It was time to continue traveling south after Nazca. Once you have seen the famous lines and figures there is nothing else to see. There were supposed to be some Mummies but after gathering information they did not peak my interest. I discovered that it was more like a carnival so I decided to pass.
Another deciding factor for me not to go to see the mummies was the fact that the next leg of my trip was approximately 13 hours of riding. The roads where supposed to be bad but with beautiful views on the altiplano (high plains). I got an early start trying to avoid the high winds with the blowing sands of this hot and dry place. The first 200 klm were slow with a twisty road as I climbed up the mountains. On this section of road there were also potholes everywhere. Road construction also slowed me down. Road crews would stop traffic as they repaired the road. Seemed like endless work to me.
When I got on the altiplano I rode for about 100 miles at an elevation of 14,000 to 15,000 feet. The road conditions were much better but the temperature was much colder. I had to stop and put on my thermal clothing. Snow in the area was about four inches deep as well. It was very quiet with almost no traffic and not a tree for miles. The only thing that I saw for over 200 miles was acres and acres of grass and alpacas grazing. Even with the thermals on I could still feel the cold temperature. I stopped and put on my rain gear. I was at an elevation of approximately 15,000 feet. I was amazed as to how much effort it took to put on my gear. When I finished putting on my rain gear I could feel my heart pounding hard.
I continued my ride and I finally dropped down to an elevation of about 12,000 feet and I was able to breathe again. The air temperature also felt a bit warmer. These last 200 miles should have been easy; however, since I was extremely tired and the road was super twisty, it took me almost three hours to ride.
I arrived in Cusco just as the sun was setting and with a horrible headache. Cusco is situated at an elevation of 12,000 feet. In addition to the elevation, diesel fuel fumes from the heavy traffic smelled terrible and also made me feel sick.
The hotel room that I obtained was located on the third floor. After walking up the three flights of stairs my heart felt like it was going to jump out of my chest. In Latin America elevators are unheard of.