Christmas in the Andes

Kunstmann – das gute Bier – I’m sitting in La Calera in a restaurant with the name La Estacion, where they have german beer. For me a fresh jugo de frambuesa  (raspberry juice) is waiting to be consumed, while the Beatles are playing. And just some minutes ago I was invited by the owner of this place to have lunch with him. On top he is responsible for tourist and culture informations in this region.
While I’m enjoying my day off, I will let you know how I spent Christmas and the last few days.
La Noche Buena (Christmas Eve) I spent in Rodeo, with the two lovely owners of the place called Clandestino and Arved, a german traveller. We went out for dinner at a fancy place with good food and a dancefloor out of sand. On Christmas morning I had a relaxed breakfast with fresh bread before I went on cycling.

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Another Andes crossing, this time from around 1500m to the top of the pass Aqua Negra , 4735m. The first day I met wild horses and camped on 2700 meters. Me and my tent survived a hail thunderstorm, which was going down on on my little housing with an unbelivable loud noise.

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The next day I just cycled half a day to camp on 3900m, where it was cold, but not as cold as it would have been near the top.

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The highlight of the crossing arose during my third cyling day. It was amazing: ice and snow and magnific mountains surrounded me and when I crossed the top, the chilian side was even more beautiful. I was totally flashed by the beauty and when it became time to set up my tent I arrived at a lagune, where I found the best camping spot of my whole travel.

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I arrived in Rodeo, where I visited a Observatory  learned a lot about all the things which are million light years away from us, saw the ISS passing by and for the first time the cross of the south.

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My accommodation in Vicuña was owned by a woman who used to live in Stuttgart nearly 20 years ago. I found a facecloth on my bed and had a german breakfast with Christstollen and a small Rittersport choclate.

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There will always be a solution

Its about noon, more then 30 dregres, intense sun and a light wind, which will get stronger over the day. I’m sitting in a fancy bar next to the lake of Rodeo in Argentina, with an amazing landscape around me, the green water with the snowy andes in the background – I feel ready for Christmas surfing. Today and tomorrow I will spent the days here, away from the stress of the cities, where people try to get their last presents for family, friends and relatives, apart from cold temperatures (although this year seems to be the warmest ever due to global warming) and without any rain. I have some days off of cycling and I’m happy to practice some windsurfing!

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Looking back, the time between Salta and here were full of ups and downs, and I’m not just referring to my paths on the road, but also to tasks, which had to be solved.
One thing which occupied me was that I was running out of money, because my credit card was not working at the ATMs nor was it possible to pay with my VISA. But as I got to know during my travel: There will always be a solution as long as you believe in it. And so there was. After over a day of trying to find a solution, I finally got the proposal to try a western union transfer. I registered in the internet, transfered money, received the money in the local post office, so that finally I could rent the surf equipment.
Some days before at the bus terminal in Tucuman, people tried to steel stuff from my bag at the handlebar, but I noticed early so that nothing was stolen and the thieves left.
The third bad thing that happend, was the transport of my bicycle: I  bought a ticket and asked for a transport possibility of my bike. It was confirmed by the ticket seller but the bus driver declined, so that I was not allowed to take that bus. I changed my ticket, was told that this time my bike could go with the bus, but at 12:30 in the night there was again no space for my bike in the bus. So I spent hours of waiting in that bus terminal with the result that I had to find a hostel in the middle of the night. The next day I discussed with the people from the bus company andesmar, who were not willing to give me back my money! I was forced to wait until 5 oclock at the next day, when the shift of the guy started, who had sold me the ticket. Luckily he gave me back my money and I was able to find another company, where the bus driver was ok with the transport of my bicycle.
Very energy-sapping all the discussions, the waiting and hoping of a working transport. Traveling with the bus in Argentina is definitely not fun with a bike.
But travelling with the bike in the north of Argentina is definitely fun. From Salta I decided to take the road to Cafayate via Cachi, where I crossed a beautiful valley which went up 2200 meters to a pass where there is the entrance to the national park Los Cardones. I nearly ran over a snake, a kind of dear crossed my path and the mountains were primped in different colours and huge cactuses again.

