A Travellerspoint blog

Peru

Puno - Day 29

Just, Puno...

18 °C

Well, it's confirmed. There really isn't much going on in Puno at all. We probably should have took a punt on the Floating Islands trip rather than stay in the town.

We walked from the hostel down to the lake. From here, I wonder why everyone raves about Lake Titicaca? The lake is filled with algae and there are decrepit but colourful (which kind of adds to the sadness) pedallos creaking their way around the water. There is a jetty full of souvenir stalls and cafes that no one seems to be in, maybe this is due to time of year. The busiest part was around the lighthouse, where someone had put large characters from the animated film Ice Age there so people could have their photo taken. At the end of the jetty the water looked nicer.
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Turning back to face the town, the hills are filled with half built houses (much like a lot of the more rural Peru it seems), bare bricked and not very attractive. There seems to be the opportunity to turn this place into a cute 'seaside' town - paint the houses pretty colours, bring the main street of restaurants and bars to the lake side, clean the lake - but I guess there isn't the money or necessity.
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And so at 11.30am, we we're done. Puno was explored! We found a massive supermarket and this is the highlight of Puno for us ;) We bought lots of food and headed back to the hostel to plan, upload and generally chill out for the rest of the day. A trip out later in the evening left us feeling the the same and we ended up back in our room watching Austin Powers 2 with spanish subtitles!

Posted by staceywaugh 06:33 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Cusco to Puno - Day 28

Journey to Puno

18 °C

Andrew felt better this morning, which was particularly good news as we had a 7 hour bus journey to Puno. The scenery on the bus journey was generally more of the same that we've seen in Peru, but some snow capped mountains too.
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We'd heard mixed things about Puno, which is located on Lake Titicaca on the Peruvian side. Before we started travelling it was mainly good things about the floating islands of Uros on the lake, but since then we've met a lot of people who were less than impressed by them, so we decided to just use Puno as a days stopover and rest and save our money for other trips. As for what we'd heard about Puno itself, as we pulled in on the bus, it seemed everyone was right - there didn't seem to be much to shout about.

Quechas Backpackers hostel was our bed for 2 nights and it seemed fine - a small room but clean enough and based centrally. We had a walk out before dinner and there is a main street with lots of shops and restaurants on but it's tiny and set back from the lake, which is strange when you think it's the town's main feature aside from the lake. Needless to say to we didn't get up to much this evening!

Posted by staceywaugh 06:31 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Ollantaytambo to Cusco - Day 27

Over done it...

19 °C

The light flooded the room once again so we up at 7am even though we could have done with a lie in. Andrew was sick this morning - no he's not pregnant! - I think he must have over done it yesterday with all the climbing. That and the altitude.

An uneventful day in Peru really. We headed back to Cusco in another Collectivo with a driver that thought he was Tommi Makinen, which really helped Andrew's stomach. We got back to Pariwana hostel at lunchtime and Andrew went straight to bed while I went to the shops to get supplies for lunch and dinner. After lunch Andrew went back to bed and I finally got chance to upload some more pictures to the blog and post Day 13, which already feels like so long ago.

In the evening, when Andrew felt better, we did some more planning - deciding whether to go back into Argentina to see Salta and Mendoza after Uyuni and then go into Chile from there. There are so many places to go that there would never be enough time!

Posted by staceywaugh 06:29 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Machu Picchu - Day 26

