As it gets closer to Lima, vehicle traffic increases with it. I will spend 3 weeks in Lima according to my plan. I’ll edit the photos and notes which I took during this period. Probably I won’t write anything on my website. I don’t want to type because of the problem on my computer, it makes me desperate. If I can have it repaired in the future that there is no technical support in South America, otherwise I will buy a new one (and I renewed it 1 year after this event). On the opposite side of the road near Lima, I see a tour cyclist heading towards Chile. When we notice each other, we slow down. I pay attention to the traffic and change my way and cross over to his side.
Jennifer has started from Colombia. She is heading towards the very south of South America. Actually, I know her and she knows me from Instagram. Algorithms that show travel photos we might love have also shown us photos of each other to us over time. South America is very colorful both for those who live in this continent and for those who come from other continents to take a bike tour. It is an affordable continent for every budget. There is history, food, culture, everything.
Although it has its disadvantages, it is in the third place in my list of continents to visit by bicycle. My ranking is like this for now; 1. Asia, 2. Africa, 3. South America, 4. Europe, 5. Australia, 6. North America. In fact, the reason why North America and Australia are at the end for now is I haven’t seen both continents yet. Over the years, I will have answered this question more clearly. We still keep in touch with Jennifer on Whatsapp from time to time. (It was still on the road on 25.10.2020.)
There are very nice little towns in the areas close to the city of Lima. These towns especially attractive for people with higher income levels in Lima. There are many beautiful villas, restaurants at the seaside and very beautiful shore. There are also very famous surfing areas around Lima. There is also a nice area for kite boards. Anyway; as I was approaching Lima, I took a break somewhere, eating, and a message came to the phone. “I’ve been watching you for a long time Gürkan, my name is Zeki Sener and I’m a teachers in Turkey. I can see where you are from the GPS right now. I will pass by in a moment by bus. I am heading towards Lima, I would like to see you when it is available. “
Great. He follows the GPS on my page, sees where I pedal and sends a message. Of course we will meet. Tahsin Memişoğlu, who lives in Lima also sent a message that day. “I live in Lima, I will host you.” I have already mentioned Atilla before. I pedal to the Zig Zag Hostel where he is staying. I will stay there and rest for a while. Maybe a month, maybe more than a month, I don’t know how long I will stay. I am also informing our Turkish Ambassador in Lima before. Since I entered Peru, I have been in contact with our contracted personnel, Okan. Our Ambassador Ali Rıza Özcoşkun was in Ankara, but when he came to Peru he said that we will organize an event and host him. But before Mr. Özcoşkun, I said that I would definitely go to the embassy and meet our diplomats.
Visiting ancient cities, peaks, dust and dirt, I took the longest break in Calca with 10 days. Even then, there was a constant situation of going places and wandering. I couldn’t sit down and rest. The capital Lima is where I will rest my body. I didn’t like the 16/12 outputs of my blood pressure. The main reason for this was that I made the loss of altitude so fast. Yes, I was aware of this, but a voice tells me that I have to stop because of both my left arm and shoulder pain and this blood pressure condition.
I settled in Zig Zag Hostel in Lima. Atilla invited me here. Atilla is a software developer, traveling and doing his job. He had stayed in this hostel before. When he stayed at that time, he took care of the information processing infrastructure of the hostel, and at the same time, he worked and stayed for free. Working here and traveling the world changed the operating structure of the hostel and increased customer satisfaction. I always say; If you have a universal profession, you will find jobs all over the world. One of them is software. A computer code is the same all over the world, which means you can use it as your office anywhere. Atilla has also been riding his bike for a long time.
He collected all the bike parts from other bikes, whatever he found from here and there. We had night talks on the terrace of the hostel for about a month, it was great. While staying in this hostel, Mustafa Sipsi, who was hitchhiking around South America, came to the hostel and say hi. Then another traveler Berkan Bilgiç, who is loved by Youtube followers, also came to the hostel. 4 travelers sat and chatted. This crew got bigger afterwards.
