I flew down to Cusco and met up with a few friends that have been riding the ride as well. I hired myself a little 250cc Honda of some sorts and we set out the following morning for a little town called Santa Theresa about 200km away. The ride was fantastic; the roads wound their way up 4.316km into the sky. It was fairly cold at the top but heading down the other side was worse. The rains came a calling which made the roads nice and slippery for my little Honda. Eventually we came out of the clouds and reached a more tolerable altitude before stopping for lunch and fuel in some little village along route. I had to fill the Honda with gas from a barrel , it only has a 3 gallon tank compared to the 8 gallon on the BMW which requires regular fueling. After this little town the roads really got interesting, they clung to the sides of the cliffs and had shallow river crossings every few km’s. When we reached the little town of Santa Theresa we headed for some hot springs to warm up, strolled around town and watched the local butcher hack a calf to bits on a wooden block outside his shop before settling down for a nice dinner.
The next morning we left the bikes behind and took a mini bus to the local hydro electrical plant. Along the way you could see the engineering that went into powering this part of the country. The Peruvians drilled tunnels in the mountains, inserted turbines and diverted the rivers inside to turn the turbines and create the power. All fairly ingenious in my book. From here we walked 9km along the train tracks to the foot of the mountain containing Machu Picchu, to a town a little town called Aguas Calientes. We spent the night here relaxing and getting ready for the climb to the summit. We left at 4:30am for some unknown reason and walked up the million steps to the top. Why we walked I’ll never know, it was the stupidest thing I’ve done since swimming in the Atlantic on the first of January. The walk was a killer, we were told that if we walk up we will be there before the crowd but as soon as we reached the gate exhausted, the busses started to arrive with cheery people who had a nice night’s sleep and a spin to the top.
Machu Picchu is some site for sure; we entered into the ruins in thick cloud cover. Soon after entering the sun came up and over the “Sun Gate”, the clouds began to disperse and we were greeted with a spectacular view. It’s such an amazing place I couldn’t do it justice with words so there are heaps of photos at the bottom of this blog entry. We spent about 6 hours up there, 4 hours walking around and 2 hours napping on one of the terraces above the city before getting the bus back down to the village below.
I decided to get the train back to Santa Theresa as I had enough walking for one day. The train was at 1:30 so I had plenty of time for diner before setting off on the 9km train journey. When I went to get a ticket I discovered this one carriage train was full and they would not let me on. There was plenty of room to be honest but they don’t allow standing, I offered to hang off the side but they would not allow this so I had to walk the 9km of tracks alone. It was actually quite enjoyable to be honest; I couldn’t stop humming the tune from the movie “Stand by me for some reason”. I reached the power plant just a one of the workers was driving home and asked him for a lift. He agreed to give me a lift for 1 soles ( 30 Cent ) and off we went along the hanging roads. We chatted about various subjects, him in some crazy language and me in English. When we reached my lodge I gave him 20 soles for his trouble. His face lit up, to me this is 6 dollars to him it was a fortune. I was glad to make him happy and he left with a huge grin. I hopped on my bike and headed for the hot springs to soak my tired body before dinner. We were all in bed asleep for 8pm that night.
The next morning at 7am we headed off back for Cusco. Along route Kerman took his first spill of his trip and ended up sliding through a river. He was fine but a bit wet. His handle bars were a little twisted but he was able to fix them easily. We rode through the Andes for a few hours on these dangerous roads. I came across a bus that has slipped over the edge one time. I wouldn’t have liked to have been a passenger on that ride. I reckon it would have been your last. Its hard to make out in the photo because of the clouds but the bus is about 100 meters below the road. I rode on more carefully after seeing that before stopping for lunch in a nice little town. We were kept amused by the local cops trying to get the Peruvian flag down from their flag pole. It was a comical affair. We gave them a round of applause when they finally succeeded a half hour later. We then took a dirt road over the mountains and back to Cusco. The night was spent in an Indian restaurant and the Norton rats Pub.
I fly back to Lima to pick up my bike today. I got an email last Friday telling me not to bring the computer as they had fixed the broken wires that had caused the problem. Why they could not have found the broken wires before telling me to order an 800euro computer I’ll never know. These wires have cost me a fortune but I’m hoping to get a refund from BMW at some stage. I’m not going to let this incident ruin my trip, I’m going to put it behind me and move on. I’m hoping to be back on the road with my bike tomorrow heading for lake Titicaca.