Published: September 6th 2012September 6th 2012
So, we went straight from Santa Cruz to Copacabana on the shores of Lake Titicaca for a few days R&R before crossing into Peru.
Not the most exciting of places, but a great chance to witness the Pachamaman hypocrisy first hand. Pachamama is like a super-deity, the Andean mother earth crossed with the virgin Mary (the conquering Spanish just kind of amalgamated all this shit), who the Bolivianos pay respect to.. by smashing their rubbish all over the parish. Walk 10 mins out of Copa and there is a kind of market, which presumably sells bottles of stuff just so people can hoy it against the rocks. A large mound of broken glass rises out of the Lake, out of which most locals fish.
This is Bolivia all over though, generally locals spill a little of their beer as an offering to Mother Earth for luck, or guidance, but will also lob shitty nappies out of the car. The whole Pachamama thing seems akin to battering your wife in order to get your tea. Copa is a bit of a shithole blessed with setting. The sunset from the deserted hostel roof was stunning, but the same could not be said of the people! Folk in shops were wonderfully rude and acted inconvenienced when you showed some western capitalist desires, namely wanting to frigging buy something. One elderly lady even went so far as to throw (plastic) cups at me cos I didnt want any of her shite, tasteless coffee. (Of course, I didnt phrase it as such.)
After a couple of days dodging hastily thrown shop items we got a boat to Isla Del Sol.. which is utterly amazing. We got off at the southern end and walked up to the north (it would seem that people do it the other way) staying in a cheap hostel on the beach. The walk takes from 2 - 4 hours; it took us 5. Wear a hat, and suncream. The clue is in the name. Spotless and oh, so quiet, it was a nice way to relax after a hike at scorching altitude, with a cold beer on the beach watching pigs trying to hump. Walking through the small, sandy back alleys at night we encountered the "dealers" on each corner... "Pssst meester... restaurant? Good price".. Boat back the next morn and tickets to Cuzco arranged.
We arrived in Cuzco around 4am and easily found a cheap hostel just off the main plaza. Procuradores is known affectionately as "Gringo Alley" and we stayed at the top of this place for nearly 2 weeks. We are sick to the back teeth of massage offers - I cant believe there are that many people in the world who want a massage at any one time. Cuzco is a nice place though, lots and lots of history - the Incan capital of old. There is an Incan ruin call Saqsyhuaman (this is probably spelled incorrectly) and is, pleasingly, pronounced sexy woman (nearly). We popped up.. and balked at the nearly 40quid entrance for the 2 of us. So, 2 days later, we walked up the road, waited for a tour bus, and jumped through the bushes. Easy! Half of it was closed for work, so really glad we didnt pay the inflated fee. Interesting site though, and great views over the city.
Then, the big one.. There are a raft of tour companies in Cuzco; we both hate tours however. We took a bus to Santa Theresa along a road to rival the one in Bolivia (I love sheer drops) and then hiked for 9k along a train track to Aguas Calientes. Hostel, sorted, tickets, sorted, beer then bed for an early rise. People pay through the nose for a tour to sort this. Seriously, dont bother, it really is a piece of piss. Got up to MP before it opened, so we were some of the first in that morning.. You HAVE to go early. The site itself is huge - much more than the typical picture. We wandered around to the Incan Bridge, a deliriously exciting walk with awesome vistas. In the UK, MP would be about 60% out of bounds. The cascading terraces contain little twisting steps, that you are free to wander about on (we think so anyway, no one stopped us). Indeed, we found a totally quiet little spot at the bottom of some terracing and had our lunch there. Didnt see a soul for 45mins. At one of the busiest tourist spots in the world. Brilliant. Supposedly you cant take food or plastic bottles. We did. Did not see any bag serches and managed to avoid spending any more cash at the site. By 11 am however, the site was getting too busy for us (tour groups are such a pain in the arse) and decided to walk back to Aguas. Ive wanted to visit MP for many years, and it certainly did not disappoint. It really is a truly stunning place.
Now we are killing time before catching our bus to the border with Ecuador, via Lima. Its only 40 hours on the bus. Que bien! So, only about 2 weeks in Peru, we are leaving without any real idea about the place which is a shame. People certainly seem friendly though - no irate shop cretins hoying cups!