We were joined in Peru, for three weeks, by Paddy’s parents who explored some of the country’s amazing sites with us, as well as acting as our support crew on the hilly stretch from Cusco to Nazca. Here are their thoughts on their time with us.
Our trip to Peru really began when we arrived in the ancient Inca capital of Cusco and met Laura and Paddy at the Casa de Mama hostel. Both bikers looked leaner and fitter than when they left six months ago. It was wonderful to see them looking so happy.
Words or pictures cannot begin to describe the scale of the geography of the Andes. As we drove 1,100 km from Lima to Cusco we realised how misleading our Michelin map had been. What we thought was the high plateau of the central Andes was it fact a series of deep valleys and high ridges with innumerable hairpin bends in the road dropping from 14,000 feet to 7,000 feet before climbing back up again. We were shocked at the immensity of the task that the bikers have been tackling for the last months.
Our time together in Cusco let us forget the rigours of the journey. An elegant city centre built by the Spaniards on the foundations of the noble Inca civilisation, it had all one could want. Wonderful cathedrals, interesting ancient ruins, good food, refreshing Pisco Sours and even an Irish pub called Paddy’s.
Then onward to the jewel in the crown of Peru: Machu Picchu. The lost city of the Incas is truly magnificent. Arriving there after an early start, a two hour drive along the Sacred Valley of the Incas and a wondrous 90 minute train journey along deep valleys under precipitous cliffs we arrived at the foot of the mountains which hide the ancient city. The scary bus ride up to the city was rewarded by the stunning vista of Machu Picchu. Being a relatively quiet time of the year we were able to wander around without too many other tourists to trouble us. Fascinating and regal, wonderful and beautiful – words cannot capture the awe and wonder which fills one when one sees the city.
Playtime over for the bikers, they set off for the next major town along the Andes, Abancay. We meanwhile headed the other way, and being older and wiser than the cyclists, we took a luxury train to Lake Titticaca. More wonderful scenery and a bout of altitude sickness summed up our journey while heroic climbs and descents were the order of the day for P and L.
Some days later we met the bikers in Abancay – and then over the following days we escorted them across hundreds of kilometres of mountain ranges, until the final descent towards the Pacific. Wild llama, alpaca and doe eyed vicuna watched impassively as Laura and Paddy powered past over the barren high desert. By the time we got to Nazca we were exhausted – just through the actions of pushing the accelerator and brake pedals of our hire car.
Nazca provided us with our final Peruvian spectacle – a flight in a six seater Cessna 206 over the mysterious Nazca Lines – no room to describe these colossal extraordinary ancient workings here – Google them to learn more!
Then fond farewells as we took our road back to Lima. We were so lucky to share Laura and Patrick’s great adventure for just two weeks. Only by seeing them for ourselves on their amazing Odyssey has the size of their undertaking been made real for us.
Paddy’s folks, also known as Kevin and Linda.