Yesterday was all about adventure! Katriena and I woke up early feeling excited and nervous for our mountain biking excursion. We both haven’t been on a bike in awhile but we figured there is that saying, “it’s like riding a bike”, so it would all come back to us!
We were picked up by a really nice tour guide, Aldo, who does this ride all the time and runs an insane amount. He’s super in shape which made me think we signed up for the wrong tour! We were also joined by a German couple, who also seemed very ready to mountain bike.
We took a three hour drive up the mountain, which is actually a volcano! The views were amazing and we took them all in because we wouldn’t be able to concentrate on them when we biked down. When we got to the top we geared up with elbow and leg pads, along with biking gloves (at this point I’m thinking what the hell did we get ourselves into). We started our ride and it seemed to be going fine. Then, Aldo decided to take us on a shortcut…which ended up being very difficult for someone who has never been mountain biking before!
We made it through the short cut and super steep part of the ride. When we hit the main path it was ridiculously rocky all the way down. Eventually, I really got the hang of it and loved it! I was standing up on the bike, finding bigger rocks to jump over on purpose, speeding up around turns because I got over my fear of them…it was exhilarating! Once I got comfortable and good at what I was doing, I was able to think and enjoy the ride down. The views were amazing, I couldn’t believe I was biking down the middle of two volcanos. I also thought how amazing challenging yourself feels. I was a bit nervous to do the biking and for a moment thought I wouldn’t be able to, but I surprised myself and succeeded! I decided on my way down the hill that I would do something once a day that would challenge myself. It could be practicing a language, adding another mile onto my run, picking up a new hobby…the possibilities are endless. Life would be so boring if we didn’t challenge ourselves. So that was my realization as I was trying not to crash and look cool on a bike at the same time!
After we made it to the bottom, Kat and I celebrated with a traditional high five, ate some greens beans, clementines and plantain chips (fresh from el super mercado) and made our way back to the hostel. We. Were. So. Dirty. I had rocks and dust everywhere.
For our last evening in Arequipa, we walked around the plaza, went into la iglesia de la compañía (another GORGEOUS church) and ate at another rooftop restaurant. We both wanted to try ceviche, one of Arequipa’s popular dishes. It’s basically raw fish with onions, sweet potato and lemon juice. I hate sushi and the idea of raw fish, but of course I had to try it. I surprisingly liked it! It was a light and refreshing meal. Jhulianna, I thought of you while I was eating it and wanted to text you right away to tell you about it!
We were up by 4am this morning to catch a flight back to Cuzco, then we hopped on a collectivo (mini bus) to Ollantaytambo. This is local transportation and they wait until the mini bus fills up to take you. They also throw your stuff on top of the van and you just have to hope it stays on. We are in Ollanta for tonight and are staying at la casa de wow! It is the cutest hippy hostel ever and has amazing views of the surrounding ruins. We also have a bunk bed, skylight and lavender walls in our room and I’m in love! Ollanta is all about relaxation so today were going to walk around the square, do a little shopping, and eat at a cute restaurant. Tomorrow we’ll hike some of the ruins before we take the train to Machu Picchu! That will be our last big adventure before we head back to Cuzco for our last day. So weird and sad to think we only have 4 more days here…time flew by and I don’t want it to end!
Here are some photos of yesterday’s adventure and our cute hostel in Ollanta!