know that it's a single track rail line...:eek1

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    There was seatside service

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    We got off the train, onto a bus, then climbed a hill, rounded the corner...

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    and there it was

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    It's been quite a few years since I last made it here - that was on foot after five days of walking and camping on my own. (Hmm, maybe I should see if I can find one of my old photos from that trip and scan it to reproduce here)

    this time, I've got the group with me and things have been smartened up a bit.

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    My Dad upon seeing this next picture, enquired if I was in a Knobbly Knee Competition.

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    Lots of stone walls...

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    Llamas have been introduced,

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    but were a bit over-friendly at times
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    this shot would make a great caption competition
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    There's a small tropical garden area, where we were lucky enough to spot a hummingbird

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    A final goodbye from us all as we left this incredible place

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    #45
  6. Paddygfw

    Paddygfw Adventurer

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    You have everyone who's reading this RR wanting to go there I know I do:clap.How many people are with you and is everyone riding solo:ear?
    #46
  7. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

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    Hi Paddy
    I've got a group of 10 with me, British, Belgian, Romanian and Canadian. Two couples are riding bikes two up, the rest of the riders are solo. And so far they're all behaving themselves:D
    #47
  8. TarmacSurfer

    TarmacSurfer Adventurer

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    Awesome place! Nice RR keep it going :deal
    #48
  9. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

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    The following day found us saying goodbye to Ollantaytambo, I was suffering, jeez I was suffering, having somehow picked up food poisoning - yes, Miss Coates, Queen of the Iron Stomach was battling some nasty bacteria and oh dear the results were not pretty. You don't need photos, but I think you might get the picture when I say that I couldn't keep the Imodium (Lomotil) down to treat certain symptoms because I was vomiting so much. I warned my group, as I knew they would be following me along. lots of sympathy from them, sweeties that they are. The good news is that because I'm the only vegetarian I was the only one who got sick..dodgy quinoa dish.
    I set off riding very gingerly. And of course it turned out to be one of those days when there are lots of bends and curves, luckily, focusing on my riding took my mind off the pain, vomiting and worse! I even managed to take a couple of pictures,

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    I was last to leave the hotel, and when I stopped at a police checkpoint 55kms down the road I asked the officers about the other bikes- only to be told that NO bikes had been through that morning. Oh great, not only am I feeling ill but now my whole group has got lost! I wasn't in a fit state to go looking- not sure where I'd start to look as the Andes mountains are a pretty big area!!

    Finally my faster riders caught me up - with sheepish excuses about their lack of route finding.

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    Our hotel that night was a collection of cabanas beside a river, with its own chapel complete with, well, take a look for yourselves

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    I wasn't hallucinating, those ARE peacocks on the roof of the chapel.

    The next day feeling better, I start looking around me a bit more.

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    As we leave the mountains, I'm wondering if I have space for some souvenirs in my tank bag...
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    #49
  10. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

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    Just spotted this selection of pics in my folder- the journey back from Macchu Pichu to the village.

    We went down the hill to Aguas Calientes to get the train, stopped for a drink, and suddenly there was a load of noise. I stepped outside to see what was happening and this was the scene that met my eyes

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    A brightly dressed band and some bizarre dancers on the roof.

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    It got even more surreal on the train when the friendly host was replaced by this

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    and then the music started up and he was dancing and clapping along, and then a fashion show started in the train aisle.

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    This is all going to make British Rail seem very tame when I get back to England.
    #50
  11. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

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    Back to those mountain roads with llamas waiting at every sharp bend

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    The front riders had pulled up at a small restaurant perched on a mountain-side with several lorries out front. Inside it had a somewhat unusual d├ęcor

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    Notice the moth-eaten, bedraggled baby flamingo suspended from the ceiling

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    And then we peeked in the kitchen

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    Where's TheReaper? he can usually be relied upon to comment on all things health and safety in the catering departments.

    Then look a bit more closely and you'll spot the eagle which appears to be supervising the culinary preparations

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    #51
  12. TarmacSurfer

    TarmacSurfer Adventurer

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    I hope you all made it alright after that kitchen experience!! :eek1
    #52
  13. Paddygfw

    Paddygfw Adventurer

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    Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Food poisoning can be very debilitating . Hope everything goes well soon
    Paddy
    #53
  14. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

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    Thanks for the show of concern- you've done better than my Mum and Dad who just thought it was quite funny!!

