Fri: Ollantaytambo (continued)
Ollantaytambo is a nice place to arrive at. The ruins on the hillsides are breathtaking, and the tourists gape in amazement that anyone should appear from nowhere by bike. We arrived around lunchtime and checked into the new and comfortable Hotel Pakaritampu.
We spent the afternoon wandering around town.
Sat: Machu Picchu
We made the obligatory trip on the tourist train.
The train ride is very enjoyable and Machu Picchu worth seeing. Aguas Calientes is a bit of a dump. The bus to the site climbs the Peruvian equivalent of the Alpe dHuez. (Frédéric Ferchaux has a photo.)
Sun: Ollantaytambo Huilloc Yucay (65 km, 1500 m of ascent)
The track to Pumamarca is steep and tiring. The site itself is reasonably interesting but by no means stunning.
We returned to Ollantaytambo for a late lunch and some repairs to Colin. Then we picked up our bags and sped along the Sacred Valley to Yucay.
Mon: Yucay Pisac (59 km, 650 m (including trip to ruins))
The dirt track on the south side of the Sacred Valley provides an alternative to the main road. Peter Frost calls it pleasant but its vile. We bailed out at Coya.
The main square of Pisac is attractive, with a market in the middle and hotels and restaurants facing in. We stayed at the Royal Inka a little out of town: the old parts are nice but the rooms are drab.
For the afternoon we cycled up to the ruins which are extensive and spectacular. Tracey devoured a family-sized pizza in the Hotel Pisac in the evening. This was a PB.
Tues: Shopping expedition to Cusco (70 km, 1350 m)
The surfaced road to Cusco is hugely enjoyable. An invigorating climb takes you through Corao to the Puerto San Martin, and Tambo Machay is only a couple of km further on.
Best of all is the helter-skelter descent on the return trip. As we whizzed through Corao we saw a couple of mountain bikers coming the other way. We stopped to talk and Tracey instantly recognised one of them as Ésteban Cortez, a colleague of Omars whose mug graces his book.
Weds: Rest day
We sat around Pisac.