I only have more reason to follow through with this now, so let’s recap my past few days.
I was in Chivay, Peru, checking out the famed Colca Canyon on the way to Cusco. I should probably note that I didn’t end up going to Ica like the original plan in case anyone was paying close attention. Instead of going to Ica up along the coast, I decided to make a more direct shot for Cusco to save some time.
So there I was in Chivay, still short on time regardless. Cusco was about 7 hours away and I was determined to make it that same day. However, it would require me driving 8 hours just another 2 days later to make it to Puno on time. Combined with forcasted rain and plenty of warnings from the locals about the road ahead, I was seriously debating driving straight to Puno (only 4 hours away) and flying to Cusco and back. Struggling with the decision, I ultimately wasted a couple hours in Chivay before deciding. A plane was too expenisve and after all I set out to travel south america by motorcycle and damnit that’s what I am going to do. So just before noon I was off for Cusco, faring dirt and gravel roads winding through the Andes the entire day. Four long hours later I pass through a town called Espinar, supposdely only two hours from Chivay. Here I realize that Google Maps had seriously overestimated the road quality and speed limit, enforced not by cops but by unlabeled cliffs threatening to swallow you at every turn. And Google, there were a lot of turns. Even worse, while I had enjoyed a rain free day thus far, up ahead lightning pounded the mountains under a viel of black clouds. With 5-6 hours until Cusco and no cell service, I got a hotel and mostly bunkered in. I walked around town for a bit in search of dinner and ran into a festive parade of school children marching through the streets. A highschool marching band led a pack of young children waving candle lit figurenes, yellow minions the domanting choice. Staying to watch just long enough to feel cultured but not long enough to be called a pedophile, I ate a small dinner and went back to the hotel. Asleep by 8pm, the plan was to wake up before sunrise and get to Cusco by noon the next day.
Up and out as planned, the skys were clear and the morning air was crisp. The first half the way the roads were the same quality as before though the mountains only got taller. When I merged onto E3, a major (the only thing that makes Peruvian roads “major” is pavement) road, I covered twice the ground in half the time. I got to Cusco around noon, stopping at a cafe to eat and figure out where I’d spend my night. Unfortunately the first thing I found out was about Stefan passing. I managed to keep myself composed until I got directions to my hostel and left quickly. Recommended by people everywhere I traveled prior, I got a room at Loki Hostel, one of the more famous back packer hostels in Cusco. The hostel is an amazingly repurposed Incan building with several courtyards right inside the historical district. Better yet, it was a real hostel with foreigners, meaning I was able to talk and hangout with people my age (okay generally 5 years older) who also spoke English. Keeping my mind off the days news, I made the most of happy hour, bought my tickets for the next days Machu Picchu visit, and then hung out with other travellers at the bar.
I’ll post how day 15 went soon, trying to split things up a little.