Zeki, Atilla, Mustafa and I met together at Tahsin’s house. Not once. Tahsin made us very delicious meals. The man made a pie. When I was leaving the city, I was afraid that he would cook and give packages of Turkish food. Best friend of travelers in Peru. We toured the city together, we went out on the tiles. We have become a very enjoyable and wonderful group. Tahsin is making large-scale initiatives for trade in Peru.
He shared his work and all of the products sent from Turkey with us. I believe he will do good work in Peru over the years. Our friendship with Zeki continues. We have funny memories together. Even when he returned to Turkey, I had the chance of giving online presentations to his students. Berko and Mustafa also continued their South American travel together for a while and they returned to Turkey. Nice people that the road brought before me.
When I stayed at the hostel, I parked my bike in the hostel’s garden for two days. Okay, it’s a safe place, but still there are plenty of people going in and out. They don’t follow everyone to the exit. Therefore, the safest area where I can leave my bike in the capital is always the Turkish Embassy. On this occasion, I had the opportunity to meet our diplomats. The embassy building is in a nice neighborhood and our building is in good condition. It would be more correct to say that it is more beautiful than our many embassies. I meet the first secretaries Pınar and Okan. In the following days, I meet the second secretary, Nadide. They are all sweet and nice people. Meals, breakfasts, after-work tea or coffees at the embassy … We even went from place to place in the evening. Nadide was riding her motorcycle in the city. In fact, she was the first diplomat I saw to got a diplomatic plate for her motorcycle.
Pınar is taking firm steps towards the undersecretariat, but on the other hand, she always has traveling the world on her had. I left the bike at the embassy. There was a situation like this; there had been no attack my bike for 8 years, and this attack happened to my bike where I trusted the most. Yes, the squirrels attacked the bike standing in the embassy. As a result of this attack, an Ortlieb 4 liter water tank, an Ortlieb 6 liter dry bag, a 16 liter Ortlieb back of seat and a thermal drinker were destroyed by squirrels. They had done serious material damage. Wow, I never thought that such a thing would happen. The friends at the embassy are also shocked haha. This was also a nice experience. From now on, I will leave the bike indoors at our embassies.
Since museum fees in Lima are a bit expensive and I will spare money for health problems, I had to cut all other expenses a bit. I went to the Japanese hospital. In South America, there is no system like let me go and have a blood test and look at the results. You will show yourself to a doctor first. He will charge you an examination fee. In return, he will write you a paper, so that blood test or other procedures can be done. After that, you will give that paper to the authorized people. Now what do I want: Let me take a look at this heart, to get EKG. After that, a blood test is a must. Well, an x-ray is a must for this shoulder and neck. Let’s also have a urinalysis. Get it all done, right? Anyway, everything was over, after 3 days I went to get the results again. Of course, I went back to the doctor because I did not understand these numbers. The doctor looked at me and asked if there is a problem in peeing, I said no. Prostate value was high. How the heck? The urologist will see. I turned 40 and went to the urologist once until now because of an issue between the crotch. Anyway, I went to the urologist and looked at the paper. Then he said to me, go back and lower the pants. Values were high, hell I wish I had sent the test results to my doctor in Turkey. Anyway, I went to the back and lowered the pants, I think the doctor will examine my testicles, I got the situation when he said turn around, ooo dude wore gloves. I turned, he put the petroleum jelly and put a finger in me. Prostate seems healthy. Nothing but high value. He wrote me a lot of medicine. I will die if I drink those drugs. So many pills for a man who doesn’t take any. I doubted this situation. I left the hospital, sent the results to my doctor friends. They said yes Gürkan it is high. Why my prostate is high, very interesting. I have no trouble either. I will have another test. I went to another clinic. I showed the doctor my test results. The doctor asked a question: Did you have sexual intercourse before giving these blood and urine tests? Ahaaa !! I said yes. So when was the last time you had sexual intercourse? Last night. Why am I sharing this information now; It is very important information for my male readers, especially