From Nasca you need to leave the Panamerican behind and turn left on the 3S for twelve/thirtheen hours with final destination Cusco. Unless you ride a GoldWing or a GS1200 you can’t do it in a day. We rode 8/9 hours the first day up to Abancay, three quartes of the way.
Cusco is the city, living out of turism for Machu Pichu, where all buses, agencies and organized trips start from. It’s the prettiest town we’ve seen in Peru. It has mountins around, colonial architecture, markets, bars, restaurants, beautiful hostels and everything needed by the gringo turist.
The first day riding from Nasca to Abancay was awesome. The initial 80kms you still ride throug the desert, but it’s not a sandy one, it’s a zig-zag around rocky brown hills, it’s called “Reserva Nacional Pampa Galeras”. We left the hostel at 6:30 am and we didn’t find any traffic all the way. After the desert you start going up, and you get a mix of vegetation and round roks which look like fell from the sky, or like massive mashrooms growing here and there. The most you ride and the coldest it gets and you get into another naturl reserve (but I forgot the name) and it’s like to step into paradise. Over 4000 meters high ground, green, with lamas grazing on the side of this magical road and small blue lakes on both right and left sides. Without our motorbike jackets (lost in Colombia) and wearing only our rain jackets we start freezing, and this time it seems like Sophie is more affected by the altitude and she struggle to don’t fall asleep behind me!
After a couple of hours of rain eventualy we get to a big village called Abancay from which we can’t proceed as the local carnival parade is taking over downtown and the only road we can use. 7 USD hotel, not the best of course, and we go check out what’s going on on the roads. Soph is the target for once! Yeah! A kid look at her and doesn’t think about it twice, he cover Soph of this party foam, all over her face, haha! Just in time the owner of a local pub which for once is actually friendly (we are still not connecting with Peruvians, we find them rude..) and we hide inside drinking some local home made liquors repared from kids throwing water baloons from top of buildings!
Next day, after 4/5 hours of rain riding through clouds we reach Cusco and find accomodation at Inkaspacha hostel where we also buy the Machu Pichu tour for 82$ each. It’s a 6 hours bus ride to a place called Hydroelectrica, from there 2 hours walk until Agua Caliente, the day after or you get the 12$ bus to Machu Pichu gates otherwise you have a 1.5 hours hike uphill. Hostel included. Considering the weather conditions we accept the package rather then reach the village before Hidroelectrica where we should find the house of the only guy with parking for motorbikes, looking for the bus to Hydroelectrica, the trek etc. The only problem is that we aren’t backpackers, we are bikers, so we don’t have a backpack! We will realise the issue only the day after when at 3pm we reached the trek, and it was raining big time!
Two hours following the railway, which was a great experience, under the rain, with this powerful river on the right hand side, covering with a useless poncho. Unfortunately, of course, in order to save a few quids, we brought with us tuna cans, bread, and 1.5 liters of water each. Obvious consequence: our GIVI strap bags felt like 100kg heavy making our trek a mission.
There is no way I’m going for the hike tomorrow morning with this rain. I want to enjoy the few hours in my life I visit Machu Pichu. So I convinced Soph to get bus tickets for the way up and just walk the way down. Some guys still did the hike, respect!
What to say about one of the seven wonders of the world? Just go and look at it yourself if you can. You see the pictures, and that’s pretty much all there is to see. Was good to have the guide. He exlained none knows the original name of Machu Pichu, and all we know about it is thanks to “Pablo” the little kid which in 1911 told everything about this place to his discoverer Hiram Bingham (not sure why he was the discoverer if peruvians knew about it already…). This man, Hiram Bingham, which according to the guide is celebrated as an adventurer but actually was just looking for gold, has a sculpture in Agua Caliente, but young Pablo hasn’t. This doesnt make local guides happy. However, the two points I thought were the most significative from him are that the word “Inkas” is wrong. The superficial killers “amigos espanol”, as he called them, translated Inkas as the name of the locals. Instead “Inka” means “King”. There was only one Inka! Second point, is how locals still have strong resentment feelings against the spanish. I think he hated to think his mother language is Spanish. The guide mentioned several times sarcastic expressions as “this is what our Spanish frinends did..” or “they were scared, they knew were going from vollage to village saying some white men with metal armores and fire weapons are coming to kill us all…”.
I sympathize with them. Can’t be easy to know and accept the culture of your ascestors has been destroyed by greedy conquerors ready to kill civilizations for a bunch of gold. And let’s not forget the mess they did in Africa a few decades after.
Of course, I don’t intend to give history lessons, that’s never been my strong subject at school. But by traveling you hear the side of the story of the other people, the people which didn’t write the history books we study at school, but they built Machu Pichu, Tikal, and many fascinating civilizations, and we can’t deny wealthy Europe is what it is because of a too long and painful dark history of persecutions against the weakest. Our generation, Europeans I mean, don’t realise it, it’s tto far from our life, we hardly try to think about all of this, we tend to forget. But the victims don’t. Victims keep the anger for genrations, centuries. And so, I can now understan, partially, why the mountain villagers, this people which seems to still live like before technology, isn’t friendly at all.
Said that, unless you plan a motorbike trip on the Peruvian Andes I wouldn’t recommand to visit Peru. But if you have chance at least go to discover Machu Pichu, it’s a life time experience!