02.07.2009 - 05.07.2009 46 °F
Distance traveled 241 miles
Our bus from Cusco to Puno took us to several interesting points along the road. The first was the Sistine Chapel of the Andes in Andeyhuallilas. It is an interesting mixture of Colonial/Baroque and Andean culture. It was completed by local artists and has extensive use of mirrors that were an important tool of evangelization at the time. We also stopped in another Inca ruin with one of the largest temples that was believed to be built in honor of the creator god of the Incas. The town still shows the city wall and the interior wall of the temple, some 15 meters high. The storage bins for the crops and the Inca highway used by royal messengers are also still visible.
We finally rolled into Puno as dusk fell. Puno is tucked into a bay on Lake Titicaca which hid much of the lake’s beauty. At this time of year, Puno is quite cold in the evenings but rather nice for a few hours in the afternoon. We paid a few extra bucks for a space heater for our room : ). We found a cozy little restaurant with a nice fire inside for Sara to warm up by and began to get settled. We returned several times and made friends with the waiter who had a brother along the route we were going to travel. We took a little note to deliver for him!! He was very grateful upon receiving the note as he said he had not seen him in a year!
Puno’s main square is rather imposing and the city has sprawled up the hillsides around the bay in every direction. Our colds had moderated, but some extra Kleenex was still a key purchase along with cough drops on our first day. Keeping warm was a constant goal.
While in Puno, Sara and I visited the floating Islands of the Uros. These islands are fascinating places where the indigenous people have cut blocks of reed roots to make “artificial Islands,” The have lived this way for some time between five and seven hundred years depending on who you ask. They survive through tourism, hunting, and fishing. They were super -friendly and hospitable. I helped them work on one of their reed boats for a little while. This trip gave us a chance to see a little more of the lake and was definitely the highlight of our trip to Puno.
On our last night we took Regina out to a local bar. Not too much rowdiness followed because we had to get up early for our bus to La Paz. We had a few glasses of warm wine and pisco sours and took in the local drinking scene a little.
The next morning we packed up early and headed to the bus station to travel toward Bolivia.
P.S. Sorry for the sideways photos!!!