those above the age of 35. If you are going to have a blood and urine test, just like they say eat or drink nothing in the morning before blood or urine test, you shouldn’t have sexual intercourse at least 3 days before test to don’t get unnecessary high prostate value. My doctor friends didn’t tell me about this either, neither was the two doctors at the hospital where the first test was made. I explained the situation to doctor friends in Turkey, “Oh right, Gurkan. We did not think of such a situation.” they said. After learning about this situation, I went to have the tests again 3 days later and everything turned out to be normal. So I got the finger in me for nothing. My doctor friend Erol, who travels South America by motorbike, always says; “Every man will get that finger after age 40, keep that in mind.”. The cause of the pain in the neck and shoulder has also been determined; I have a nervous compression in the neck due to a problem I experienced in the pool when I was on the swimming team in high school. Occasionally it recurs due to the sleeping position, this time the reason it hurts more is that the pressure increases a little more as I get older. Well it’s normal, there is nothing to do. Well then I look good. Let’s keep going.
I had to order one of these dismantled equipment from the USA. The water tank is an important issue. That tank was also a device that allowed me to take a shower in the open field, at the gas station or elsewhere. I had the opportunity to meet Selim and his wife Anita in Lima through my childhood friend Zeynep Köksal. They have a friend who will come from USA so they asked if I want anything from USA. I ordered the equipment and it arrived 2 days later. Selim works in a company that deals with the export of potatoes grown by Peruvians in Peru. It checks the quality of the products. I learn some of the subtleties of the terracing system that has been built in Peru for years.
I stop by Starbucks every once in a while in the countries I visit, I drink my coffee and watch people wandering around. In the meantime, I write down my memoirs or edit my photos and videos. I went to a Starbucks in the capital Lima. I think it was the best I’ve ever seen. There is a bookstore and cats inside Starbucks. Kitties hang out inside. Every once in a while they come to your lap or sit by your feet or something, I liked spending time here.
I mostly used electric scooters in urban transportation. They have not made a suitable path yet. There is very little network of bicycle paths in the capital Lima and it is very difficult to find a connection from one point to another. I mentioned in my previous article, the distance from Fenix and Hilal’s house was long, I went comfortably with scooter.
In Peru, there is no more climbing on the rest of the road as before the capital Lima. Of course not in Peru, continue in Ecuador Colombia. Now it is the most important area in Peru that I have been wondering about for years. It is a place close to Lima but overlooked by many or not visited because it is not famous. In fact, it is the most important historical city in North America and South America. There is no older one. There is no older settlements either. Whatever Göbekli Tepe means for the world, this point means that for both North and South America.
I learned about this area for the first time during a museum tour in Argentina from another group that visit the museum. I started doing research and reading and I was very surprised by what I learned. The year is 2017 and I was just learning such an important point. During my high school and university years, I neither watched a documentary about this place on TV nor heard anything about this area during my travels. Two years after learning it is time to pedal to this extremely important point. Caral Ancient City, the capital of Caral civilization.
Something about CARAL has been written on the internet, but not by travelers. There are mostly articles written by tourism companies. Only the importance is mentioned, hard to see other details. I guess the fact that the environment is a bit dusty and far from large settlements does not make it attractive. In addition, when you start to tour the other towns of the civilization in the 23-kilometer long corridor that starts with the ancient city of CARAL and extends to the seaside, Machu Picchu stays near this place for a bit small. Instead, it is more attractive to take daily trips from Lima by buses. But as I said, the field is in dust. CARAL is 180 kilometers from the capital Lima, by a regular intercity road. There are also businesses nearby for accommodation, but they are not like in other famous areas. Since I stayed in a tent, I did not examine the accommodation areas in the region in detail.