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The second day I met up with Arved, a german traveller on his motorbike, who I already had met in Salta. The last few kilometers up  the hill he was pulling me up the mountain. We camped next to the laguna Brealito, had a swim in the lake while the last rays of the sun shine on the water, made a campfire and enjoyed the calmness of this place as well as the amazing ceiling with all its stars.

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On that altitude at that season the climate is dry and hot, so that my throat needed some water every few kilometers. On top of the heath the road from Cachi to San Carlos was not paved and offered a lot of unpleasant washboard. When I was back on the tarmac, a sea of white butterflies welcomed me and before I arrived in Cafayate I visited a vineyard and bought a bottle of white wine, which I shared with Arved in a hostel in Cafayate.

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From there we went to a canyon, close to the town, which we crossed half climbing half walking. Some goats showed us there climbing abilities, before we arrived at a first waterfall, where we jumped into the refreshing water!

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I left Cafayate with the bus, due to several narrations that the part down to Mendoza is not that interesting and to have more time in Patagonia. The bus story is already told and I was very relieved when I was finally in the bus to San Juan.

I want to cross the Paso Aqua Negra, so I headed north to San José de Jachal. The path trough another beautiful valley to Rodeo was just a half day trip and so I arrived in the calm village about noon.
I got to now some nice people which whom I spent some time with. Slackline, soccer, reading, hanging around and the my issue with the money dominated my last few days!

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Today 8 months of my travel have already passed! Time pass by very fast and this year was definitely the one I experienced a lot, met awesome people, saw beautiful places. But still I miss Germany sometimes, my family and my friends. Have some happy christmas days, enjoy the atmosphere, take your times to relax and reflect. I’m looking forward to see some of you next year!

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Sand, Salt, Rocks and Wind

San Pedro, a oasis in many regards after a week of tough cycling in the South of Bolivia. The famous route of the Lagunes on an average altitude of 4300 meters, without many possibilities of food and water supply, heaps of climbing, lots of strong winds, cold nights, intense sun, dry air and paths covered with sand and rocks. It was definitely the hardest section of my way down south so far. BUT, it was so worth it! Every single day the landscape gave me new energy! But let’s start in Oruro, where I met Sam again to take the train to Uyuni!

It was a beautiful travel trough on the flat altiplano. We saw a thousands of flamencos in the huge lake of Poopo, before the sunset atmosphere encased us with a wonderful play of colours.

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A interesting spot in Uyuni were the old trains whose shapes out of steel rust in the surrounding sand and create an special atmosphere especially during the light of a further sunset.

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We left to the Salar de Uyuni where we camped in the middle of nowhere on this huge white field of salt. It was very windy, so that we had to wait for the sunset again to put up our tents afterwards, when the wind was subsiding.

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We left the middle of the Salar, but camped another time on the salt, this time mixed with clay and therefor easier to mount our tents into the ground. In the night a sandstorm swept across our housings but both tents withstood the force of nature.

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In San Juan Sam decided to go directly to Chile, so I was on my own to proceed towards some days of adventure in the mountains of Bolivia. After some comperative easy kilometers on another plane salt lake I faced the first climb. It was horrible to ride, so that I had to push my bike several times. I first glimpse on what was coming in the next few days. I imagined to arrive at the short section of the main road but I ended up settle down for the night a few kilometers before.

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The second day I arrived at the first lake, Laguna Cañapa, where I observed the birds, flamencos and seagulls, before I cooked myself some mashed potatoes.

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For the night I arrived at the Laguna Hediondo where I asked to camp next to the Ecolodge de Los Flamingos. But instead I was offered to stay inside. They even provided me water and breakfast for free. Very nice people, so that I gave them my beani as a present when I left in the next morning.

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On my further way I saw another cyclist in the distance nd when I got closer I saw that it was Camille, a friend I’ve been hiking with near Cusco. He had a problem with its pedal, but first we cycled together and found a nice shelter to camp in the evening.

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To get out of the tent in the morning some motivation was always needed, cause the temperature at night and in theearly hours wasn’t that comfortable. During the day I passed some rock formations, one of the the árbol de piedras, a rock which looked like a tree.

