Touring by Bike South America, Africa and Europe by Bicycle

Touring by Bike
Day 19. Limatambo to Cusco

Km today: 85
Km total: 1220
I managed to wake up at 5, but by the time I packed the tent, prepared the bike and myself, I left at 6. Not bad in fact, it was the earliest departure so far, but I wanted even earlier, to make sure I can reach Cusco by light. I was toold everywhere that Cusco is dangerous, being so touristic.
As I was about to find out, there were more than 4 km from the place I slept in to Limatambo. In fact there were about 7.
Which means I lost about one hour. The day starts bad, with me falling for the third time due to the clip-ons (I didn’t realize I was clipped on the right foot and I wanted to stop, because a guy on a crappy, 60 USD valued, mountainbike was overpassing me and really going stronger.
and of course all this happened on a bad section of the road, with no asfalt and …with trucks horning like crazy. I hate this horning people, if I could I would disable their stupid horns. I start climbing and do clmib up to 3400 m.a.s.l. At the beginning the climb was horrendous. The bike seems like still moving slow, I was moving slow, something was not good, but I was not stopping, trying to “keep the rithm”. Up to a certain moment, when I stop, eat something (a banana and some chocolate), inflate the tires and oil the chain. It all started to go better, the speed increased from 6 kph to about 9 kph, which is a big increase if you think the time over more kilometers. If you think somethging is wrong with your bike that’s because probably something is. Now, I really don’t know if it was the oil, the tires or the banana and rest, or the slope getting slightly easier, but I would guess the back tire. It looks good when you test it by hand, but with all the lugggage on it probably needs more pressure.
I’m in the mood for taking pictures and when I spot a lady with two children, I stop, asked her if I can take a pictue, she asks for money. I have 15 centimes of soles handy, but she asks for 5 soles. C’mon, you can get a nice accommodation for 15, I’m not giving you 5 for not doing anything for 3 seconds, top-model wannabe !
Luckily, from here is a long a descent towards Cusco, which means I can have a good speed.
In a village along the road I see they sell “helado de mango”. Since my Spanish is not good at all, I have in mind the cold juices that they call helada/gasdeosa helada. I ask a woman, she doesn’t have it, but she send me to her neioghbour across the street. I ask the price, 1 sol, I handed her 1 sol and waited. She came with…a mango icecream in a plastic glass and said that she’s offering it to me, no money needed. Since it was an icecream, I sit down to eat it, despite me being a little bit stressed with the time. We (me, Lizabet and Joel, her boy) chat about our countries, clime, plants. When we talk about mango she sends Joel to bring some mango, choose the nicest one (I know because boy comes with a couple of mangos), sends him to wash it and she starts cutting the huge mango. Yes, she’s offering it to me.
In another village I “enjoy” an animal fair. While I was taking some pictures, a local “lady” comes to me asking for “paga”. What should I pay you for ? She vanished without an answer. Well, is this the day when people is asking me for money when they see me with a camera ?
With the descent seriously improving my self-calculated ETA, not the one provided by GPS (from 8 pm to 6 pm) I feel better and think of the end of the first part of my trip. All perfect, the weather, the bike, me. or….not yet ! 10 km before Cusco it starts to rain, I have time to cover myself and the back panniers, however that’s not all. The rain (that I was just ignoring, climbing the final slope towards Cusco) turns into a strong hail, hitting me really bad.
At the right moment, of one climb, at the end of the day, close to Cusco’s suburbs, where I was told to take care. and of course landslides, coming at the side of the street (where I was riding, staying away from the cars as much as possible). After few minutes of suffering I find refuge in a gas station and can even shot a short movie of the heil. In the meantime a long queue of cars form, due to a bad accident (as I was about to see, a small car goes under a bus). the heil stops, I start, passing the queue of cars, on the right side. The slope is not extremely long, I finally arrive in Cusco, take pictures with two Kids, Alexandro and sorry_kid_I_forgot_your_name. They are the only persons I can give the camera for a second. I keep the mainstreet, arrive in Cusco at 5 pm, that’s one hour short of two weeks since I left Marcelo’s hostel in Lima.
Looking for Plaza de Armas, I pass by a hostel, the name sais me something, I stop and ask for a room. The people is kind, I can put my bike at safety and the atmosphere is cool. In your face, sir taxidriver(s) from Lima that are laughing when hearing that I’m cycling from Lima to Cusco !
Of course, like I always do, I manage to loose something. In this case my glasses! I went to shower and when I came back I realize I don’t have them anymore. Noone seems to have seen them. So I go to hostel’s bar for dinner.

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