Puno, Lake Titicaca, and into Bolivia!

We been busy since the Inca trail!  Monday evening we caught a night bus to the town of Puno, in the south west of Peru, arriving there around 5am!  When we got off the bus it was cold, dark, and wet!  We’d slept for most of the journey and were a bit sleepy, but we sat in the bus station for half an hour till it got light.  We found a hostel and went straight to bed for a few hours – we waited till it got light because we didn’t want to be charged for that night!

We then got up around 10 to a welcome surprise, a warm shower!!!  We hadn’t had one since we left Ecuador – SUPERB – I stayed in it for ages!  We then went out to explore the town, firstly visiting the towns port on the Lake.  A bit stinky with lots of algae, the lake looked good though.  There wasn’t much to do down there except go out on a pedlow!  Feeling a bit silly we took out a pedlow in the form of a dragon!

Dragon Pedlow!Â

Pretty cool eh, to clarify Russ wanted the dragon one!  Worst thing was the rudder was knackered so we couldn’t steer the thing – we had to row it back!

Feeling pretty stupid, although plenty of laughs, we headed back to town to have a look around the main plaza and high street.  Puno isn’t as nice as Cusco, apart from the main street through town its a bit of a shanty town – plenty of poverty there.  After a bit of hassling I managed to get Russ to walk up 648 steps up the mountain overlooking the town where there is  a statue of a condor (Peru’s icon) overlooking the city.  Good views across the city and gargantuan lake!

View overlooking Puno to Lake Titicaca

That evening I met up with Dad who had flown in that afternoon.  In the photo above you can see an island sticking out on the left with a big white building on it – that was Dads hotel.  We met him over there, how the other half live!  Dad treated us to a nice posh meal (posh for us anyway), and it was great to catch up with him – having not seen him for over 5 months!

The next day we all did a tour out on Lake Titicaca together, to see the floating villages and Isla Tranquilla.  The floating villages were pretty cool, made from compressed reeds they are anchored to the lake bed a couple of KM from Puno.  There’s quiet a few islands, home to different families, interesting to see.  Absolutely everything is made from reeds, they even eat them!

After the floating islands we cruised across the lake for about two hours to the Island Tranquilla.  A pleasant island with great views, home to a community of about 1800 Peruvians.  We had to walk up about 200m to the village, something I think Dad found hard as he wasn’t quite acclimatised – his thinking he could  of done  the Inca trail changed at this point!  There is a small town on the island and we turned up right in the middle of a festival, which involved pretty much the whole town dancing in brightly coloured outfits – very loud music!

After a lunch of trout from the lake we head down the other side of the island to our boat and then cruised back to Puno.  Here’s Dad and I enjoying the views on top of the boat, aren’t you supposed to be bigger than your Dad?

Dad and I on lake Titicaca

I say cruise, when we got within sight of port a thunder storm set in, the boat was a bit rickety and had been chugging (engine revving like mad) along pretty slowly all day, but when the waves started it got pretty rocky!  At one point it rolled pretty far, Russ and Dad got pretty scared by this!  The engine went down a note and lots of black smoke came out the chimney – fortunately it kept going and got us out of the choppy bit, but then 100m from the dock the engine cut out!  After much confusion and discussion the Peruvians finally got the engine going again and we arrived, slightly relieved, on terraferma!

Last night Russ and I met Dad for a meal in the town for a traditional Peruvian meal.  Russ and I summed up the courage and ordered some Guinea Pig (we also got a lasagne just in case!).

Guinea Pig anyone?Â

To be fair Russ ate most of it, he was keener than me!  It was a strange meat a bit like undercooked chicken!  It had crackling too!  Hardly any meat though, and a bit weird having the whole thing (head and all) on the plate!  Glad I tried it, but wouldn’t rush to have it again!  I think Dad didn’t think much of it!

After the meal we had to say goodbye to Dad, as you can see the days are ticking down and we have a lot to do before we fly home!  Dad’s off to Machu Picchu (on the posh train!), which I know he’ll enjoy.

We were up early (yet again) this morning to catch the bus   to the town of Copacobana just on the other side of the lake just over the Bolivian border.    It was a straight forward land border crossing, we got off the bus got our passports stamped and then walked about 100m in no mans land before getting stamped into Bolivia.  I like land border crossings, makes you feel like your properly travelling!

Copacabana is a small nice town, also right on the lake.  The weathers been nice and we’ve been looking round the town in glorious sunshine!  Highlight was going up to the highest point (our favourite activity!)  and getting the views of the town and lake – better from here than Puno!  Its a bit of a hippy tourist town, Russ is fitting right in – I’m trying to convince him to get dreads!

First impressions of Bolivia are friendly people and most importantly its really CHEAP!  We’re off to La Paz (Bolivia’s main city) in the morning from where we’ll sort some tours around the country – think its going be a bit of an adventure, from here on in we have no plans – just need to make it to Rio for early May!
I’ve uploaded a load of photos in the Peru and Bolivia galleries.

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