    In fact I've just managed to dig out a picture from that day of the rubbish-strewn layby that I... :puke1 no, no, no actually I just really needed to pull over and :snore
    ... sleep.
    I'd been riding for several hours, feeling like shit and having to really concentrate on my riding, not only was it cold and rainy but we were at altitude, attempting to overtake unpredictable lorries on twisty roads, crossing mountain passes. I was exhausted and knew I needed to sleep. I promised myself that as soon as the altitude had dropped to 3000m or less (about 10,000ft) AND the temperature had risen to 10 degrees (don't panic, in Fahrenheit that's about 50 degrees) I would stop somewhere, anywhere.

    It seemed to take forever as I kept glancing at the screen to check altitude and temperature, finally those magical figures were reached and I started to look around. eventually a layby appeared and I pulled over.

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    Minutes later one of my fellow riders came past, I gave him a thumbs up to let him know everything was OK and then as soon as he was out of sight, I pulled off my helmet, and lay down on the ground in full bike gear and thermal balaclava with my gloves tucked under my head, within minutes, despite the steady rain that was pouring I fell asleep. Not the deepest sleep in the world, I think a part of me was conscious of the vehicles going past on the road just feet away. But I slept for a good half hour, and woke up feeling refreshed just as the sound of GS engines were coming down the hill. I jumped to my feet and was able to smile and wave to them whilst rubbing my eyes and shaking the rain off me. The GS Dry suit proved its worth, I was still dry. I changed my balaclava for a dry one and was soon back on the road and catching them up.
    #54
  15. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

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    Did you spot the local delicacy on the shelf in the restaurant? Yep, it's good old Inca Kola

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    Possibly the sweetest drink known to mankind and a big hit in Peru. I tried it on my first trip here and swore never again.

    Back on the road, fuelling up

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    Tuk tuks everywhere we looked in some towns, this is something else that's relatively new over here.

    Some great mountain roads that I was able to enjoy now that my sickness was well and truly past.
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    The landscape is starting to change

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    Cactus are lurking on every bend and the air has got drier. The temperature is rising, on this particular day it went from 2 degrees centigrade to 26 degrees.

    In the distance a large shape was looming...Cerro Blanco, getting closer it's easier to make out that it's the tallest sand dune in the world.

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    I've travelled this road twice previously and both times didn't see the dune due to misty conditions.
    I was waiting for my group to catch up and so decided to take a selfy with the dune in the background

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    The angle doesn't always come out right in a self-timed picture and you can barely see the dune. This was the best shot out of several that I tried (above), as you can see from the following sequence of shots.
    after I press the self-time button and I'm scrambling to get onto the small rock in the foreground and smile nicely for the camera

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    Back up on the road and I'm there as the others rode past and I got photos as they cornered or slowed down

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    I took off after them, one of those days when the riding is just fantastic and everyone is grinning from ear to ear at the amazing surroundings, great twisty roads and lack of traffic.

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    #55
  16. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

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    That evening we were buzzing in the bar, it had been such an exhilarating ride and we also had a birthday to celebrate

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    Peruvian Birthday Cake- - we went for large and Kevin the Geordie was delighted. We toasted him with wine and pisco sours.

    We'd arrived in Nasca, a dusty desert town with a major draw for tourists...the incredible lines in the desert. Best viewed from the air, I've seen them before, so packed everyone off to the airport to go up in light aircraft.

    They came back full of awe at the immense size of the designs and much talk was had about how they were created.
    Errm, I didn't actually get the photos from the others of the lines, but I'm sure someone could find one and post it up here to show those who don't know, what I'm talking about.

    Meanwhile, it has got very hot and as it's a rest day (once I'd done my paperwork) I grabbed a cold beer and did what any sensible person would do

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    I retired to the pool and took part in another knobbly knee competition!!!
    #56
  17. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

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    An early start found us bleary-eyed (or was that just the drinks from the night before?), in the hotel's rather rustic looking garage, getting the bikes out

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    The streets were quiet

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    as we headed out

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    The cactus on the edge of town standing sentinel

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    along a straight road

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    And into the desert itself

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    Where the waves of the Pacific wash up against the sand of the Nasca Desert

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    The early start had given us some respite from the intense heat and also meant the desert itself looked beautiful in the early light soon after dawn. We were headed south.

    Further on, the road started climbing

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    As we approached a series of incredible cliffs with a great road carved into the side, hundreds f feet above the ocean

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    We caught up with each other at various viewpoints

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    #57
  18. Paddygfw

    Paddygfw Adventurer

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    It's a beautiful place..your doing a great job with the pictures:clap:clap:clap
    #58
  19. Blue Icebreaker

    Blue Icebreaker Been here awhile

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    I see that all of you have standard tyres. How are they faring on the unpaved roads? No problems?
    #59
  20. picinisco

    picinisco Scottish Transplant

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    You have a hairdresser?
    #60