Another bunch of photos taken during the last 30 days that didn’t fit anywhere else in this journal. Click on any image for a version in a higher resolution. There are many more on our Flickr page, which we’ve at last updated; or, for past months in this ‘Snaps’ series, please click here.

 


 

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Sunset over Cusco, as seen from the balcony of our hotel.
Cusco, 05, Peru
5 April 2014

 


 

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Spending two nights with Lyle and Liliana in the mellow, tourist-free village of Huarocondo allowed us to take a delightful there-and-back, luggage-less ride into the traffic-free countryside north of Cusco. Not all dirt roads are this good…
3km east of Huarocondo, 08, Peru
7 April 2014

 


 

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… As we found out the next day, when we rode south to the town of Ollantaytambo. Like many dirt roads in Peru, this one is in the process of being paved, and the works can cause hold-ups. Usually, these delays are due to machines on the road. Occasionally, they’re down to massive avalanches.
10km south of Huarocondo, 08, Peru
8 April 2014

 


 

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The hilltop Inca ruins of Machu Picchu. Every bit as breathtaking as we’d hoped.
Machu Picchu, 05, Peru
9 April 2014

 


 

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But they’re hardly the only astonishing Inca landmark in the area. This is Pisac, a vast Inca estate – temples, agriculture, housing – which sprawls high into the hills above the town that now takes its name.
Pisac, 05, Peru
12 April 2014

 


 

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Will’s smart short-cut route from Pisac back to our Cusco hotel turned out not to be so smart after all. The climax: a 100-step staircase – bear in mind that our fully loaded bikes each weigh about 40-50 kilos – followed by a long stretch on every cyclist’s least favourite surface: cobbles. Given the ordeal, Ruth’s smile is a generous one.
Cusco, 05, Peru
13 April 2014

 


 

ayacuchogirls-1024Ruth was sitting quietly in Ayacucho’s main square when she was approached by this gaggle of wide-eyed schoolgirls, who proceeded to quiz her on her impressions of Peru while recording everything on their phones. We’re assured that the two-fingered greeting on show doesn’t mean what it does in the UK. Still, some gestures do travel: the orange T-shirt modelled by the 13- or 14-year-old girl one from the right, who appeared to speak no English, was decorated with a cartoon bird and the legend ‘FUCK YEA’.
Ayacucho, 05, Peru
16 April 2014

 


 

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More road-paving works outside the unremarkable town of Huanta necessitated a 20km diversion down a potholed, part-flooded, single-lane track that had no business hosting major traffic. We’re still not sure how the bus and the tanker managed to pass without touching.
near Huanta, 05, Peru
17 April 2014

 


 

carlosjuan-1024Every Peruvian policeman to whom we speak seems keen to turn the conversation to one subject. Take this verbatim example from a deserted police roadblock in the middle of nowhere.

Juan (on the right): Hola, señor. ¿Qué tal?
Will: Bien, gracias.
Juan: De que país, usted?
Will: Inglaterra.
Juan: ¡Ah! Nolberto Solano.

After 20 minutes of mostly football-related chat and banter with Juan and his colleague Carlos, Will escaped.
somewhere between Huanta & Mayocc, 09, Peru
17 April 2014

 


 

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Even on paved roads in Peru, rivers and other unexpected water flows present a hazard. On a day ride between Mayocc and Izcuchaca, an increasingly wet-footed Will passed through a dozen or so without assistance. However, crossing the one at the bottom, both faster and deeper than it appears in the photograph, required the generous help of a family driving the other way towards Ayacucho for Semana Santa – the bags went in the car, while the bike was passed across the water by a four-person relay.
somewhere between Mayocc & Izcuchaca, 09, Peru
18 April 2014

 


 

bocina-1024We didn’t think we’d ever see – or, more pertinently, hear – a country with as bad a car-horn addiction as Brazil. And then we got to Peru, where the wannabe rally drivers use their horns more than their brakes, and the towns are soundtracked by an unending blizzard of meaningless, peace-disturbing parps, peeps and beeps. As if the drivers needed any further encouragement, this sign on a quiet, single-lane country road implores them to toot their horns (‘tocar bocina’) as they negotiate a blind corner. Despite the sentiment, we were rather taken by the illustration, which looks less like a trumpet (presumably the intention) and more like a cross between a bicycle pump and a pickaxe.
somewhere between Mayocc & Izcuchaca, 09, Peru
18 April 2014

 


 

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Two sides of Peruvian market shopping: a gleaming rainbow of succulent fruit and vegetables; and some of the saddest-looking chickens this side of Ridley Road.
Huancayo, 12, Peru
20 April 2014

 


 

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The brass band we heard from a half-mile away while riding north from Huancayo turned out to be providing the soundtrack to the 75th annual carnival in the village of Acolla. Ten minutes after we’d pulled in to take a look, Ruth had been shepherded into a side office and cloaked in traditional costume by the president of the festivities, before (right) being swept off her feet by a grinning local who may previously have taken a drink. Dress, shawl and hat courtesy of the Institución Social Unión Campesino, Acolla; Mavic cycling shoes and Specialized cycling gloves model’s own.
Acolla, 12, Peru
21 April 2014

 


 

horse1-1024This month’s caption competition.
La Florida, 12, Peru
24 April 2014

 


 

from Oxapampa, 19, Peru