On the buses

Date: 30th July – 7th August 2012

Where: Namballe – San Ignacio – Jaen – Chachpoyas – Trujillo

Distance: 4252 to 4281 miles

Unfortunately our first impressions of Peru continued as a long exhausting day of gentle gradient took us to San Ignacio. A dirty city with hiked-up prices for their hotels (it was a festival, we only found space at the tenth hotel we asked). We were lucky to meet a German couple cycling the world who gave us some great tips for Peru and particularly Bolivia. Turns out we will need to learn how to use a pressure cooker…20 minutes cooking instead of 2 hours at altitude!

By now we had done 8 days of continuous cycling and we were due a rest day so we got on the bus to Jaen bikes strapped less than securely to the roof of a combi.

The roadworks continue in Peru. Here a deliberate landslide threatens to squish us

The road gradients are very shallow thus far which lets us enjoy the road more, but it takes ages to get anywhere!

Every house seems to be drying coffee. Like most other places though we struggled to find anywhere that would sell anything other than instant coffee.

Doctor Marnee…the graffiti says it all

Loading the bikes rather precariously to get to Jaen

The theme was to continue the next day as we took 3 combis to Chachapoyas. After so much time on a bike travelling by bus was really stressful. En route three of us managed to pick up stomach bugs and spent the night taking turns on the toilet. After 2 days of rest we were well enough to make the trip to the fortress of Kuelap occupied by the Chachapoyans (and then briefly by the Incas). These ruins were really impressive, and bode well for the many archaelogical sites in Peru. On returning to Chachapoyas we packed our stuff and rolled into the bus station to begin the last leg of this part of the journey: the night bus to Chiclayo, followed by a 3-hour bus to Trujillo. This leg has been traditionally done by bus to avoid the town of Paijan where a number of cyclists have been robbed in recent times. We however have the second reason that we need to get to Bolivia by early October to ensure we are in the dry season…expect more buses as we go through Peru.

The final bus up to Chacapoyas. This one used a net rather than rope to secure our bags and bikes which made us a little less stressed.

The attractive main plaza in Chacapoyas

Tummy bugs over, time for Kuelap, for both little and large!

Having got up at 3:30am to get there, we wait for the gates to open in the early morning light

The view was good enough that we soon forgot the waiting and early start

Sarah investigating a Chacapoyan larder

The main entrance to the Kuelap fortress

Colourful lady just outside the ruins

Scaling the walls of Kuelap

Early morning in Chiclayo. We didn’t stay long before getting on the bus to Trujillo

Trujillo proved to be a pleasant surprise with friendly people, lovely architecture and a mild climate even though it is virtually at sea level. It also happens to be the home of one of the more famous casa de ciclistas in South America. Lucho has been hosting since 1985 and reading his visitor’s book was like a who’s who of cycle touring. We found Rodolfo who we stayed with in Belize, Steve who jumped out the taxi and directed us to the hotel in Cuenca, plus numerous others whose videos we’ve watched on you tube. The remarkable thing is that Lucho remembers them all and is still a grounded lovely man. He stayed up till midnight one night trueing our wheels and servicing all our hubs. Lucho will also join us with some friends for the day’s ride out of Trujillo to Chao. We wish him, and his family all the best for the future and hope every cycle tourist pays him a visit and tries his wife’s cake :-).

Cycling through Trujillo main plaza on a hotel hunt

The beach at Trujillo. We’re averaging two ice creams a day so far in Peru!

Late night in Lucho’s workshop

Sarah took the time to find Rodolfo (circled) in the visitor book

Job finished, time for bed!

Lucho’s wife (Araceli) with her delicious three-milk cake

Admiring Heinz Stucke’s map. Lucho told us that he had a broomstick exactly the same as Geoff’s new bike-stand. Henceforth it is known as the ‘Stucke Shtick’

A trip to 2nd-hand clothes store yielded a new oily rag with the 2 sleeves perfect for sun protection for Sarah, plus a rather dashing headband and a red woolly hat fo Geoff!

Our entry in the visitor book

2 responses to “On the buses”

  1. lostintherainontheisland says :

    hi sarah and geoff, so good ot read your updates and watch the piccies, u look so happy, keep it up! may those wheels keep rolling, love n a big hug, claudi from today wuite sunny and warm coventry

    • Geoff says :

      Same to you too, enjoy Kalymnos! We should be in La Paz in a week, I’m John will recount to you his altitude experiences in La Paz where he could only just summon the strength to stumble to the bar in the hotel 🙂

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