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The way down to the laguna Colorada was very hard to ride, the destination close but it seemed not to get closer. But finally I was next to the lake, where the national park „Reserva National de Fauna Anadina Eduardo Avaroa“ started. Inbetween the day the Camille had further problems with its pedal, so that he arrived after me with one of the numerous trucks, which drove around the tourists.

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The pedal was fixed, welded by a mechanic and this in the middle of nowhere. After a night in the Refugio we started together, but after 10 kilometers the pedal brake again. So we had a last lunch together, before I went on climbing up the highest section of the Lagune route, while Camille went back to his mechanic.

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After another tough drive I arrived the geyser field. Steam was coming out of the earth and was blown away by a strong wind. Behind an abandoned house I set up my tent, with 4880 meters the highest point I ever camped on.

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The highest point I ever ride my bike followed the next morning, 4926 meters. After I reached the pass it went down to the Lagune de Chalviri, where a thermal bath waited for me. I directly rode my bike next to it and jumped in to relax. Two hours long I enjoyed the comfortable water and the nice view onto the Lagune.

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It was still early and so I decided to go on to the next highlight, the laguna verde and the laguna blanca. After another climb with headwind it went down again. Due to some sandy parts I was more sliding than riding down my bike. And when I arrived I was happy again to have found a nice spot to camp with a beautiful view over the Laguna Blanca.

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The Laguna Verde was just 2 kilometers away from my sleeping spot and at the time I arrived the outlook full of people. Some of them coriously started to ask me questions, below them as well other cyclists. And so again I felt like a wild animal or an mascot with whom you take fotos with. But the people were all friendly and took a foto of me.

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The last day in the south of Bolivia, heading to Chile and San Pedro de Atacama was less easy to ride. The wind already woke up in the morning and my imagination about the last pass was much more relaxed. On top my legs were quite tired after the last 6 days. The border was no problem again and finally I was on a paved street again. 2000 meters downhill sounded on tarmac sounded like a dream, but another strong head wind significantly prolonged the time to arrive in the Oasis of San Pedro de Atacama!

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Finally I arrived back in the civilisation, with all culinary amenities and a hot shower. It was a great ride and great motivation to do similar treks, apart from the main roads with significant sceneries around!

On the glacier of Huayna Potosí

After the volcano Cotopaxi in Ecuador, where David and I climbed to 5600 meters of altitude, it was time to start my second try to exceed the magic number of 6000 meters! Huayna Potosí with 6088m of altitude it just 30km away from La Paz and the ascent shouldn’t be that technical. But what I learned from the Cotopaxi experience was

After the volcano Cotopaxi (5897m) in Ecuador, where David and I climbed until a height of around 5600 meters of altitude, it was time to start my second try to exceed the magic number of 6000 meters! Huayna Potosí with 6088m of altitude it just 30km away from La Paz and the ascent shouldn’t be that technical. But what I learned from the Cotopaxi experience was that my body needs more time to get used to the altitude. Although I had no major problems on the glacier in Ecuador, I was close to the inner border of my physical fitness. Furthermore it was the first experience for Sam on that height and so we decided to climb step by step to give our bodies time. Another thing I learned was to have a close look on the equipment before booking a tour and so we spent over an hour in the tour agency and tried on pants, shoes, helmets, jackets, crampons and so on! The equipment was not brandnew and some parts were not in the best condition, but nothing what would impair our safety or comfort. And so we booked a 3 day tour and bought ahead the necessary things for the ascent.

