Meeting fellow cyclists

Trip Start Oct 16, 2012
Trip End Apr 20, 2013

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Flag of Peru  ,
Tuesday, February 12, 2013

We happily hit the road in the morning knowing that we had at least an hour of downhill to start the day off.  We whizzed down the paved road, to the valley floor, passed green farmed hills, with steep, rocky hillsides at the top.  After a short while we met three cyclists who were going the other way.  They had come from a town half way down the valley on the other side and had the town that we started off in, as their destination for the day.  We all had a downhill to start the day and then a long uphill to complete it, consequently we were all more than happy to chat at the bottom of the valley and delay the impending hill climb.  One woman was from the States and she was temporarily cycling with a British couple.  They informed us of the difficulties of cycling in Bolivia and we told them about the alternative route through Peru, through the mountains.  They all intended to take the coastal route though, as they thought the mountain route sounded tough, which we agreed with but said the amazing views had more than made up for it.

We stopped at a small shack that was selling, amongst other things avocados and bread.  As we stopped for a quick snack the biting flies were relentless and covered us both in swollen, red bites.  The heat in the valley was also ridiculous and I couldn't wait to gain some elevation to be in a cooler climate, with no bugs. 

We cycled up through the valley on the other side of the river and wound our way up to the small town of Limatambo.  We had intended to spend the night here, but as it was only 2.30pm and we both had some energy left we decided to continue onwards.  We re-fuelled with some street food first, as there were a couple of carts selling chicken and chips.  We also filled our water bladders, as we knew that we would have to camp if we didn't want to stay in Limatambo. 

We climbed fairly steeply up through the valley and kept our eyes peeled for some Incan ruins which were meant to be right beside the road.  Unfortunately we didn't see them and there wasn't a signpost to point them out.  We continued climbing, passed small one room, brick houses and rows of crops on the hillside.  There were a lot of potatoes growing on the hillside and I wondered why we only ever get meals with rice, or sometimes with chips.  We never have the option of mashed, boiled, roasted, or jacket potatoes, which would at least add a bit of variety to our Peruvian meals. 

We continued to climb up the valley and as the sun was setting we started to look for a place to camp.  Unfortunately every flat surface either had a small house on it or else it had crops planted on it.  All other land was a steep drop off into the valley below.  As the road was almost empty we were happy to continue onwards until we found somewhere suitable.  At one point loads of kids came out and pushed us along the road for 100m or so, which vastly improved our speeds.  Finally, at almost 8pm we found a small lane, which we imagine led to a quarry or something similar.  It led off the road and provided us with a flat piece of ground, hidden from the road.  We couldn't see any houses or lights ahead of us, so presumed that we would be undisturbed during the night.  As we set up camp in the dark, I kept an extra careful watch for any tarantulas, which I now know roam around this area.
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