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I am finally in Cuzco, the archeological capital of the continent and a cultural heritage of the world. While cycling into the ancient civilizations of Peru I have also reached a modern infrastructure of tourism. Tourist towns are not the most charming ones, but they are very comfortable and convenient. In the narrow alleyways I find restaurants with wonderful vegetarian menus, the cobblestone streets lead to well-stocked bike shops and the old buildings contain well-functioning internet connections.

To reach further out, or back, to the Inca civilization I pedal past the boundaries of the city. I leave all my camping gear and do a loop between hotels on a light bike. It really feels like a holiday. I go to the ruins of Pisac, Ollantaytambo and Moray. Mass tourism passes me by in shiny tour buses and from the road it does not feel as if I am a part of it. When I park my bike and continue on foot by the railroad tracks, I have to move as the tourist packed trains sound their horn. It is an eager sound as the tracks lead to the most wanted ruins of them all, Machu Picchu.

Here, I am definitely part of the mass tourism. During sunrise, I struggle and sweat myself up the steep staircase of rocks, in a line with all the others. I am one out of hundreds of visitors that are absolutely exhausted by getting here and absolutely excited by being here. It is grandiose. A unique stone creation in a beautiful mountain setting. During visiting hours, this former Inca city is over populated by tourists, but for me it is still a personal experience. As a solo cyclist I have been pretty spoiled by having amazing places to myself. I like to go my own way, but sometimes it is worthwhile to join the masses.



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