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DAY 1:
In the Casa de Ciclistas in La Paz we were on an altitude of 3500m. The days before next to the lake Titikaka we were always between 3800m and 4350m, so the first aclimatization step was already accomplished. Because of a strike of the buses in the city, which blocked the streets in the whole city, we had to leave very early to leave the city. With the taxi the agency collected us from our accommodation and at their office we switched into a van to leave the city. On our way we heard that another group, who tried to leave later, was not able to get out of the center, so we were lucky. After leaving the city boundaries we went on a dirt road into the mountains towards the first refuge on 4750m. We were welcomed by a indigenous lady of the Amayram tribe. I was still quite tired and we still had time and so I first took a two hours nap in our shelter. Well rested we had lunch with a tasty vegetable soup and for me a vegetarian main dish with rice, egg, french fries and salad while Sam was having chicken instead of the egg. I was suprised that I was asked in the tour office about being a vegetarian – very considerate!
After the strengthening we accompanied by our host woman and her child to a nearby glacier where we met Adrian, our guide, who gave us a first briefing how to use the equipment. On our way we were walking to the clouds of a thunderstorm. The noise of the thunder was reechoing in the mountains and generated a mighty atmosphere. We arrived the glacier and got to know Adrian. The first few introductions where easy to learn and viable, the second part was new to me and more challenging. Sam and me had to learn how to overcome the steep face out of ice and subsequently a vertical ice wall. And although we will not face a vertical wall on our way to the top, we were happy to have gained that experience. After that lesson we went back to the refuge were we had an extensive meal in the afternoon and plenty of time to relax.

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DAY 2:
We got up at around 7:30 and had an extensive breakfast. Before  ascending to the second refuge on 5130m, we explored the surroundings of the first refuge cause there were still some more time left. For the water supply they constructed a canal from a upper lake, which is filled by glaciers. Furthermore the use all the glacier water to produce energy, so huge power grid transport the energy to La Paz and El Alto.

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At 10 a.m. we left, the weather was good, some sun and some clouds took turns. The equipment for the glacier in our backpack, as well as some food and the sleeping bag, we had to carry around 15 kilos up the mountain. The way was good to walk, the altitude bounded the speed but after two hours we arrived in Campo Alto! The day ended by playing the card games ‚Rikiki‘ and ‚Belotte ‚which were teached by group of belgium travellers. The atmosphere was very good under all the groups who wanted to climb to the top! At 7 o’clock everybody went to bed to gain energy for the next day.

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DAY 3:
At midnight a guide entered the bedroom by making the noise „bru bru bru“ to imitate an alarm and one by one everybody went on their feet! Somebody was playing a song on their cell phone and suddenly everybody were tapping in the rhythm of the song. It seemed as if everybody were excited to go up.
Sam and me were informed that we will have another guide for the ascent. Juan seemed to be a little tired at the beginning, cause he first forgot to get on his crampons and after he put them on, he left his gloves in the snow. Good start, I thought, but no further similar incidents happend. The way up was again taking ages – step by step we were walking up. In the dark the world of ice and snow around us as well as deep holes and slopes were not visible. Only the lights of the other groups and the alighted feet of Sam and the snow in front of me were able to be seen.

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Steep parts and nearly plane parts alternated. After around 4 hours we were going up on a steep ridge of maybe one and a half meters wide, where on both sides it was going down into the darkness. Leaving that behind it became to get lighter – the sunrise was getting closer until we could turn off our headlamps.

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The last part of the path was possible to see and with it the steepness of the last few meters to the top. Some groups were already inside that part, struggling to go up. Other groups already turned around and I also had my problems. I had to fight against a rising headache and while we had a break I was getting tired. The guide already asked if we should turn around but we were close and so Sam and me mobilized our last energy. The steepest part at the end was demanding everything of our endurance and concentration and I was again at a point to give up.
When I was finally reaching the top, I was so touched by the view and by the fact that I had really reached the top of Huayna Potosí, which is an insane 6088 meters high.

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We enjoyed the view for some minutes, but due to the rising temperatures we had to start the way back to the refuge. After 6 hours of such a hard climb we still had to stay concentrated for the descent and it appeared to become a very challenging way down cause due the sun the ice was starting to melt. This fact entailed that the crampons were full of snow and so the grip was getting less. Now we were able to see all the beautiful forms of the glacier, but also the steep slopes directly besides us. Reaching the ridge, the situation was extremely dangerous. We went down very slowly, removing the slippery snow underneath the crampons nearly every step. After another 3 hours we were happy to reach the Refugio. Here we had one hour to rest before we went down another 1 1/2 hours to the second refuge were the car to la Paz was already waiting.

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It was another amazing experience, but I guess I wouldn’t do it again. The view from the top is mind-blowing, but it does also demand everything of yourself, it’s definitely not healthy and also not without a risk!

