Saturday, 28 November 2015

Peru part 2

Peru - part 2

Full of cold and sat inside avoiding the rubbish weather I've at last had time to load up some pics for second part of hol and write a few words.  It already seems a lifetime ago and looking back at the pictures of this section it reminds me of an amazing place full of history and some fantastic singletrack of course.

After attempting the Huayhuash trail we headed over to Cusco and then on to Ollantaytambo where we based ourselves for a few weeks eager to adventure out into the Inca ruins and trails.  After 3 nights without a bed,  pizza and an early night was much appreciated.  Bikes made up once again we were keen to get out and become breathless!
Incca Raccay and Q'ormarca - the legs soon remembered what biking was with us soon getting off to push.  The mountain was rewarded with tight loose switchbacks and then a track for a little time until Paul encouraged me to climb back up and over to the other side to a ridge line, by the bottom he was grinning like a cheshire cat!  A stop off at Naupia Iglesia which is believed to be a burial place for the royals or/and a religious shrine before the track back along by the river.

Incca Raccay
Naupia Iglesia

 Las Canterras quarries and Inti Punku (Sun gate) - a few hours of biking, pushing and carrying was rewarded with an amazing view of the four valleys and Mt Veronica from the Sun Gate before we turned around and swiftly headed down the same way.  Down to the quarries was technical with rocky sections and switchbacks, after the quarries some good old Inca steps followed by a long flowy section back to ice-creams!
Enjoying a rest before more climbing
Nearly there!
Inti Punku

Enjoying the view from the top of Mt. Veronica

Inca steps
Heading down to Ollantaytambo
 Ollantaytambo - Moray - Salt mines- Pinchingoto - Ollantaytambo
A long and windy track finally landed us in Moray with music and hundreds of people celebrating the start of the new year (Quecha celebration).  Enjoying a bite to eat whilst observing we ended up chatting to a mountain biker from Lima. We all headed down towards the Salt mines a popular biking route and before long had bumped into a ride leader he knew that was happy for us all to ride together.  We said our goodbyes after a trip around the salt mines which Paddington wanted to go swimming in and then enjoyed a bit of singletrack that took us down to Pinchingoto.  Refreshments quickly slurped before a trudge bike along the river.
Celebrations at Moray

Salt Mines

Please, please can I jump in, it's too hot!

Chinchero - Urquillos canyon - Urumba
Yeah a taxi at last to Urumba in hindsight should have taken it all the way to Chinchero but never mind it gave the legs a bit of a work out! After biking uphill for a few hours on and off the highway we reached Chinchero for a much desired lunch. Tummies full we bumped up and down Urquillos canyon which is an Inca trail that winds it way down the side of the canyon.  Pauls' cheshire cat smile came back as the trail became more technical with steep steps, sharp corners and no acceptance for mistakes(A drop you would not return from!).  A phenomenal trail and definitely worth especially if you get a taxi to the top.  
Enjoying the ruins at the top of Urquillos Canyon.
Steps galore on this trail
Stopping to appreciate the magnificence of the canyon

Contouring along
More steps!
Just a few pictures of this awe inspiring place.  The remarkability and respect for this place came upon me after wandering around for many hours observing the skill and sheer determination put into creating Machu Picchu.  I feel honoured to have had the privilege to experience Machu Picchu and the surrounding ruins in the Sacred Valley.
Paddington eager to hop on board.

Machu Picchu mountain

Selfie!!!  Without the stick.
Hello friend
 Pumamarca - a trail recommended to us by the hostel and definitely worth it, flowy and bumpy, amazing views and the first gate of the hols!
Setting off from Ollantaytambo centre

Pumamarca trail

Abra Tastallyoq
Being a bit cream crackered by now especially from the walking up the steps at Machu Picchu then running down them all so we didn't miss the train we decided to get a taxi up the road section of this route. However the only cash machine in town had NO MONEY in it so a day of climbing happened. We ascended more than 3000m climbing uphill biking, pushing and carrying from 9am till 4 ish to 4700 metres.  Was it worth it? YES, YES, YES the descent to Patacancha was one of the best we had ever down!  It was like a box of liquorice allsorts - a real mixture of flowy to steep, rocky drop offs.  Pauls cheshire cat grin was the biggest ever by the time we dropped down into Ollantaytambo with dusk upon us. (Unfortunately not many pics of descent due to trying to get down before it went dark!)

Climbing up the long and windy road!

Off the road at last
Still trying to smile 

At the top ready to descend to the right
Hello Friends

Track from Patacancha

A few days off biking were enjoyed with a mini trip into the Manu Jungle.

Heading into the jungle
Time to travel along the river

Butterfly enjoying the heat like us

Hello Friend
Paddington's' favourite new friend

Time to relax

Hello Friend

Just a little bit of rain!
 Back to Ollantaytambo for a few days riding before a long journey home.  Unfortunately a few days of rain which meant snow at the top of the passes.  We had fun finding the Inca Downhill course (a bit on the road until the snow line then trail) sorry not many pics due to cold hands!  Like being back in England on a cold and wet winters day.

Start of Inca Downhill
 A snowy, rainy, wet and soggy day - Abra Lares and Calca
Still good enough to ride

Fantastic canyon down to Calca

Thanks PERU: a holiday I will never forget and a happy Paddington at the airport that got a marmalade sandwich for being a fantastic tour guide.