Visited Arg, Brazil and Chile last year and fell in love with South America. Back this year to discover Peru and Bolivia.
It's our 40th birthday present to each other..................but why wait til you're 40..............!!!
Looking forward mostly to visiting Cuzco and La Paz (John), and The Inca Trail (Denise).
Our trip was inspired by the travels of Michael Palin on his journey - "Full Circle".
June 2nd 2011
...........Taxi pick up at 6-30am for transfer to Poroy rail station, for the train to Machu Picchu. Poroy station has all the nice touches that come with following a tourist trail catering for rich Americans. It has the nice coffee bar, John has his first coffee in 2 weeks............................and a waiting area reproduced to a time of the 1920s. As we follow the rivers and valleys, 3 hours in total, we can see the walkers on the Inca Trail at the side of the tracks, which is quite sad for us really, when you think we have our passes in our bags but cant use them....................nevermind, we arrive at the town station at about 12pm. No problems with travel or sickness, and we decide to leave the oxygen tank in the hotel, taking only the emergency ... read more
May 30th 2011
.......must have kissed a witch in a past life.......ok, here we go...... a half hour after getting to the hotel room in cusco - fri lunchtime, altitude sickness comes back with avengeance even though we are now 400m lower than Puno. John asks D to call for a doctor. Within 3 mins of doctor arriving, we're in the ambulance, no mention of packing an overnight bag - you're going into hospital NOW......... In Manchester the lights would have been going and the sirens too but here in mote gentile surrounds we trundle down the cobbled streets and through the many town squares at a purposeful but more discreet pace, to the medical centre. Long and short of it is that my blood Oxygen reading was 64 - should be 95-100. 64 is critically low and is ... read more
May 27th 2011
Get ready - this is gonna blow your socks off.................. We get up at about 6:30am to meet Mary, to goto the passport office. 7am South American time now translates to 11am. The streets of Puno are busy with speakers in the town´s squares preparing for today´s 5pm meeting to resolve the problems.......but not another tourist face to be seen. Passport office is closed, Mary persists (South American style) and eventually we enter via the garage and get our stamps. Lunch is soup from a Peruvian restaurant - lovely, and only GBP7 with drinks. Holiday budget is going well, you can´t spend much when you are sat on top of a boat in the middle of a lake, I guess........ Back to hotel and wait to meet Mary at 3:30 for trip to discuss a trip ... read more
May 26th 2011
We´re driven to the customs point at Preu / Bolivian border for the ferry crossing at 7:30 as planned. In the next 3 hours there are constant assurances of which boats will leave with which passengers on, and which wont. By 10:30 many people go and our party is left behind until an evenmore (overly) small water craft turns up..........................we board the boat and thow our luggage onto the top deck, followed by ourselves as there are no more seats inside.............To put Lake Titicaca into context, our crossing, and not at its widest point, is 100km and will take 9 hours. 10mins into our voyage, Peruvian border patrol turns up, some passengers are moved onto another boat, still not enough seats for us downstairs. Then another boat turns up, money is exchanged - in that oh-so-not-discreet ... read more
May 26th 2011
Arrived in Puno last night. More details to follow on next blog. D& jc... read more
May 24th 2011
An early start today to rendevous with a tourist bus from La Paz to Copacabana (Lake Titicaca). For 10.50 US$ you can travel all the way from La Paz (Bolivia) to Puno (Peru) via Copacabana on a tourist bus, it departs La Paz at 7.30am and arrives in Copacabana at 12 noon has a short stop and then travels onto Puno arriving late afternoon. Fortunately you can have a stopover on this ticket which is what we are doing. The bus is full of backpackers and doesn´t have a toilet on board ... well what do you expect for 10 dollars (Jc). It takes us nearly an hour to wind our way back up the canyon and out of the city of La Paz to El Alto (the highest part of the City at 4050 metres ... read more
May 23rd 2011
After arriving in La Paz yesterday and spending the afternoon resting we decide to head out on a sightseeing tour today. On the way from the airport yesterday Denise spotted a double decker red bus, we don´t normally do the "tourist" thing but still feeling a little dizzy with the altitute we decide that spending a couple of hours being driven around La Paz is the best option to see this sprawling city. After breakfast we head across the square to catch the bus, it´s BS50 each (5 pounds) which is quite expensive for the average Bolivian (this would buy a three course meal). We encounter our first problem, they don´t accept US dollars and the hotel cambio does not work in the mornings, banks don´t open until 9.30 and with 5 minutes before the bus ... read more
May 23rd 2011
We're back and easy like Sunday morning are in the wrong order, I got the dates wrong........! Put it down to the altitude......! ... read more
May 23rd 2011
Apologies for the break in continuity......! Feeling better this morning.......breakfast is good: ham & eggs, and ham & cheese croissants - yep, they're beginning to feature more and more in the daily diet...... We head out into Cusco and visit the Inca Walls and wander the narrow cobbled streets where the relentless street hawkers ply their crafts in pursuit of the tourist pound. At every attempt we buy water and when we can, Coke Zero.....even if the sell-by dates have always expired. We visit Inglesia de Santa Domingo, a church from the middle ages and then set off to find the main railway station that we remember Palin arriving into Cusco via. We struggle, even though our map is current and despite several attempts by John......"donde esta l'staticion"......I'm sure that's how Raul taught me to say ... read more
May 22nd 2011
As you can see we are back on the phone and back in Antarctica.......(we've tried believe us) Denise goes for breakfast and brings John back a ham and cheese sandwich.....whilst John pays the bill and checks out. Denise then sips a coco leaf tea and we wait for the taxi. For 10 soles we are taken by little more than a cart-truck to the airport by which point our lungs are suitably full of whatever fumes come from whatever fuel they run these cars on.....? Even pink diesel that most of Barlborough (past life) runs on doesn't taste like this. Regardless, we tip generously and walk into the check-in hall and join the chaos that appears to be for the Aerosur flight to La Paz. Only 2 flights a week run this route and it is ... read more