Over the altiplano to La Paz

In and around Cusco I’ve spent heaps of time. The time in the town itself, Machu Picchu, Choquequirao and the development project in Quiquijana hold beautiful experiences. After the trek with Vincent and Camille, we went back to Cusco, where I met Sam for the first time. He wrote me several weeks before and revealed that he will cycle from Lima down south and that his way might cross mine. In the meantime we are traveling together since some days. But as well as Vincent and Camille, he still wanted to visit Machu Picchu and so I initially went on with my travel by my own! And at first I had to go back to Quiquijana, where I left my bike and some of my stuff. A last time in the Albergue Uñacha to say goodbye to the volunteers and the nuns. Due to the advanced day, I decided to stay another night in the accommodation of the volunteers.

The next day I was cycling uo next to the river towards the altiplano. The first night I was quite exhausted and the altitude made me feel tired. Only a few kilometers before the pass La Raya I needed to take a rest and finally set up my camp in a garden of some locals. The nights became colder due to the altitude of around 4000 meters but till now my equipment always provided me a warm and comfortable night. The highest point of my travel on my bike I reached in the morning, Abra La Raya with 4335 meters above the sea level.

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I’ve reached the altiplano and after some meters of descent the street was more or less plane. In Pukara I was allowed to stay in the garden of the police. When I was about to push my bike into the shade I didn’t recognize a little house with 7 little puppies inside and before I realized was was happening I felt the mouth of the mother dog around my ankle. The first time in my life I was bitten by a dog. Fortunately the dog didn’t bite that strong, so that only a small mark could be seen and I had no further pain, but I was a bit suprised by that incident. But not enough – during I my discover of the village and their ruins, the dog attacked my tent and left behind a hole in my outer tent, luckily on a spot where is not that fatal.

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On my way to Juliaca, the biggest city of the province Puno, I saw several Alpacas and Llamas as well as the Peruvian Train who connects Puno to Cusco.

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Juliaca itself was the next stop and another nest of chaotic traffic. Geovanni, a warmshower, who is having a Casa de Ciclistas hosted me and offered me a good place to save my picture in my cloud and to change my oil of my Rohloff, which needed to be changed after more than 5000 kilometers of riding. With a instruction video in the Internet it was not a big thing.

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In the evening I cooked with Geovanni while having a good conversation. A nice person, who is doing woodwork in his house and already hosted over 1000 cyclists in his house. From Juliaca it was just 40 kilometers to arrive Puno, next to the lake Titikaka. The town is not that beautiful, but it does have a nice vegan/vegetarian restaurant called the Loving Hut.
The floating island as well as the steady islands Amantani and Taquile were worth a tour from Puno and so I was in the harbour very early to catch one of the boats. The floating islands of he uros are very touristic but the history behind it is great and the construction of the islands as well. And so we stopped on one of island where president Ernesto explained us how the island is constructed. The tortora reed, which grows in huge amounts in the lake, is the basic element for the buildings, their traditional boats and the ground of the island. In the time of the incas the uros people used their islands as a refuge in case of attacks, nowadays just around 70 islands are left.

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On the boat I got to know two girls from America and one from England, with whom I was staying in a house of a local family on the island Amantani. After lunch we went up to the highest point of the Island, where the temple Pachamama was placed. Besides the nice view over the lake I got to see the most beautiful sunset of my life.

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The day I came back from the islands Sam and Camille arrived in Puno, but they were about to see the islands as well and so I was again goin on on my own. In Juli, a small village next to the lake, I found a perfect spot to camp directly next to the water. Sam, who missed the departure of the boats in the morning, decided to hitchhike to Juli too, so that we both camped next to the lake. But not enough – a guy from Uruguay showed up, traveling by walk and is already 4 years in the road. He was only having a backpack with his tent and some arts he sells in he road – crazy and amazing person. So he stayed as well next to us, so that it felt a bit like a camping spot. A hundred meter from our tent accumulation a french couple stayed in their van and invited us for breakfast.