After leaving Lima, I went to this ancient city of CARAL civilization, 71 km and 46 km from the back road in two days. On the second day, there is no land other than 46 kilometers. I would recommend this back road to anyone traveling by 4 × 4, motorcycle and bicycle. There is a very nice mountain road view. Part of this road passes by the poultry farm, and once again I realize how well I made the right decision to stop eating chicken.
Before entering the Caral settlement, I set up my tent next to a large dune. I arrived at the evening, it is okay to wait next day for walking around inside. This is an important point, it is useful to visit in detail. I am also very exited. The place where I set up the tent is right next to one of the oldest civilizations in the world and the closest pyramid is 300 meters away. In such areas, one feels awkward. During the night an owl crept into the tent. Guguuuuk guk guuuuguk guk. Shut up! No, he took me out of the tent twice. After the squirrels, don’t let the bike get hit by an owl. Now, many people who read the article and who know Peru may say “Gurkan, you are exaggerating. There are much more important places in Peru in historical way. There are few local or foreign people visiting the places which I will share. I wrote the reason. Let me start sharing.
The CARAL civilization has been proven to be older than 3.000 BC, it is about 5000 BC. Caral is the oldest settlement in North and South America. The first structures were built between 2.800 and 2.500 BC. It’s not such a small settlement either. There are 7 pyramids and many other social areas inside. Yes, there are pyramids that we know quite well. Until today, most of them could not survive due to erosion, but in accordance with their originals, almost all of these pyramids are being restored by archaeologists today. I can say they are imposing and impressive. Though I mentioned it in my articles before the restoration works in Peru. Restorations in this area appear to be more successful. In fact, there is information about the region and a welcome letter in English at the entrance (last seen in South Africa). Explanations in English in front of each pyramid or structure.
There is a fee that worth it for entrance. In addition, they don’t let you walk freely in this area. It is absolutely necessary to have a guide service. It is forbidden to go inside without a guide. Normally I get angry with situations like this but this area is different from the others. Archaeological work is ongoing and people should not disturb archaeologists or enter their field of study.
Caral civilization was existed thousands of years before the Inca, Wari, Siphan and many other Peruvian civilizations. Those people had built these pyramids centuries before the Mayan pyramids in South America and Egyptian pyramids in Africa. It is a rich and great civilization with social areas, water channels, temples, votive areas, areas they have built to watch the stars and many more details. As I said above, Caral civilization does not consist of only this city, until it goes to the ocean, there are Miraya, Lurihuasi, Chupacigarro, Allpocoto and Vichama and dozens of other campuses on the ocean shore. Excavation work continues in all of them.
The biggest reason for the destruction of the Caral civilization is climate change and earthquakes in the region. Excessive rainfall caused erosion in the pyramids made of sand. Likewise, excessive rainfall destroyed agricultural land. On top of that, when earthquakes occur, the people of the region leave this area. The discovery of this place is also interesting, in 1948, the American historian Paul Kosok discovered this area, but even then it was not in demand because there was nothing to see around. The country has ignored this area when it has values such as Inca lines, Machu Pichu, Tikikaka lake and its surroundings. It was skipped without even the carbon test. In 1975, while Peruvian architect Carlos Willim was studying the ancient city architecture in the Andes mountains, the amphitheater and pyramids were noticed by his colleague Ruth Shadiy. According to the researches, the Caral civilization in South America was also experiencing the same magnificent period at the same time when the most magnificent periods of Egyptian civilization in Africa were experienced. But let me repeat it again, this is the oldest settlement in both South and North Africa.
After Caral, I visited these settlements one by one by bicycle, but they did not let me in because the archaeological excavations were ongoing. I could only get into one. Vicham, I’m glad I went. I am already going all the way to the ocean shore and this ancient city is in a small town.
