On the road to Puno

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September 20th 2018
Published: October 2nd 2018
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Today we take a public bus from Cusco to Puno, about a nine hour trip. However the bus exceeds expectations. It is a double decker bus with spacious seats that recline to ‘160 degrees’. We have seats up the top near the front so we get a good view of everything passing by.

The countryside continues to be big, open and dry with many villages and farmlets along the way. It is warm on the bus so everyone is stripped back to singlets and shorts and a fair amount of napping takes place. There is a toilet on board which is simple but seems to keep fairly clean - perhaps due to a lack of holding tank.

Lunch is at a roadside diner - Mike, our guide, knows the traps well enough to take our orders for burgers in advance so they are ready when we arrive. It is just as well as we only stop for about 20 minutes. Enough time for a toilet stop (one sol), a burger and an iceblock. There are some bikers there - of the Gareth Morgan, middle aged white male variety. This would be a great road trip on a big comfortable bike, long straight, relatively empty roads followed by some twisty bits.

We have a movie on the bus, in English but kind of weird followed by an array of live concerts by the likes of Rod Stewart and others of his era in the afternoon.

The only other highlight(?) of the trip is passing through Juliaca which has the reputation for being Peru’s smuggling capital for everything from CDs to cocaine. It certainly looks like the wild West as we rattle through it. The streets are all unpaved, but wide and there’s very little traffic around. There are stalls at each intersection selling plastic containers. I am disappointed not to see any drug deals going down or gun fightS. Perhaps 3pm was just to early in the day for such activities.

Puno is on the shore of Lake Titicaca and we get a glimpse of it as we arrive in the late afternoon. The lake is enormous. Our hotel is, once again, in a central location and after settling in we go to a restaurant recommended by Narelle, who we meet on the Galapagos trip and is travelling a similar route to us. The food is good, and cheap and the band of 5-6 is great, much better than our man in Ollantaytambo. We buy a CD and wander home to get some sleep - in case we haven’t had enough on the bus!

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