Thursday..........A very interesting day

Puno Travel Blog

 › entry 37 of 129 › view all entries
Main plaza and Virgin de la Candelaria Church

Had some breakfast and then we (7 plus guide) walked into town and to the Virgin de la Candelaria Church and the little chapel of candles.  I didn’t climb to Calvary, but walked around the town and then went back to Hotel Rosario del Lago for lunch.  Shortly after 1 we were put into taxis and went to catch the bus to Puno.  The bus left about 1:30. 

 

Copa is very close to the border with Peru, so we had to leave the bus, migrate out of Bolivia, walk across the border and then go through immigration in Peru.  One girl decided to go to the toilet and the bus driver didn’t want to wait and tried to leave without her.  She is always late, and this was no exception.

Virgin de la Candelaria Church

 

I really enjoyed the bus trip to Puno, looking at the changing scenery.  I had the best seat again, this time on the right side on top of the wheel, so I even had a sort of footrest.  The bus was less than half full, nearly everyone English speaking and between 20 and 30; backpackers.  As far as I could see, everyone but me went to sleep.  Reminded me of Judy’s bus trip through Liechtenstein with Jeanette. 

 

Not long before we reached Puno a non-English speaking (as usual) man, who had been in the front with the driver, asked me where I was going, where I was staying and then did I have a reservation.  He came back later with a pamphlet and told me about a visit to the Uros people who live on the floating reed islands.

Us outside Virgin de la Candelaria Church
  There was a visit by boat and I could come, I could be picked up at the hotel at 4.  I was actually interested in going, so it was fortuitous that he was on the bus (well there’s probably someone on every bus into Puno).  But I was very confused, as there didn’t seem to be enough time.  It was a while before I realized that Puno must be a different time zone from Bolivia.  So I had just found another hour.  I told the man that I had to go to the bank.  No problem, I could pay afterwards.  I had to pick up my train tickets.  No problem, he would go to the train station with me after the boat trip.  He tells me how much the train ticket is.  Yes, I know.  I already have a ticket.  I paid for it in Australia.  Where am I staying in Cusco?  With a family.
Calvary with 7 Stations of the Cross. The hill I didn't climb.
  I realize that he’s in charge of organizing accommodation, trips etc, possibly gets a cut when he introduces someone.

 

Anyway, when we arrived at Puno he came with me and took my suitcase.  I got some money out of the ATM at the terminal and then he got into a taxi with me.  By then it was 4 pm Puno time and we were running late.  He was in a hurry, but I had to walk calmly.  We got down to the wharf and he put me into a cart while he ran ahead.  Got onto the boat about 4:20 and there were about 15 backpackers already there; probably been waiting since 4.  After me two or three more people arrived and then we left for the islands.  There was a guide who gave an interesting explanation of the floating reed islands and after about half an hour we arrived there.  It is mainly a tourist attraction now, but it is interesting to see how the people lived in the past.

Street scene Copa
  We were shown how the islands were made.  The reed roots are cut in large blocks, tied together, many more reeds are cut and placed on top and always need replenishment.  The reed roots float in water.  The islands are anchored so that they won’t float away and end up in Bolivia; we are on the Peruvian side of Titicaca.

 

After the boat trip the man comes with me in a taxi, we drop off some other people and then go to the train station.  It is closed.  I really wanted to pick up the tickets tonight because there has been a lot of confusion about them.  I paid just before I left Australia, but Peru Rail didn’t seem to know whether they had received the money.  So I didn’t want to come in the morning and find that there were problems.  There were two men behind the gate.

Titicaca from Copa
  They were very polite but I would have to come back at 7 am.  The train leaves at 8.  Reluctantly, and very slowly, I get back into the taxi.  Then I am beckoned back to the gate again.  Slowly I get out and go back to the gate.  What is my name?  Eril Atkinson, de Australia I add.  Then they open the gate and I am asked to come in.  A man ushers me into his office.  I ask if he is Gregorio?  Si.  This is the man with whom I have corresponded via email recently, regarding the payment of the ticket.  He has not only my ticket for Puno (Andean Explorer USD143), but my return ticket from Cusco/Machu Picchu/Cusco on the Hiram Bingham (USD588).  He also gives me a fancy bag with Orient Express on it.  I nearly don’t take it as I wouldn’t use it.
Leaving Bolivia
  But I decide to take it anyway.  I thank him profusely; I’ll sleep better tonight knowing that I have the two tickets.

 

A taxi takes the man, that’s right, his name is Jesus, and I back to the Casona Plaza.  Jesus has been admiring the bag.  I ask whether he would like it as a tip.  Yes he would.  I pay him NS44, AUD16 for the trip.  He’s happy and so am I.

 

The room at the hotel is just OK.  No heating so I ask for a heater.  A tiny oil heater is put in the room.  I have dinner in the restaurant.  Between 40 and 49NS, AUD15 to 18, for a glass of red wine, trout with potato chips and a not very nice pancake with cold sliced bananas inside and unwanted chocolate syrup on the top.  The hotel has wifi so I send Wednesday’s blog.

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Main plaza and Virgin de la Candel…
Main plaza and Virgin de la Cande…
Virgin de la Candelaria Church
Virgin de la Candelaria Church
Us outside Virgin de la Candelaria…
Us outside Virgin de la Candelari…
Calvary with 7 Stations of the Cro…
Calvary with 7 Stations of the Cr…
Street scene Copa
Street scene Copa
Titicaca from Copa
Titicaca from Copa
Leaving Bolivia
Leaving Bolivia
Our bus, the blue one
Our bus, the blue one
Walking through to Peru
Walking through to Peru
Immigration, Peru
Immigration, Peru
Farmland Peru
Farmland Peru
Puno
Puno
Uros
Uros
Uros islands
Uros islands
Reedboats, Uros
Reedboats, Uros
Houses, Uros
Houses, Uros
Demo of making reed islands
Demo of making reed islands
Singing for tourists on Uros
Singing for tourists on Uros
Shop/restaurant at Uros
Shop/restaurant at Uros
Sunset over Puno
Sunset over Puno
Hotel room, Puno
Hotel room, Puno
Hotel, Puno
Hotel, Puno
Puno
photo by: lrecht