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Old 04-02-2013, 06:41 PM   #53
camitzi OP
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Joined: Feb 2013
Location: Vancouver BC
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From the sand dunes to the high mountains

Peru turns out to be an amazing country. It's got it all: from the sandy desert to the beautiful green mountains. And I love the traditional Peruvian outfits that everyone is wearing.

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The pass we went over on the mountain on the way to Lima was at 4082 m altitude, so we are starting to acclimatize pretty well after so many days riding at over 3000m in Ecuador and Peru.

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There was actually a village up there, at over 4000 m, by a nice lake.

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And of course we see more accidents on the road.

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And this is how you fix it here.

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On the other side of the mountains we hit desert again and with it the heat. Lima impressed us in several different ways. As many other cities in Central and South America, there is an awful side of Lima, and a really nice, fancy side of it. We went through both, and we stopped in the nice side of it. The traffic was horrendous, but we survived. It was the first city in our trip where I saw Mercedes Benz and Audi SUV.

The next day we woke up early and rode around Lima to find a motorcycle dealerships as Chris was needing badly a rear tire. And since we were there, Vasile decided to change his front tire too if he found a KTM dealership. After riding around for hours we managed to find a KTM dealership (I guess unauthorized yet, since it was well hidden, no big signs outside, just the orange colour of the building with some white tire marks on it. We found it right when we were about to give up and leave. The guys there were more than nice and they let us do all the work in front of their shop, so Vasile bought some oil from them and did an oil change on my bike and also got a front tire for his bike.

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We managed to leave Lima around 1 pm. And on our way we found this wine making place.

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We tried all the different kinds of wine. They were pretty good, but all very sweet. Peruvians like the sugar. They had only one kind of dry wine, so we bought some at an incredible price (10 soles per gallon - this is about $4 USD) and off we go.

We finally got to our destination for the day, the Oasis in Ica, at about 6:30 pm, starving and tired (we only had breakfast at 8 am that day). And this is how a real oasis looks like.

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The next day we had some fun activities. First we climbed up some tall, steep sand dunes. It is so funny, it feels like walking up on an escalator that goes down. You take one step and it slides down half way, so you climb for five minutes and when you look back you realize that you only advanced 10 m. But it's fun. Except the fact that if you don't have proper shoes, you pretty much grill your feet. It's so amazing to look around and see just sand dunes, nothing else.

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And except the wind at the top of the dunes. If you don't keep your mouth closed, you will be chewing sand for many days after.

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Here is what the combination of sand and wind can do.

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Later that day we took a tour in a buggy on the sand dunes. This was incredible fun. We stopped to do sand boarding, which was a totally interesting experience.

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We drove up and down on some really steep sand dunes and we screamed of the top of our lungs ...and then laughed when we heard others screaming

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We watched the sunset.

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And then back to the oasis and party. We deserved it, we had a tough day

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And then on the road again, on the way to Cuzco. We left the desert behind, and we headed to the mountains again.

Here we are watching the famous Nazca lines from a tower. I remember I made a presentation about them in university, and I thought back then it would be pretty cool to see them one day.

The tree

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The hands

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Once up in the mountains the whole landscape changes. We will be missing the heat for a while.

Lots of llamas, vicunas and alpacas everywhere. I'm wondering how long it took them to acclimatize to this altitude

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And the first night's campsite at about 3200 m altitude.

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Morning coffee after a cold night with little sleep.

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I always thought flamingos are living in hot exotic places, but it looks like they live in cold places at over 4000 m altitude.

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The highest altitude for the day was 4466 m.

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Many washouts on the way.

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And now looking for a campsite.

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And here's the second night's campsite, at about 3700 m altitude, with the beautiful view of the glaciers.

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Awesome place, but with freezing cold and even less sleep at that altitude.

Lunch the next day, on the side of the road: cheese, onions, tomatoes and avocado with some delicious pita breads.

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Life is good.
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