Potatoes are simply everywhere!  We are the luckiest people in the world right now when it comes to food in Peru. 

In our German language you can find many applications to potatoes:

  • The stupidest farmers harvest the fattest potatoes!
  • Into the potatoes, out of the potatoes!
  • To get the potatoes out of the fire for someone 

Or in Spanish: „No entender ni patata“! If you don’t understand something in Germany, then you say „I only understand railway station”. In Spain, on the other hand, you “only understand potatoes”!
By the way, the batata or potato is called Papa in Peru.


We need to learn some more Spanish words!
“We only understand potatoes”

Yes, we feel the same way. Without a translator, we would be completely helpless. Fortunately, the Peruvians are also aware of this and have no inhibitions about speaking into the device. The sentences are often far too complicated and long, so that the translation is a new puzzle. But together we always manage it somehow.

At least we have learnt the sentence that we are vegetarians in Spanish. It should be added, however, that we don’t eat chicken, fish or guinea pigs as well as meat. Then everything is clear and people almost always have a dish for us without animals. They are quite creative and we are happy.

Fortunately, because we need a lot of energy. Our stages are tough, the area is still sparsely populated and we often lack an appetite in the evening. We eat far too little. But then, if there’s an opportunity somewhere, we eat as much as possible. Food is really important to us. The energy has to come from somewhere.

We really have reached the end of our tether.

On top of that, I have a bladder infection and am taking antibiotics. It took me by surprise somewhere in the middle of nowhere and the next day was hell. But somehow I still managed to take a photo or two. The landscapes were once again breathtaking. This chance of colour, this loneliness, this play of light and nothing far and wide. Simply nothing.

Only when we turn off towards Arequipa, the second largest city in Peru, does the traffic pick up. But just like in Chile, both car drivers and lorry drivers give us our space. Two tunnels worry me. No shoulder and far too narrow, but fortunately they are short. And so we fight our way up the mostly steep track every day to arrive in Arequipa, at 2,300 metres.



We stay there to relax, eat a lot, shower every day and sleep peacefully.
The nights in the tent were a bit eerie. Every little rustle in the lonely desert woke us up or the lorries thundering past made it difficult to sleep. But the overexertion also prevented us from having a restful sleep. The body rebelled.

We’re making up for that now. And at the same time, we explore the city, enjoy a vegan restaurant and a coffee roastery and simply do what all tourists do. It’s easy and simply relaxing.

So we rethink our strategy of having to cover every kilometre by bicycle. That would still be the best thing for me, but I won’t be able to do it. Or at least only with considerable effort, which will eventually spoil my mood.


The new plan!

We decided to travel from here to Lima by bus. From there, we will cycle another 500km further north and then cover the rest of the route, which includes an area where cyclists are regularly attacked, by bus again until just before the border with Ecuador. This way we should have a bit more time for the towns and for ourselves. A new plan. We will try it out. Until then, we are enjoying urban life in Arequipa.


My daily ice cream clearly contributes to the growth of new fat deposits.

It’s actually nothing special, but it has a nice story: Queso Helado. It’s not cheese, of course, but a delicious dessert.
One of the first places where frozen “cheese” was made was the Santa Catalina monastery here in Arequipa as a substitute for ice cream. Others claim that it was invented further up in the Andes. But who cares today. The main thing is that it tastes delicious. The Spanisch people brought the rather exotic ingredients with them and the triumph of frozen cheese could begin.

To prepare frozen “cheese”, a large wooden container with ice and salt is used, into which another, conical, smaller stainless steel container is placed. The metal container is turned until the milk with cinnamon, cloves, coconut, vanilla and sugar freezes (but all of this is boiled first). The result is layers of curdled milk that peel off in the mould as layers, similar to slices of cheese.

If you visit the city, be sure to go to the San Camillo market, up on the first floor. There you will find numerous vendors selling this delicacy. The ice cream on offer in the streets and around the main square Plaza de Armas is also delicious, but more suited to the needs of tourists.

So if you really want to sample a lot, then you should come to the annual Queso Helado Festival in January. A lot of people show off their skills there. Too bad I missed that.

Some more impressions from our cycling days in Peru

And just in case you’re wondering: no, we won’t be traveling to Machu Picchu.

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