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Top Dream BMW

Artículo publicado en la revista Motociclismo en 2003.

Peru, this distant land, populated by mysterious and fascinating people, welcomed this year, yet another edition of the Top Dream, the fantastic, exclusive holidays that BMW offers its members. Dream itinerary, spectacular archaeological sites and a very close-knit group. Perfection?? Certainly not, but for an organized trip, we are close!!

Read the story published in the magazine.

Sensations, the sensations of 15 days spent on a motorcycle crossing the Peruvian Andes, in search of the most impressive traces that the Incas, this mysterious people left.

It all starts at the end of December, in Lima, the capital city that is home to about a third of the country's 24 million inhabitants.

Located in the center of the desert coast of Peru, this gives it a climate and an environment that certainly cannot be defined as pleasant. From April to December, the garùa, the coastal fog, obscures the sun and the situation does not improve much in the few summer months: there is a little more sun, but the smog still makes the climate muggy and unpleasant.

The legend says that when Pizarro and a hundred of his conquistadors set out to look for a suitable place to found the capital of their viceroyalty, they had an Inca as a guide, who decided to take revenge by taking them to this location on the bank of the Rimac where it never rains and where never, or very rarely, is beautiful!

Little consolation, given what the conquistadors did to the South American populations!

However, it is from here that the top dream bmw laid its foundations for the start and also the place where the undersigned, after a slow, spectacular approach of almost a month and a half, joined the group.

The first 2 days are spent on the classic tour and picking up the vehicles from the Peruian customs.

It must be said that in this period of the year, the climate on the coast is characterized by this mist that saddens an extraordinary landscape even for those who simply simply travel along the Pan-American Highway. And this is immediately clear in the first stage where the group gets to know the South American roads and traffic, certainly less complex than that of the capital.

Fun fact: a government investigation established, an official estimate, that 400,000 people drive without a license in Lima. Everything suggests that they are at least double or more given that the capillarity of these surveys is very difficult once you enter the favellas and that most of the drivers of colletivos, the vans used for transport, which represent a large part of the park circulating in the capital together with taxis, they come from these areas.

The arrival is in the Paracas peninsula which offers 2 possibilities: the first is to visit the Reserva Nacional de Paracas by motorbike, the most important naturist reserve on the Peruvian coast, with dunes and dirt tracks; the second is to make the 4-hour excursion to the splendid Ballestas Islands, not before having admired the gigantic candelabrum, traced on the shore by the paracas and visible only from the sea, a worthy prelude to what awaits us the next day in Nazca.

Who doesn't know Nazca? Its incredible figures drawn in the desert can only be seen from above, apart from a mirador, located about 30 kilometers from the village, along the Pan-American Highway, from which you can see 3 drawings: a hand, a lizard and a tree.

However, the air excursion is highly recommended, even for those who suffer from flying on these little pipers.

The third stage serves to create acclimatization to the altitude.

The arrival point, after a mega transfer, is Arequipa at 2325m, the white city, the second in Peru, but which has nothing to do with the first: beautiful, modern, historical and animated on the economic level, with more a truly enviable climate. It has no real cold season. In winter, it cools a little in the evening, but its 300 days of sunshine per year remain. Not bad especially compared to what the capital can offer!

Much of the town is built with a very light colored volcanic rock, hence its nickname. Definitely to visit the Monastery of Santa Catalina, a convent that covers an area of ​​20,000 square meters, and which occupies an entire block. A city within the city. The most beautiful religious building in Peru and probably in all of South America.

But Arequipa also offers fantastic excursions in its surroundings: the most spectacular, also chosen by the organization, is undoubtedly the one to reach the Colca Canyon, one of the deepest in the world. And also the road to get there is not bad at all crossing the Reserva Nacional Salinas y Aguada Blanca, with an average altitude of 3850m, crossing a pass at 4800m and plunging with a spectacular descent into welcoming Chivay, 180km from Arequipa. From here there are a few tens of kilometers to go to the Canyon, which however, in our case, will only be seen by a few of the group due to the worsening of the weather which will force us to return muddy and with icy sprinkles of snow at the highest points of the route.

And the weather will not improve much the next day, continuing to drive at really above average altitudes to get to the sacred lake of the Incas, Lake Titicaca, where we will set the record of the trip: overnight at 3830m !!

Puno is certainly not an exciting city, albeit with a certain atmosphere, but the charm that the lake emanates is even extraordinary: at 3810m, 8000 square kilometers, with incredible lights and endless horizons.

The sunrise over the lake is something unforgettable, the guide defines it as a spectacle worthy of Hollywood, but even the sunsets behind the perched houses of Puno leave their mark on travelers' memories!

Not to mention the colors during the excursion to the floating islands of the Uros. Population now extinct, it seems that the last one has now been dead for years, undermined by poverty and alcohol !!

Those you see now are Aymara Indians, who once realizing the tourist potential, settled on the island and passed themselves off as descendants of the Uros.

It matters little, whether they are original uros or fake Aymara, the visit to the floating islands in turtledove, this reed that is collected in the shallow waters of the lake, certainly represents the main tourist attraction of the area.

The day before New Year's Eve, he sees us on the street, always and in any case at an altitude of more than 3000m, along the 3S towards Cuzco, the focal point of tourism in South America, but even earlier, the capital of the Inca kingdom. Legend has it that it was founded in the 12th century. by Manco Capac, the first Inca, son of the sun. During one of his travels, the emperor stuck a golden rod into the ground and it disappeared: this point marked the "qosqo" or "navel of the world" in Quechua and it was precisely at that point that he founded the city that would become the center of the largest empire in the Western Hemisphere. The Incas, however, and their reign lasted very little, less than a century, from 1438 to 1532, the year in which Pizarro with his band of thieves arrived in South America, giving immense wealth to themselves and to the crown of Spain, and frustrating misery to the South American populations.

Known as the Kathmandu of the Andes, Cuzco with its surroundings is one of the most beautiful sites in South America. Much of the center, which develops around a fantastic plaza de armas, is made up of beautiful colonial houses, with carved wooden balconies and doors painted in ultramarine blue.

Not to mention what's around her.

Machu Pichu, certainly the most famous and spectacular location in South America. The lost city of the Incas, which Pizarro searched in vain and which Hiram Bingham, an American archaeologist, was only able to discover by accident in 1911.

This is explained because the city is perched on top of a mountain cut so as to make it perfectly invisible from the valley.

But this fantastic archaeological site is not the only attraction in the area.

"Il valle parvis", is a real valley that starts from Pisac with its market, 32 kilometers from Cuzco and following the Urubamba course and crossing various sites and cities, it reaches Ollantaytambo with its incredible fortress and fortified granaries.

It should be added that the road is probably among the most spectacular and scenic of the entire itinerary. And even the one that arrives in Abancay, which represents the penultimate stage, is not bad at all, especially in the last stretch that falls on this sleepy town at 2377m.

But now, unfortunately, the best is behind us, despite returning to Nazca, before the stage of almost 600 kilometers that will bring the group back to the starting point welcomed by the usual, sad, gray limegna atmosphere.

What to add? If you have come this far, thank you for your attention.

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