Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Cusco to Abancay - March 16

There was a light rain falling when we started out from Cusco, but it had rained heavily most of the night.
Just outside of Poroy we rode to the head of a stopped line of traffic at a road block.  A 20m section of road had been washed away in the night, leaving a 10m deep chasm between the remaining sections of pavement.  A local was waving at me to approach in the adjacent village, where he pointed us up a narrow one way path.  We headed up the path passing other smiling residents who were gesturing where we should take the next turn.  After crossing a log bridge, riding along a goat path and farm lane, we were around the washout with an empty highway ahead.
That's a Pointsettia bush, and only about a fifth of it is showing.

At Limatomba we rode to the head of another road block.  This time, the road was closed for blasting - so I decided not to look for any shortcuts!  The Nacional Policia told me it would only be a 20 to 30 minute wait, and as we stood by a couple of friendly Peruvians approached to ask about the bikes and our journey.  Before long we had a crowd of about 20 smiling, chatting people around us.  One fellow was a truck driver who gave me alot of insight into roads and conditions ahead, but then a horn sounded signalling the road was open and we were off.
The terrain is steep, but the climate is semi-tropical and lush.  The mountain sides are terraced for agriculture and there is a sense of prosperity in the villages - not the BMW Prada type, but people have solid homes, a good climate, good food, and they are friendly and happy.
We had lunch at Corahuasi - another delicious sopa (this time squash), followed by Asado Carne (roasted beef ribs), and an excellent salad of beets, onions, and roasted red peppers.
We rode up and over the adjacent mountain range to reach Abancay.  The ride up was clear and dry with endless switchbacks offering outstanding views of the valley below.  The crest was over 4000m elevation, and as we descended the other side we immediately rode into a cloudbank.  The cloud was thick at times, and we had to ride slowly without visors or glasses to see properly on the hairpin turns.
It was only 73km's from Curahuasi to Abancay, but over a two hour ride!

Stopping to get our bearings at a small square in Abancay, we were immediately approached by a local couple curious about us.  After a friendly chat, during which they recommended a hotel I had previously heard good things about, they insisted we follow them in their truck to make sure we found it ok.

As Petra went to negotiate a room, another man approached me and introduced himself and his two sons - big moto fans, Rodriguez was wearing a Harley Davidson jacket!

We are amazed at how friendly and sincere the people are here, and are enjoying this part of Peru immensely.

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