Taking the wrong bus in La Paz, Puno and Arequipa in Peru

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May 29th 2015
Published: May 29th 2015
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Well, here I sit in the north of Peru and I am hopelessly behind with my blog updates. The previous 3 weeks have been so busy and much happened that I really didn’t have time to update my blog. Carla has been with me the last 12 days and we had better things to do than sit in front of a PC and compose articles. That is called priorities. Nonethtless, let’s begin on my experiences in Puno and Arequipa

After a fantastic time in La Paz it was time to move on. The day I choose to make the move was the 1st of May, a national holiday in Bolivia. So the city was dead in the morning when I went to the bus station to get my ticket to Copacabana. I purchased my ticket, went to the allocated bus and off I went. The trip WAS supposed to take 4 hours, so when after 5 hours we were still on the move I got a bit suspicious and looked at my ticket. Well as the destination I had CCCB on it so I thought all was fine. Just takes a bit longer than the people told me- so I thought. How wrong I was! The bus ended up in Cochabamba after 7 hours! Absolutely in the other direction I wanted to go. What a complete disaster. In all my years of travelling that has never ever happened to me however there is always a first for everything.

So after I thought the situation through, I decided to catch the night bus back to La Paz and try my luck again. I had to wait for 7 hours in Cochabamba at the bus station and caught the 22:00 bus, arriving in La Paz at the inhumane time of 05:00. Do you know how cold it is at this time?
I was freezing and couldn’t wait for the bus to leave to Copacabana at 08:00.

This time I caught the right bus and after about 4 hours travel time we crossed the mighty Lake Titicaca; which is a incredible sight! I was at the lake 33 years ago and somehow it was a funny feeling to be back. When we arrived in Copacabana I was happy to arrive and wanted nothing more than get a bed, hot shower and something to eat after being nearly 30 hours on the road. But that turned to be out a pipe dream as there was a huge religious festival going on and I soon realise that I had no chance of getting a bed. So I booked the evening bus out to Puno in Peru; another 5 hours wait and 5 hours bus trip. What else could go wrong?!
I really wanted to stay a couple of days in Copacabana as it was a pretty nice town worthwhile exploring but such things happen when you backpack freestyle.

So after nearly 40 hours on the road I arrived in Puno/Peru immensely tired and smelling like a bum. I was so happy to arrive in the hostel, have a shower and just collapsed into bed.

The next day I just strolled around town and tried to remember anything, but anything about this place as I have been here 33 years ago. I also thought that I had successfully linked my trip from than with my trip now. I couldn’t recognize anything anymore and I wasn’t sure if it was my failing memory or just that time had changed so much. I must say I did have a nice time anyway. There is not much to see in Puno and in a way that was nice. It was an authentic Peruvian town that somehow was bypassed by mass tourism. Though there were some tourists in town, as Puno was the gateway to Lake Titicaca, but compared to was I was to experience in other towns in Peru it was minimal.

On the second day I took an organised day tour of the lake and it was rather nice. Though it was also verytourist-orientated, especially visiting the floating islands and the natives that lived on them. Talk about a human zoo! Come to think of it, I wasn’t sure if they really lived on the islands or if they took a speed boat back to Puno once the tourist had left. The other highlight was visiting an island where we had lunch and saw the natives doing their thing. Again a bit too much of human zoo for me, but such is life.

So after 3 days in Puno it was time to move on. I had to be in Cusco on the 10th of May as my Carla was to arrive on that day and I really wanted to see Arequipa between. So after a 7 hour bus trip I arrived early afternoon and what a town it was. Again nothing what I remembered, but it was distinguishable; clean and great restaurants. The atmosphere was something. I loved it.

Now I have been in Arequipa before and remember it very well. In 1982 Deutschland played Italy in the world cup and the mad football fan I am now and was then, I watched the game in a bar there. The day before the game I bet with some Peruvians that Deutschland will win and for every goal the looser had to buy a bottle of Tequila. Well, Deutschland lost 3:2 and I had to buy 5 bottles of the stuff. To be honest I cannot remember much and to this day I have to throw up when I even smell Tequila. What such a memory or lapse thereof!

Arequipa is a great town and I enjoyed 4 fantastic days there. Their churches are elaborate and the Plaza de Armas is fantastic. It is huge with a great fountain and doves everywhere. At night the whole town is at the plaza and it is full of life. Arequipa also has a lot of interesting museums explaining the pre-Inca time and Inca period. One of the most amazing museums is the Santa Catalina Convent. This convent was opened to the public in 1970 after four centuries of mystery. This place is huge and you can visit the old living quarters of the nuns and see how they lived. In the old times the nuns were completely cut off from society and once they entered they did not leave the place. Even when they died they were buried inside the walls of the convent. Life wasn’t interesting for them, getting up at 03:00 to “pray”, work and go about their morbid business. No Pisco for them!

So that’s it for this update. It was a distinguishable and eventful time I had and it was good to see the places again I have been such a long time ago. Not that I remembered too much about them but it was still good. My next update is about Cusco, my reunion with Carla and the most amazing trip she organised to Machu Picchu. You have to love that girl as she really went out of her way to make my dream to go back to Machu Picchu one of the most amazing days I had in my life. But more to that later.

Hope you enjoyed this short trip update and as usual leave comments and please like the pictures if you can. Hope you are all well and safe wherever you are and thank you for reading it all the way to the end. Until next time...

Additional photos below
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29th May 2015

Thanks for the update...
although you probably wish you could forget the trip from Bolivia to Puno. Great to see that Carla has rejoined you.
31st May 2015

Peru is ....
... a great place and there is sooooo much to see and do. You will read that in the next updates. Hope your travels are going well as well.
31st May 2015

Well, sometimes we ..
.. are making the wrong move and have to live with it. It wasn't great but I only lost one day. And yes it was good to be back with Carla, even if it was only for 12 days. But hey were special days..... Take care and until soon
30th May 2015

We loved every minute of our time in Peru. Love your stories and great photos. Hope our paths cross soon.
6th June 2015

Good to hear you are well!
Schön dass es dir gut geht und das du so eine interessante Reise hast. Vom Lake Titicaca, habe ich leider nur einen Dokumentarfilm gesehen, aber den würde ich auch gern mal besuchen, wobei bei mir Nord-Brasilien noch lieber gesuchen würde. Aber über deinen Blog erfährt man so viel, da habe ich fast schon das gefühl, dass ich doch schon einen guten Einblick bekommen habe. Ich bin immernoch der Meinung, du solltest deine Bilder verkaufen, sie sind einfach spitze. Alles Gute und bis bald im Netz. Sylvia

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