Day 65: Transfer To Puno

Wed. 17th October 2012

Cusco at nightToday we said goodbye to Cusco. We have enjoyed our time here – the parades, the sights, the small town atmosphere, the breakfasts at Jack’s, and particularly the chance to recharge our batteries after the Inca Trail. As it turns out, the restaurant we went to last night was one of the best and as we were reunited with those from our group who went off to the jungle, there was a bit of a celebratory atmosphere. I think we all felt ready to move on from Cusco and so there was a sense of anticipation as we headed off to the bus station (or as much of a sense of anticipation that you can have at 7am!)

I'll never complain about the services on the M6 again!It was a 7 hour bus journey to Puno, with just a single stop in what can only be described as a one-horse (and one shop) village in the middle of nowhere, with a row of toilets costing 1 sol to visit. Whilst there was a toilet on the bus (for “number ones” only), I made a fundamental mistake in not paying my 1 Sol. When we got back on the bus, I found that the toilet was broken / full / very unpleasant and so not only had to contend with a full bladder, but the occasional waft of fumes from the toilet. Lets just say that I was very relieved when we got to Puno!

Our first glimpse of Lake TiticacaAs the bus nears Puno, we get our first sight of Lake Titicaca which looks impressive stretching out into the distance with snow-capped mountains in the far background.  Puno is at 3,800m, so we have gone up in altitude again. We have acclimatised and are fine so long as we don’t try to do anything – but even climbing up 3 flights of stairs to our hotel room leaves us gasping for breath.

Traffic jam outside our hotel in PunoOn first impressions, Puno is a much smaller town than Cusco and the shops are less touristy and more ramshackle. This impression is reinforced when we get to a restaurant which is initially intended to be a late lunch. The first worrying sign is when not only are we the only customers, but they immediately flick the sign on the door to Cerrado (Closed) as soon as we get in. It took two hours from entering the restaurant to everyone being served – it reminded us of an occasion in Greece with similar service. In that case, it transpired that the manager had had a blazing row with the chef the night before, and had to phone a friend to call in a favour to cook our food!

Puno CathedralAs we haven’t exactly been starved over the last few days / weeks / months then it wasn’t too much of a hardship to declare the meal to be a combined lunch/dinner (lunner?) and settle for that – particularly as the food was tasty enough when it did arrive.




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