The magnificent Machu Picchu

19 °C

We started early, around 5am, as the train to Machu Picchu left at 6.10am. The hostel organised a packed breakfast for us and we ordered a packed lunch too, so our bags were full to the brim with food for the long day ahead. The train journey was easy going, looking out onto the mist covered mountains, the powerful river and the life around. It was a bit shaky at times though and I did wonder how the train attendant was serving hot drinks without burning himself or other people at times.
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Just before 8am we arrived at Aguas Calientes and after a quick toilet stop, we didn't know where to go next. A woman in front of us didn't either and she had been to Machu Picchu 15 years earlier - it had changed that much. We got directions, passing over the same gushing river we saw on the train to get the bus stop, and another £25 later (the price of the return bus journey) we were on our way, winding up the side of a steep mountain. It was a little scary when buses coming down passed us! This is the view of the bus route once we were at the top:
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Then we were at Machu Picchu. What can I say? It is stunning, absolutely breathtaking. The location is beautiful and the fact that this city had been carved out and built on the top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere in the 15th century is mind blowing. And then to think that it was rediscovered as recently as 1911 and we're lucky enough to be able to travel here only 102 years later. It feels really special.
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After a short walk around the bottom of the inca city, Andrew had to get ready to climb Huayna Picchu - the mountain in the back of all the picture postcards of Machu Picchu. Here is what he says about it:
"The first part was really easy as it was downhill where you cross from Machu Picchu to Hauyna Picchu. Then it was pretty steep all the way to the top and there bits where you were very close to the edge. Some people, who were on the way down the mountain, were laughing at me because I was really heavy breathing! But I got up there in only 30 minutes, which is probably record time?! The way up wasn't as scary as I had expected, after reading all the blogs. To get to the very top I had to climb through a rock and up a little ladder, then you stand on some large boulders - a bit like Morecambe's stone jetty but a bit higher! I asked someone to take a picture of me right at the top and they didn't even get Machu Picchu in the background?! The view was really good." (Dictated by Andrew Waugh, Scribed by Stacey Waugh*)

And that's as much enthusiasm and embellishment as you will get from Andrew Waugh!! You can see from the photos that it was pretty incredible.
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While Andrew climbed I sat on a wall, taking in the view of the mountains, ruins and Llamas, and reading. At one point, a Llama decided it wanted to get involved, walked to the edge of the square, had a poo, walked to the top of the square and had another, then left us.
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Once he was back (Andrew, not the Llama), we walked around the rest of the ruins and had lunch sat in the shelter of one of the settlements.
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We then took the trail to the sun gate, which is the point that those who take the Inca trail (a four day trek to get to Machu Picchu, which is closed in February) first see the inca city in the distance. It's about an hour and a half round trip, uphill for the first half, but worth every laboured breath.
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And finally we took the short trip to the Inca bridge, which has some good views but the bridge really isn't worth seeing. Apparently it's where they used to kick the wooden plank away if they were being invaded.
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The best part of that was seeing some Japanese guys stand on the edge of the rock and pretend to lift up Simba on Pride Rock and sing! Andrew joined in:
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Just as we were walking to exit the park the rain came - we were so lucky with the weather. It was a long journey back to the hostel in Ollantaytambo, via a hot chocolate in Aguas Calientes and some sort of festival, and we were so tired when we finally arrived.

  • Andrew wanted the 'Dictated' bit in as he thought I wouldn't make him sound like him!

Posted by staceywaugh 16:43 Archived in Peru Tagged landscapes mountains animals buses mist Comments (0)

Ollantaytambo - Day 25

Beautiful views and Burritos

19 °C

Today we explored the ruins in Ollantaytambo. There isn't really much to say that the pictures don't tell you - the view was beautiful from up there. It was a steep walk up to the first part, not helped by the altitude, but after that it was an easy stroll around the ruins and the hills.
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People had written their names in a cactus plant, which I suppose is better than on the ruins, and there were a few other beautiful flowers on there - for some reason I didn't expect to see dainty flowers on the side of a hill here.
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Andrew hid in here and jumped out at me!
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The walk back down the steps was much easier but still steep. At the bottom there was more flora, some fauna and running water throughout the ruins. Andrew was a little tall for the inca settlements!
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Across on the opposite side of the town was another mountain and we decided to climb up and see the ruins on there too. It was very steep and much harder to climb with no steps and I only got so far up. Andrew climbed most of the way up and took some great pictures of the town.
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The exercise had made us hungry and we'd heard good things about a place in town called Puka Rumi. We had the most amazing burritos (I would call them fajitas though as I had to make myself at the table - anyone?) - delicious, fresh food that I could eat all day every day.
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In town, the market had some strange, scary balaclavas - Dad, how about one of these to keep you warm?!
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The day was overcast and we'd been silly - we got back to the hostel and found we were sunburnt! Cold cloths, ibuprofen, water and an early night was in order as tomorrow is Macchu Picchu!

Posted by staceywaugh 05:40 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

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