24 September- PUNO
We stayed in a great place- Casa Nostra in Yanque in Colca Canyon and had a great thermal spring all to ourselves and saw many birds souring the thermals.
Currently we are in Puno in Southern Peru on Lake Titicaca at 3855m high- 165km long and 60km wide. We are off to Bolivia today.
We have really enjoyed Peru and are quite sad to be leaving, but looking forward to more adventures.
Here are a few things that we found unique and interesting about Peru:
- The ancient civilisations going back many thousands of years with many secrets unsolved ie Nasca Lines and Machu Picchu.
- Lots of the houses are made of mudbricks and the people are generally very poor, but there is not much begging- they are very simple, but proud people.
- There are pre Inca and Inca ruins and tombs scattered everywhere in the very dry desert that runs right down the coast of Peru- 2500km long.
- Along the Andes there are many volcanoes (some quite active) and many quaint maintain (pueblo) villages.
- The altoplano is a vast plain at 3500m high running the length of Peru between the Andes Range and The Amazon Jungle.
- There are many fake coins and notes which the locals think they can easily dispose onto unsuspecting travellers! Once we filled up with fuel and got 4 fake coins in our change. It was so funny telling the local that we knew they were fake and would not accept them!
- The food was surprisingly good withMenu del dia (menu of the day) costing US$1 for a 3 course meal with great thick soups!
- There are no road rules (not apparent to us anyway) and everyone honks their horns continually. There are not many road signs, so we have to ask people continuously donde esta...? (where is...?).
- Everything is quite cheap, except fuel at US.85c/litre. We have got off the beaten track with the motorcycle and avoided dangerous bus stations and seedy parts of town and had some unique culural experiences as a result. Patrick was right travelling by motorcycle is way safer and much more fun than travelling by public buses.
- The Peruvians now realize the great benefits of tourism for themselves and their country and greet tourists with friendly and open arms. It is a fun and easy country to travel in with the only problems being pickpockets (which we havent experienced).
- There is an amazing similarity with Nepal- with the physical appearance of the people and their traditional dress and the geographic features of the country and the type of basic housing.
We will ´Talk´ to you from Bolivia!!
16 Sept 2002- Arequipa
We have just downloaded our camera, so photos finally for those that dont know what our bike looks like!!
Well the Nasca lines were amazing. We went to a few museums to find out what they are and no-one knows for sure- its a mystery- drawings in the Peruvian Desert so large they are only visible by air!! There were also thousands of three thousand year old mummies burried and lots of grave robbing going on. See photo of Pat 'playing' with some skulls we found on the ground!
Arequipa is one of the prettiest cities in Peru and probably our favourite. It has cobblestone streets and fine Spanish buildings made out of a pearly white volcanic material similar to sandstone. Arequipa also has clear skys with the average temperature at 25C. There are heaps of museums, churches and a massive convent that had hundreds of nuns living isolated in it for 400 years before they opened it up to the public.
Close up shot of our bike.
We met up again with John and Annette from England travelling on 2 BMW motorbikes. We all went for a ride with a lovely local family we met - 5 motorcycles in all - it was a top day, see photo.
Tomorrow, we are off to Colca Canyon, which is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon. It is a great place to see condors, which is Peru's national symbol. Then off to Bolivia via Lake Titicaca.
The honeymooners in front of our beachfront cabin in Equador with the bike nearby.
Five motorcyclists get together for a day ride in Arequipa. Patrick is far left, looking dashing in red on a Yamaha, of course; then Grandpa and Grandson on a Harley; Dad, daughter and Mum on a Honda Africa Twin; John Green on BMW and Super Grandma on another Harley!! Note: even the kids came too!! Top day with a local family, very friendly. You can imagine the looks we got when we drove through the countryside!!
Patrick riding through river in Vilcabamba in Equador.
Belinda and 'Miss Adventure' (the bike) in the Peruvian Andes. Note: the knee protection, bright hey!! Safety first Mum!!
Belinda and Patrick at a lake in the Cordillera Blanca Mountains in Peru. Note the glacier in the background, Pats haircut and no Pat hasn't turned into a shorty!!
Patrick and Miss Adventure (the Bike) in the Peruvian Andes.
Mika, Dalmaris, Belinda and Patrick in the Iron House built by Mr Eiffel (who built The Eiffel Tower) in Iquitos, which is the town on the Amazon River with no roads leading to it. We first met Mika in Cairns, he is our inspiration as he has been travelling by motorbike around the world for 3 years now. We also met up with Mika in Lima (the world is a small place!!)
Patrick with a couple of skulls he found in the Peruvian desert near Nasca. Note the skin and the hair still on the skull!!!! (no its not Belinda!!)
5 September 2002
We are now in Pisco, which is 200km south of Lima. We stopped off at a surfing beach 52km south of Lima and enjoyed sleeping to the noise of the surf in our ocean front cottage. It is a Greek style village with a sheltered sandy bay and we had the place to ourselves as it was a week day and off season.
Most of Perus coastline is very dry desert, the houses are very basic and it rains so seldom lots of poor houses dont seem to have a roof!!! There was not a plant to be seen for 100km!
Today we went on a boat tour to Isla Ballestas which is supposed to have the highest density of bird life in one spot in the world!! Pat was in paradise as he loves birds of all varieties!!! and loves looking at them!!! We saw over half a million within the space of an hour. Belinda got impatient with the bus driver and took comand of the bus and drove it out of the village, with a bus full of tourists. Everybody was laughing, including the locals and the driver. One man asked Patrick where we were from and he said ¨why is it always the Australians that do crazy things¨.
Tomorrow, we are off to see the famous Nasca lines.
1st September 2002
We are now settled into Lima life. Lima is the capital of Peru and it is a big, polluted, crazy drivers sort of a town. Most people hate it here. We have been here 3 times now and love it. We have found a great place that is like a home away from home in one of the beach suburbs, called Barranco.
The backpackers is called "The Point B&B" and you can check out their website at www.geocities.com/the point_peru/ or call on (51-1) 247 7997.
It is so laid back and 'chilled', we find it hard to move on!!!
We have done some maintenance on the bike- put on the new tyres that we bought with us from Canada, changed the oil and put on new brake pads. The bike is running really well.
We will head south in the next few days and then onto Bolivia, where it is very cold!!!
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