Yesterday we left the Peruvian Amazon for the drive to Machu Picchu in the Andes.
This drive started with 200 k’s of flat highway interspersed with many speed bumps through mainly farming land with the exception of a alluvial gold rush area with the most messy and untidy shanty town that has sprung up either side of the highway to service and house the people mining. The red dirt coloured water in the rivers and swamps defined the boundaries of the gold rush.
Not long after that we started the climb over a range in the Andes that took us to 4800 metres with both the cars and people showing some altitude problems of varying degrees.
The reward for this drive is the stunning views and winding roads amongst great mountain ranges doted with villages with people living and farming in pretty harsh conditions. For some reason no one ever seems to tire with driving through mountains no mater how exhausting it is in old cars.
While stopped at the top we looked ahead and decided to put our roof on and a good call that turned out to be with a big storm and hail being encountered just prior to stopping in the village of Tinki for lunch at the local market.
That lunch stop will be remembered for a long time with so many of the locals dressed with vibrant colours in what we would call national dress but to these mountain people it is their day to day clothing with the women working in the field dressed the same. The thing noticed by most of our group was that the young people under mid 20’s don’t dress in the same clothes opting for modern western clothing.
As the only Europeans in town we were just as much an interest to them while we lunch at various stalls on chicken and rice or local trout and rice.
The rest of the day was the run in to Urubamba for a 2-night stop. The whole day including the lunch stop took James and I 12 hours so we were well and truly ready for food and bed last night.
On the rest day anyone that hadn’t been before visited Machu Picchu, while 7 of us decided to travel to Cusco for a peek-a-boo as we had driven through it but not stopped on a previous trip.