Touring by Bike South America, Africa and Europe by Bicycle

Touring by Bike
Day 16. Chalhuanca to Abancay

Km today: 118
Km total: 1020
I wake up at 6:30, but I feel lazy. Probably I need a rest day, my body starts to complain about all this.
However not today. I saw on Google maps that there are no climbs; the guy from the hotel tell me is all downhill, “only 2 km uphill”. I try to get some cash, but this is not possible in Chalhuanca. even at the bank, they tell me to try in Abancay. In fact people here doesn’t seem to know what a credit card is. The evening before, when paying the hotel, the lady looked at my credit card with a stupid smile, she didn’t know what to do with it. Today I asked at the gas station if is possible to pay by card and she replied something about phone cards. GPS set, 118 km to Abancay and…yuhooo, let’s fly baby. I’m going downhill at about 25 km/h, so I’m in good mood. I stop, took some pictures, shot some short movies.
I even realize that for the first time since departure from Lima I feel more like a person on holidays than like a forced labor prisoner. I even stop for a big beer, is just a long descent afterwords. And not so steep to keep you super-focused, with the fingers on the brake handles. I even start to think of going further than Abancay, closer to Cusco. But at about 50 km to go, the thought is cut short by the wind that starts to blow from NE, up the valley. The decisions clear: I’ll stay in Abancay and take some time here for preparing for the climb to Cusco. I eat some cactus fruits, after tasting two at the lady with beer. She opened them for me and I thought that’s pretty easy in fact. So why would I buy more, when I can the spikes do get into my fingers, but at least they are sweet and good. the wind start to of 14 kph.
I’m only waiting for the rain, those were the patterns so far. the rain doesn’t come, but a scorpion does. I almost flatten the poor guy. I buy a pura caña, without knowing exactly what it its. I thought is a sugar cane refreshing drink and i wanted to test it. In fact is a strong alcohol, so strong that the 30 deciliters I bought can probably fly a 767 over the Atlantic.

The lady that sold me the magic fuel here tells me is all climbing up to Abancay. I feel again like a forced labor prisoner. C’mon, after 100 km of (admittedly easy) cycling I don’t feel like doing this at the end of the day. my (= Daniel’s) GPS shows 12 km, it might look like nothing if you’re driving a car but try to imagine riding uphill with a 45-50 kg bike, after 100 km with the same loaded bicycle. What about the only 2 km uphill ?

Anyway, there is only one way: up. I get motivated by the dogs welcoming me in a very original manner, a ritual that involves them barking very close to my feet. Halfway up I meet police, they assure me that people are OK. Also, there are about 3-4 km difference in between what the GPS is showing and the road signs. I finally arrive in Abancay, tired but unharmed and look for an accommodation. As always, I go to the city center (Plaza de Armas, the main square is always called like that in Perú). There is no hotel/hostal here, but I soon manage to find one for a reasonable price.The people here is quite gentle and two young guys  help me with the luggage upstairs at the fourth level.

Night ends in a restaurant where I almost fall asleep while trying to update this blog from the tablet.

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