Hello dear blog reader and please accept my appology for the late update. Traveling can be so time consuming and doesn’t leave time for writing the blog. We are in Quito now and having a few days rest so that I can finally tell you about our trip through Peru. We entered Peru at Titicaca lake and this was the first time that we had problems at the border. The immigration was easy – as usual and all was done in a matter of minutes. But when it came to the custom clearance for the bike we got stranded. Apparently we didn’t had the right insurance for Peru and without an insurance issued by SOAT – a car insurance broker in Peru, the bike was not allowed in the country. So the only option – as it seemed – was to abondon the Penguin at the border, take our luggage off and stay in the first town after the border to sort out the insurance. Luckily there was a lady who could give us the insurance – even on a Sunday – so next day. We found a VERY cheap hostal just above the store that would issue us the insurance and decided to stay for the night. I had to go back to the border to pick up the rest of our luggage. When I got back the “big boss” of the custom bureau just arrived as well, looked at me - then looked at the bike and said – you look very trustworthy so just take the bike and buy an insurance as soon as you come to Puno. SURE THING! So one more trip back to the hostal to get all the documents and get the Penguin through the paperwork. While I was waiting for the custom officer to put everything into their computer system the guy who first told me that there is absolutley NO way to get the bike into Peru without insurance gave me a very valuable tip: He said if the cops stop us all I should say is “no comprendo” just repeat this for 2 minutes and they will let you go!!! South America’s burocracy is fantastic. We decided not to stay in our cheap hostal and drove instead to the prebooked hotel in Puno. The next days we cought up with Pascal again – our friend from Switzerland and headed towards Cusco – the old capital of Peru.
Cusco is on 3,300m altitude and by now we are well used to the lack of oxygen. The Penguin doesn’t seem to have any problems with the lack of oxygen. On our trip we pretty much follow the Andes mountain range and like that we hardly get below 2,500m altitude but get almost daily over 4,000m. After wandering the streets of Cusco and being amazed about the precision the Incas built the walls around town (it might have been alians after all) we decided to head to the Sacred valley of the Incas and to Machu Picchu. It seems in Peru you can’t turn a stone around without it says underneath “Made by Incas” The Inca sites are everywhere and giving the fact that they ruled this area for only 100 years before the Spanish almost wiped them out – this is VERY impressive. We headed up to Aguas Calientes which literally means hot water due to a geothermal hot spring in the town. Aguas Calientes is the gateway to Machu Picchu and as you can imagine it is super touristic. The restaurants are mostly overpriced for what they offer but this is a place where you can get the entrance ticket to the ruins for 150 Peruvian Soles or about 40,- Euros. Machu Picchu itself is full of tourists – no doubt and I was very sceptical to begin with when I saw the amount of people cueing for the busses to get you to the entrance - but it is really worth a visit – I would say it is a must visit when in South America! We thought we will be there for a few hours and ended up until almost sundown. The next day it was time to head back to the sacred valley. Siri decided to take the train back to Ollantaytambo – which is a very scenic train ride. Pascal and me took the bikes back after we walked along the railroad tracks for 12 km to Santa Teresa where we left the bikes. After another night in Ollantaytambo we headed back to Cusco. For Pascal this was the northern turning point on his journey and he headed south again from here. He was a great riding companion and we are looking forward to see him again in the autumn in Thailand. We took the road further north and reached the small town of Tarma. Tarma used to be one of the strong hold of the 1970’s terrorist group “Shining Path”. The Shining Path was a Peruvian revolutionary organization that endorsed Maoism and employed guerrilla tactics and violent terrorism. Its stated goal was to replace the bourgeois democracy with a "New Democracy". With the capture of the founder and leader of the group Abimael Guzman in 1992, activities of the group sharply declined and today it mostly seized to exist. The terror that still exists in Peru today though is the street dogs – especially when traveling on a motorbike! Dogs bit me twice – once I got attacked by a whole group of wild dogs in a sharp turn where I had no chance to speed up, the other time I even stopped to avoid the dog jumping on the bike while driving. The dog decided then it might be a good idea to bite me since we stopped. Luckily my Bike pants are Kevlar reinforced and so the teeth didn’t manage to penetrate my skin. However – dogs in Peru are a real nuisance at best and can be seriously dangerous when on a bike. The other danger in Peru is the drivers! If in other countries around South America drivers might be suicidal but in Peru they are homicidal! The way they overtake is purely criminal and I suppose there are too many male hormones on the loose. The other explanation I have is that the Peruvians are watching too much Fast and Furious movies or think they are all Dakar rally pilots – just not with the same powered vehicles and certainly not the same driving skills. But despite those perils Peru is an amazing beautiful country, which offers some breathtaking and adventurous roads. We met some really friendly and lovely people in Peru and are looking forward to come back already.
The next blog update will be something I promised long time ago – our equipment list. Stay tuned and thank you for reading. Please feel free to share this blog.