You can eat a three course meal at street level in Peru for less than $2. You can eat at sidewalk level for less than $4. You can eat at tourist level for much more, the choice is yours. Entree, soup, main course, coffee and desert (pie) for $3.50. It works for me and that is just for lunch. A lunch meal like that can allow you to skip dinner.
The sun peered into the valley slit and put a bright shine on the new day. A few miles down the road I came into a small town. I hadnīt eaten since early afternoon so it was time for some food.
Fried eggs, bread and some tea matte con cocoa sounded good. It turned out to be a fried egg sandwich. That was a pleasant surprise. I was nicely settled into my breakfast when a Tour-Bus pulled up and disgorged its contents. Turns out everyone gets out here for a pee, a poke, a stretch and a bite to eat. This was a bus from Lima to Cuzco...20 hours...for about $25. Sounds like a good deal to me.
The third person into the restaurant was a middle aged lady. She scanned the empty tables, discarded them in a glance and settled in at mine. OK, with me lady! Whatīs on your mind? We chatted for the duration of the bus stop. Her sister joined us a few minutes later. What a pleasant start to the day. The bus tooted its horn, they hurried to gather up their goods and then decided they wanted a picture of the three of us beside the bike. The bus started to roll as we posed for the camera. Snap! Run! Goodbye! See you in Cusco...maybe.
Down the road the grain harvest was in progress. I rounded the corner to find the road covered with a two foot thick mass of maize, a heavy headed grain not unlike wheat but with a much larger head. I braked hard and swerved to the right to avoid what looked like a very slippery encounter.
Once passed I turned around and rode back to look at the operation. What the heck I figured. Why not help them out. I bounced across the grain stalks as the farmers waved and cheered in delight. I turned around again to talk to them. They responded in turn by offering to share a cup of 'chicha' with me. I had never had this weird, ancient, partly fermented Quechua drink before...and probably won't again. My stomach thought so too and rumbled in protest the rest of the day.
All day I worked the sides of the tires. These mountain roads in Peru provide some of the absolute best riding and scenery in the world. This was no exception. I poked along enjoying the sights, working the gears and never getting much beyond 3rd. Traffic was minimal even as I approached Cuzco. Then in the last 40 km I dropped onto a broad valley and the road straightened out allowing a quicker pace.
Cuzco has become a big city, burgeoning with tourists, peddlars, thieves, beggars, businesses and the like. I worked my way to the Plaza de Armas and then settled with my foot on the curb, to peruse my Lonely Planet, Peru book for a place to stay. I had hardly opened the book when a man charged across the wide road, waving at me. This is not uncommon as in a lot of these cities businesses have spotters who hang out around the zocalo looking for a business opportunity.
This was not the case. Mario was from Argentina and a fellow biker. After introducing himself he offered to take me to the place he was staying, only one block off of the zocalo and only $10 a night with secure parking. It was worth a look. Ten minutes later I was checked in and enjoying a matte tea con cocoa.
Cuzco, the ancient Inca capital, the Tahuantinsuyo, the Center of the Universe. It is now a city of balconies. After the Spanish destroyed most of the Inca architecture they built upon the stone foundations and erected their own buildings in a fashion they had become accustomed to.
The trouble with Cuzco is there are too many tourists. Tourists bring out the worst in people. The city is literally crawling with street urchins, beggars, peddlars and any other word that can be used to describe these predators. They detract from the whole experience as one cannot even enjoy a stroll without having to beat off a dozen or more of these urchins. A few adds to the experience...one for every tourist is distracting.
They are persistent beyond stupidity. You can get your shoes shined, get up and walk three steps and another shoeshine boy is hounding you for a shoe shine. Go figure!Posted by Robert Bielesch at May 01, 2006 10:17 PM GMT
Our veteran travellers share their tips (and great stories) for staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure.
"A fantastic, informative and inspirational DVD."
"It's brilliant - thank you very much!"
Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'ONTHEROAD' on your order when you checkout.
Next HU Events
- Canada West: Aug 21-24
- USA North Carolina: Sept. 4-7
- France Mini: Sep 5-7
- Canada Ontario: Sept. 11-14
- NEW! UK - Haggs Bank: Sept. 19-21
- USA California: Sept. 25-28
- Aus Queensland: Oct 3-6
- Aus Perth: Oct 10-12
- Aus VIC: Oct 24-26
- NEW! Aus NSW: Oct 31-Nov 2
- NEW! South Africa: Nov 13-16
- NEW! HUMM Morocco: May 13-16, 2015
What others say about HU...
"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA
"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada
"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia
"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders
10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!
NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!
Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!
What turns you on to motorcycle travel?
Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!
New to Horizons Unlimited?
New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!
Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.Read more about Grant & Susan's story
Membership - help keep us going!
Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.
You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.
Books & DVDs
All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.
MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!
Story and photos copyright © All Rights Reserved.
Contact the author:
Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.
Hosted by: Horizons
Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!