Puno – Lake Titikaka

Bus ride depart at 7 am via taxi to bus station, onto tour bus to Puno 380 kilometers from Cusco. Have not looked closely at bike route but began to realize this is the route from Cusco we will take. That made me readjust my thinking of traffic, and much more interesting to ponder coming terrain.

Slowly followed the Rio vilconota, eventually making it to 4335 meters. Peaks above over 5000. The valley had farmers and sheep, cows, and llama grazing..as we got over the pass much drier and flatter as it opened up. We had crossed into a different region: the altoplano or high plans. Reading about the altoplano seems this area is the widest area of the Andes mountains and these high plains are the second largest in the world. I suspect Tibets are larger.
Here is a description of our tour and sites visited:

Andahuyalillas: ‘Sistine chapel of South America’: this church is one of the most beautiful examples of Andean popular religious art.- – Raqchi (Wiracocha God Temple): This was an Inca church of monumental dimensions; 100 metres long, 26 metres wide and 14 metres high.
– La Raya: This is the half-way point between Cusco and Puno and also the highest point (4335 metres above sea level). The landscapes here are stunning and typical Andean animals like the llama, alpaca and vicuña are common. It is also the geographic border between the two cultures – quechua and aymara.
Pukara: This is the most important and oldest ceremonial centre of the altiplano. There are interesting lito-sculptures and tombs.

And apparently Peru has been hit hard with global warming: snow and glaciers are going away. The peaks above us today were five years ago completely covered in snow. Apparently the last three years have seen very strange unusual weather. Our guide pointed out when we left that it was raining in Puno which was very unusual this time of year.

Stopped at several historical Inca sites. I love how the history here is traced back to as far as 11000 years BC. The Incas who developed strongly in 1500 and 1600’s and culture destroyed but the inca were never conquered and are the driving force of Peru today, or It seems to me. The people are very proud of their heritage.

Forgot my immigration card in Cusco and hotel almost would not admit me. Oops. Finally promised to email a copy when we return to Cusco in 4 days. Now we are scheduled to take a boat out to the floating islands staying with a family and learning the culture. Apparently people become very tired on the few hundred meter hike due to the altitude 12,500. We shall see.. Feel like I have been sitting around. Need to exercise and do something.

Internet here is slow and weird, can text from iPad but iPhone is sporadic. Phone will sometimes send then says turn on wifi which is already on. Have turned off cellular due to cost and use only wifi, which is available even on the bus here.

Jeanne very excited about our hotel in Puno as lots of hot water and some heat. We have come to realize this is definitely a luxury item. Oxygen available in hotel lobby. On arrival one girl was definitely in need. Hard going from sea level to here quickly.

“I would rather wake up in the middle of nowhere, than on any city on earth.” Steve McQueen


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