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The next day I started my first cycling day with Sam and my last day in Peru. This day we were about to cross the border to Bolivia to reach Copacabana. And in contrast to Equador, where I had two flat tyres in the last two days, my tyres had not one flat tyre in Peru, so two months without the need to patch my bicycle tube. Most of the time we were riding next to the lake with a beautiful view. In the middle of the day we met Chase, an Australien police officer,  and Shima, a 65-years-old Japanese, whit whom we were cycling until La Paz. The border-crossing was again no problem, like it had been on all borders so far.

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Arrived in Copacabana we found a nice campsite, where they also offered beds, which were just some cents more expensive than the price for a tent, so that we weren’t that motivated to set up the tents.

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A nice concert in bar of a german and an australian musician and a trip to the Isla del sol were the highlights in and around Copacabana.

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As a multicolored bycicle group we left Copacabana through the mountains to the ferry over the lake Titikaka. The ferries were quite old, around 40 years old the captain was guessing and so it was like a little adventure to cross the water on that wobbly construction out of wood.

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Savely arrived on the other side in San Pedro de Tiquina, we met David, another cyclist from Australia. Due to the advanced time we decided to find a place to camp and set up our five tents next to each other on the rim of the lake.

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113 kilometers were left to La Paz and for Shima it was the longest distance ever, so that we started early in our last cycling together. Suddenly Sam warned me that something is wrong with my Ortlieb bag at the back and as I had a look I realized that one screw was missing and my bag was hanging down a bit. I first fixed it with a rope but later that day on a bad road inside a roadwork the bag was about to fall again. A second screw came off and got lost and so I had to fix the bag again, this time with a cable fixer, but on the last meters downhill into La Paz the plastic of the cable fixer  got broken, so that I decided to put my bag pack on my back and the Ortlieb side bag into the middle of my rack for the rest of the day. Here in La Paz, we stay in another Casa de ciclistas, where Christian, a half german welcomed us. Here we will spent some more days, time to find new screws to repair the bag, to discover the city and to talk to all the other cyclists from all around the world, who are staying as well in the Casa de Ciclistas. But as another highlight of my trip, Sam and me decided to climb Huayna Potosí, a 6088m high mountain, 30 kilometers from La Paz.

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Choquequirao

Choquequirao, the small sister of Machu Picchu, doesn’t get so much tourist attention, indeed there were only 3 more persons around us when we visited the place. So it felt, as if we had the ruins on our own. No officers who tell you were you are allowed to go ( in Machu Picchu there are plenty of them), rathermore a pleasant silence without a mass of tourists. Choquequirao was also one of the last bastions of resistance and refuge of the Inkas and therefore an important historical place.

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I’ve already left Cusco to stay to nights in Quiquijana, 70 kilometers in the south of the city, when Vincent, a Canadian cyclist ask to join him to do a trek. And so I left my bike in this little village to return to Cusco. The bus took two hours and just cost 5 soles. Of course I took the chance to have another meal  in „Green Point“, the vegan restaurant with the amazing lunch offer. There I met Vincent and Camille, a french cyclist, who were also in to do a trek. We had to choose between Ausangate, Choquequirao and a tour into the jungle. Before I received the recommendation from a local to do the hike of Choquequirao and it was also the easiest considering the organization, so the decision was taken.

We left Cusco very early at around 5 a.m. to start the hike from Cachora in the late morning. The weather was beautiful, maybe to good, because the heat of the sun made the hard trek of Choquequirao not easier. After a just a few kilometers and the first descents, Vincent figured out that the rented shoes had a metal thing in the front, which let him suffer while going down. This escorted him half of our tour and we had to slow down to made it endurable for him. And after a rather flat part it was going down the rest of our first day. Still not crossed the Apurimac river we found a beautiful campsite to put up our tents. The view was breathtaking, the sunset behind the mountains opened up a colourful sky followed by the bright shining stars!

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The next day we reached the river, the sun was burning down on us, which made the climb on the other side of the river a big challenge. 1500 meters uphill. We had to break several times but we were willing to reach the campsite close to Choquequirao to discover the place in the morning. On our last kilometers, we met two other cyclists, one of them carrying a second pair of shoes with him – the salvation for Vincent you suffered a lot under his bad shoes. The place to camp was another time blessed with an amazing view into the valley, so that Camille and me enjoyed taking pictures again.