I came across a symbol or relief that I was very surprised when I saw it. The ancient city of Vichama was also a very large settlement during its period. They also let me tour this area with a guide. I waited for an hour for the guide to arrive. They are not very visited places. That’s why when you arrive, local authority calls the guide from the town. While the guide was describing the buildings inside, he also mentioned that there are many artifacts that need to be unearthed under the ground. In the meantime, he also explains construction techniques according to different criteria. At the top there was temples, settlements of the rich, social areas around temples. From the point where we are, I look at the opposite hill where houses had been there. Because the hill opposite is much higher than the hill that we are standing. I asked if there was any archaeological excavation work on the opposite hill, he said no. At that time, people had height obsessions because of their beliefs. I believe that if a research or excavation is done, there will be a lot of artifacts on the opposite side. But does Peru need these excavations too? Wherever you dig something comes out and everywhere is quite famous. After giving that much money to excavation work, there must be a return to this. That’s why Caral is discovered so late.
When I saw the symbol in Vichama, I changed continent in my memories and went to Morocco. Well, this same symbol has existed for 1,500 years in the Amazith language and flag. Locals use this symbol in Morocco. It means free man. “I don’t have anything, I don’t need anything either.” Look, that was interesting. The Amazith language is also from the Germanic language group, so their origin goes back Scandinavian geography. Oh, it’s a mess. When I tell the guide that I saw the same symbol is in Morocco, he is surprised too. In fact, I showed one of the photos which I took in Morocco on the internet. I also express that the symbol has been used for many years. He can’t establish a connection either. Perhaps it is really a coincidence :). By the way, the same symbol was also used in Colombia. This symbol reminds me of another shape, which is a completely different subject, as if the symbol has been changed over time, and then I find what I am looking for. What do I come across while cycling from here to there. I’m surprised.
When proceeding on this route, you can go to the mausoleum of the King of Siphan. They buried him next to a pyramid (the sand dunes above are actually pyramids, rain waters have turned it into this), I also visited two magnificent museums where items from the cemeteries and other areas are exhibited. After taking the first round of the best of these museums, I was taken out by the security while taking the second round. If you ask why; They took me out for taking photos inside. They also wanted to delete my photos, but I was able to transferred a few of them to my mobile phone.
I wanted to take a photo of the famous golden armor of the King of Sidan without using flash. They were watching from the cameras quite well, although I tried to shoot it secretly:). While entering, they asked especially many times at every door; do you have camera or phone, camera, phone. Since I knew the situation beforehand, I hid them all at the entrance. There is some distance between the museum where the Sipan King’s belongings were found and the place where he was buried, but it was nice to see both points. This gave me a lot of information about Peru’s rich history and local people. In other words, there are magnificent kingdoms and civilizations in this land until the Incas. Moreover, it is a route with very interesting details that will attract everyone who is interested in world history.
Until I go to Equator, the desert geography dominates the majority of the road and in a part of this desert I get a distance of 212 kilometers in a very short time with the support of the wind. Just as I approached the town, there is an interesting black smoke in the middle of the road. When I was trying to understand what is it, I realized that the smoke was coming towards me. When I get closer to this blackness at 30 km speed, it was too late to stop now, I have to go through it. It was a swarm of wasps. I had a long-sleeved shirt on me, a desert hat on my head, glasses in my eyes, and a buff in my mouth because of the grains of sand from cycling through the desert. Although I was covered on all sides, somehow one of these bees managed to get through the buff and sting it over my eyelid. I could neither shout nor stop. I continued driving at full speed. I immediately stopped when I got out of the bees.
I have been in great danger, this is the first time something like this is happening to me. Where I stopped, I immediately put cold water in my eye, which I bought from the market, and by the way, I look at the condition of my eye from a small mirror. The needle is stuck on it. The next day, my left eye was completely closed. I rested for a few days in this city called Piura, which is close to the border and continued on that way.
The next country is Ecuador. During wondering what kind of adventures await me there, there was a uprising in the country. This time things started before I entered the country.