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.
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.
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.
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.