Sunday, October 30, 2011


October 25, 2011

Monday night was goodbye to the girls. Wow, it was way tougher than I thought it would be, and I was only leaving for a week! I am already dreading December when I have to say goodbye for good.

Tuesday morning I set off on my trip to Chile in order to get my $1000 deposit back for leaving the country with the motorcycle. It began with a beautiful ride through the Sacred Valley. It just does not get old.

Good morning Sacred Valley

Cool reflection in the lake

I liked the bridge in this one

I chose this day to leave because Jake (Alecia’s son, Ana’s brother) and his friend Kate were here visiting from the States. They planned a 4 day tour of southern Peru and I thought it would be a great idea to travel with them and see parts of Peru I have never seen before. Plus, I am pretty sure a 16-year-old college student, a 19-year-old PhD holder, the mother who raised them, and a robotics engineer would qualify as the smartest group of people I have ever hung out with. I was really looking forward to being the dumbest person in the room for a week.

They purchased a bus/tour ticket to Puno. Every few hours the bus stops at different locations and visits ruins. I thought it would be cool to tag along on the bike and see them as well. That turned out to be a GREAT idea.

I met up with them at the first stop in Andahuaylillas. There is a church there called “The Sistine Chapel of Peru”. Alecia somehow got me an extra pass so I could visit everything all day for free. Nice. The ceiling there was pretty cool but I think that comparison was a stretch. One interesting thing was when you leave the church, you have to choose an exit, each one with a beautiful painting on the wall. The left side depicts an open gate with pictures of hell and demons and fire. The right has a closed gate and pictures of angels and heaven. It is supposed to represent how you are going to live when you leave. Haha, yes I did exit out the left side.

The second stop was a famous temple to the sun god of the Incas. Only a part still remains, but it must have been darn impressive back in the day. I walked right in and they gave me a ticket. Yes, two free tours so far.

Free ticket

The next stop was a buffet lunch. Since there were multiple buses doing the same route and stops, I just walked right in and had lunch. I parked my bike around the corner at a guy’s house. We had a nice chat, and he kindly reminded me to drive safely.

We then started to ascend into the mountains. It was beautiful as usual and we made it up to a 14,200 foot pass. I missed the next stop because I wasn’t really paying attention to my gps. It turned out to be a good thing because it was a museum and they counted each person that entered. But I did pick up a hitchhiker, a woman who needed a 20 minute ride into town. I also had a lot of sign drama, there was a ton of construction so only one lane was open. There is a sign person at each end, but they didn’t seem to work so well. Sometimes they weren’t paying attention, sometimes they BOTH let vehicles pass, so it was a fun game of chicken. I was so glad I was on a motorcycle (the shoulder is always open) and not in a car.

Into the mountains

Raya Pass

The descent

The open road...

Bathroom break

I gassed up in Juliaca, a huge, dirty, ugly, industrial city. Fortunately I made it around without too many problems and headed into Puno, the city on the shores of Lake Titicaca. The view was impressive, and I stopped at a crossroads to wait for the tour bus. I chatted with an older gentleman, which was nice. He told me to see the Uros Islands, the floating islands made of reeds. It sounded pretty cool.

View of Lake Titicaca from above Puno

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