Tuesday, July 31, 2012

High Altitude Lake Livin'

Lake Titicaca sits right on the border of Peru and Bolivia in the high, dry altiplano.  It is known as the highest navigable lake in the world (or the largest high altitude lake) and is the mythical birthplace of the sun and moon in Inca mythology. 

Puno on the shore of Lake Titicaca.

Puno on the shores of Lake Titicaca.

Our last leg has taken us in a semicircle around the lake from Puno, Peru to La Paz, Bolivia.  On the way we’ve seen some gorgeous scenery and have had a chance to visit a few of the beautiful islands.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Inca Aftershocks

Although Machu Picchu is the centre of Inca tourism, there are many more very interesting sites in the area.  We were fortunate enough to visit some of these near Cusco and on the way to our next destination of Puno on the shores of Lake Titicaca.  In the process we learned a great deal about the Inca civilization and their beliefs.

The ruins of the Inca are very impressive because of their talent for stonework.  There were different classes of workmanship used in terraces, defense walls, or temples.  The stones were shaped by hand with such precision that you can’t even fit the blade of a knife between them.  Along with their beauty, clever design has enabled the walls to stand through centuries of earthquakes that have levelled much newer structures.

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Two examples of Inca stonework.  On the left is a wall in the religious centre of Ollantaytambo and on the right is the famous twelve angled stone in Cusco.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Inca Pilgrimage


The modern, flamboyant flag of the Inca.

South America’s most famous site, Machu Picchu, is a little bit isolated in that it can not be accessed by road.  This leaves a number of options, including a train trip, the famous Inca Trail, or a bus and walk combination.  For our journey we decided to leave the bikes in Cusco and do an organized five day hike called the Salkantay Trek.


We couldn’t have asked for a better group during the hike – Team Apacattack!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Short Pants and Loooonnnng Socks…

And other high altitude, cold weather, survival innovations.

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The ride from Nasca to Cusco was so far the most challenging section of the trip for us.  It took 10 riding days for us to cover 650km.  In those 10 days we climbed over 12 500 vertical metres (40 010ft or 1.5 Mt. Everests).

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Lines in the Sand

Since our last post we’ve travelled about 500km South along the coast from Lima to Nazca.  The riding wasn’t particularly difficult or inspiring, but this section was packed with interesting activities and archaeological sites.

This area of the coast attracts the majority of weekend vacationers from Lima.  In 2007 an 8.6 magnitude earthquake (the government called it 8.0 so they wouldn’t have to pay as many reparations) completely destroyed the city of Pisco and damaged many nearby.  Together these things make a very Peruvian combination of rich resorts amidst extreme poverty.

Our first stop was the seaside resort of Paracas.  From here we took a two hour boat tour to see the areas sights.


The Paracas culture created this giant “chandelier” (more likely a cactus), which can only be seen from the ocean, around 2000 years ago.  The lines are created by removing the darker surface rocks to reveal the lighter coloured sand underneath.