Our final day in Peru

Trip Start Oct 16, 2012
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Trip End Apr 20, 2013


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Flag of Peru  , Puno,
Sunday, February 24, 2013

For some reason I was up before the alarm again and had the coffee made by the time Kory woke up. I doubt this streak will last much longer and Kory will be back to pressing the snooze button for half an hour, whilst I sleep through all of the wake up calls. Consequently we were on the road just after 8am again, which was a good start, as we knew that we had another long day ahead of us. As we were getting ready we could see out of the window on to the roads below, which were becoming packed with families setting up their market stalls. They would spread out a tarpaulin, and cover it with piles of their produce and wait for locals to mill around and look for something to buy. Each family sold something that they had grown, so you would see one hundred water melons in one place, and a couple dozen mangoes in another.  Then they were fruit juice sellers and men who sewed shoes to mend them. The area was packed with locals, and it was getting busier and busier as more people were arriving to set up their “stalls”.

It took us over half an hour to get out of the town, as the traffic was so bad. It seemed unusual, because it was Sunday morning and the streets were packed with tuc-tucs and buses. The speed wouldn't have been slower if we had been in an organised parade.

We had read in a couple of blogs that other cyclists had the wind behind them and had easily managed 150km days. We on the other hand, had the wind in our faces and really had to work hard to keep up a good pace. It took us far longer than we had hoped to get to Puno, which was only 40km away and by the time we got there, we were starving! We cycled around the city, on the by-pass and saw lots of restaurants but they were all closed. We pulled up by the side of the lake and tucked in to some more oatmeal and apple, as we couldn't be bothered to set up the stove to cook pasta.

Lake Titicaca is the largest high-altitude lake in the world, sitting on an altiplano at 3800m above sea level. It covers 8400 square kilometers and sits between the borders of Peru and Bolivia. We had our first glimpses of it today, as we arrived into Puno. We could just make out snow covered mountains on the other sides of the lake but the crystal clear waters seemed to continue on forever. Villagers had planted crops on the land to the waters edge and we saw quinoa growing for the first time. We have been looking out for it, as it is meant to be mainly from Peru, but until now we haven't encountered it.

After another hour, we finally saw a restaurant that was open and the food that was cooking smelt good. That is saying something, we rarely encounter much odour with Peruvian cooking, with the bland rice and chicken diet. I asked her what was cooking and she said grilled trout, with a herb crumb. Sold! We ordered two and they were delicious.

We continued to cycle along the side of the lake, towards our destination of Juli.  Thankfully the wind had died down enough for us to make up a much better pace and we were able to cover the 130km to the town, in 7 hours on the bikes. In the last two days we have done our second and third longest days on the trip so far, and covered almost 500km since leaving Cusco 4 days ago. Compared to our time in the mountains we were flying and couldn't believe how quickly we were moving across the map.

We easily found a hotel to stay in, which overlooked the main square of the town and had views on to Lake Titicaca. We then went out for our last Peruvian dinner and wondered what Bolivia has in store for us. We wondered what we would miss about Peru and what we would be excited to discover across the border tomorrow.

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Comments

Gramma on

Quinoa is really a pretty crop!!!! Looks like a pretty flower, too. The troat from the lake, looks yummy.....Hurray for a different menu. Love and hugs

Karen on

Good job on the distance covered! Gemma doesn't want to miss a day with her girlfriend I think!!!!

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