The time had come to leave the wonderful town of Cusco. I felt a little sad at the thought of leaving the place I had called home for the past four weeks but also extremely excited about the rest of South America that is out there waiting for us to come and explore it! Cusco will always hold a special place it my heart. I learnt so much about the Incan culture, the traditions of Peru, the land and pacha-mamma. Of course I learnt some of the Spanish language there too. Did you know that Peru has over 500 different types of corn and over 300 different types of potatoes. That’s insane!
So anyways we were to board our first of many long/ overnight busses in South America. Our last stop in Peru would be the little town of Puno which is located approximately 8hrs by bus from Cusco. We took a taxi to the bus terminal of Cusco. It was like as soon as we turned the corner of the main part of the town we had entered a different world. This wasn’t the Cusco I knew and had grown to love. There were piles of rubbish in the middle of the road, some parts lit into small fires, there were bones and bits of rotting meat on the road and an insane amount of stray dogs foraging through the rubbish. We were in the ‘ghetto’. Next thing I knew the bus driver turned the corner and told us to get out, here was the bus station. I’m not going to lie, I was feeling pretty frightened. I looked around at all the locals and the mess of the streets, grabbed my luggage, hurried Tom along and walked into the terminal. Once we entered my first thoughts were “are we in the right place? Where are all the other tourists?” The terminal (if you can even call it that) was full of ladies in traditional dress with big bags full of market goods like llama sweaters and cheese etc.
We found our way to our gate and boarded our bus and drove away, surprisingly on time. We opted for a ‘full cama’ bus. Cama means bed in Spanish, so basically our seats were to recline into a lying down position. Our bus lived up to its reputation. The company was called Transzela and it was a nice two story bus with reclining seats, a toilet on board, blankets and camomile tea before we went to sleep. I hope all the busses are like this in South America I thought to myself. I took an avomine tablet and had a pleasant sleep. I awoke 8 hours later at 5am in the cold, sleepy town of Puno.
When we arrived to our hostel they told us we couldn’t check in til 10am, FIVE hours away. Some man came out and told us we could go to his hostel and check in right away if we wanted, hell yes we said! We ended up staying at a lovely family run hotel called Los Pinos. It was a lovely place, except we were the only people staying there and it was so cold!
We got straight into bed and slept for a few more hours. Finally we got up and decided to explore the town. We walked around the corner and saw a street that looked a little busy. Turns out its was the Main Street. We walked down the street, to the main plaza and to the famous Lake Titicaca in all of about 20 minutes. It’s a tiny, ugly, boring town in my opinion.
Lake Titicaca for those of you that don’t know is the highest mappable lake in the world. It sits at an altitude of 3,800 meters above sea level. There are many islands on the lake including the famous ‘Isla flotantes’ (floating islands). These islands are made completely from reeds and so are many things on the islands including some boats. They have lots of tours going to these islands and even a tour where you can stay with a family on one of the islands. We however, opted not to visit the islands. Although they sound cool, it wasn’t really something that interested us much and we were dying to get to Bolivia, so we booked our tickets to go to the town of Copacabana in Bolivia the next day. Copacabana is also a town situated on the shores of Lake Titicaca.
The lovely family at our hotel booked our bus tickets, organized a cab to take us to the bus station, cooked us breakfast and even put on some nice Peruvian music to set the mood while we ate our breakfast. How sweet are they!
Adios Puno, can’t say I’m going to miss you!