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Day 3, climbing up the last few hundred meters to Choquequirao. Still tired of the last day we were dragging ourselves through the ruins inbetween which we had to overcome some other ascents and descents. But it was worth all the way. Nearly alone on that hill we discovered the remains of the culture of the Inkas. After some hours we started our way back, which started with a long way down back to the river! This time Vincent was much faster, so that we reached our last campsite of the trek early. Totally tired we cooked and watched the stars again. The temperatures in the evening were just perfect, but the Mosquitos were not our friends during all the days.

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The last day we had to go up another 1500 meters again, but we arrived early on the top and catched a taxi, who took us back into direction Cusco.
A beautiful, but also a hard trek to visit Choquequirao!

Here are some facts about how to get there from Cusco: there is a bus station in the street Arcopata, which is in the north of the historical center, Here small buses leave from 5 o’clock in the morning to Curahuasi (15 Soles and about 1:45 hours of driving). From Curahuasi you can take another small bus or a taxi to Cachora (15 Soles and about 45 minutes). In Cachora there is the possibility to go to close to the Mirador de Capuliyoc to save about 10 kilometers of the trek. For the way back the prices are the same.

From the Reservado National de Pacaras to Cusco

70 km trough the desert until Ica, road nearly not visible and instead of sand boarding I slided down the dunes until my bike was so deep in the sand, that I made a controlled somersault over my handlebar. The way along the coast was beautiful and I passed one nice beach after another. But the riding on my bike was very tough.The sand was most of the time very hard, so posible to ride in but it changed frkm time to time. On top some dunes were so steep, that I had tk push my bike. Before I went inland to reach Ica, I had a last view at the Pacific. I observed the flourishing life of the ocean, seal and birds were chasing after the fishes, pelicans and seagulls were gliding over the water. It was a harmonic view.

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The inland road was clearly visible but the waves on the ground made the riding very jumpy, so that I was proceeding very slow. And slowly I was running out of water under the burning sun without the possibility to have some shadow. For 2 hours not any car passed me, but finally two and what did they offered me, yes, water! As well my food was going to end, but at least I found some shadow next to a tall gate. I sat down, but finally I heard a voice and a stone crashing into the gate from the other side. The owner of that farm was afraid that I would rob him, but as he saw my bike he calm down and offered me food and something to drink. Finally it ended up with a foto with him and it’s crew!

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I arrived in the Oasis of Huacachina which is famous for its dunes where you can do sandboarding. I decided to have enough of sand and followed an invitation of Berly, a warmshower in Ica. He took me out for a free wine and Pisco tasting as well as a to short tour to the production process. Afterwards we visited another winery, which was over 200 years old, where we were offered more drinks.

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From Ica to Nasca a ride of two days were waiting for me, but as I took a picture of a burned car, a Land Rover with a german number plate stopped in front of me. Ecki, a 58 old guy from Waiblingen asked if he could give me a ride and since the part of the Panamericana was going through the boring desert, I followed the invitation and saved one day.

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After we found our accommodations in Nasca we met for dinner and had a good conversation.

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By accident I took the key of my room in Ica with me, so I had the chance for my first experience in sending a letter. As I arrived in the post office they wanted to have to copies of my passport and an envelope was also not available. Until now I don’t know why the asked me for these copies.
The way to Abancay included 8500 meters of going up on a distance of 400 kilometers without many possibilities to receive provisions.
So I decided spontaneously to take the night bus. The ticket was 60 soles including my bike, that what I was told when I puchased the ticket. They even had a look on my bike if it will fit into the bus and told me that it would be no problem. In the evening the situation changed and they wanted me to pay 20 soles more for my bike. But  after complaining I didn’t have to pay more. The bus was 1 1/2 hours late but finally we where on the way. During the night some people throw up due to the up and downs up to a height of over 4000 meters.
The next three days to Cusco included another 5000 meters of climbingwith some nice views frm the tol of the mountains. I enjoyed Mango ice cream, met parrots and dugs and spent one night in the garden of a family in the countryside of Limatambo.

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