Lago Titicaca

31 august upto 09 september 2014: 173km
Huarina – Lago Titicaca – Puno

When leaving Huarina, we decide to take the less touristic route eastside, direction Puerto Acosta.
We cycle northwards, and the first glimpse we saw of the Lago before Huarina will be the last one as well for the next 40km.
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Instead we cycle through more or less boring fields and meadows in brownish-green – with a few exceptions in fresh green 😉
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– until it´s early afternoon and strong wind comes up. The grey clouds above us gather really fast to dark grey and within minutes a mix of hail and rain patters on our heads while we are in the middle of a steep climb.
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It becomes one of our fastest tent pitchings, on the first flat spot we reach, but one hour later, when the first round of rain stops, we discover that the place is one of the best we could have chosen: a lookout spot for the lake, including the Isla de la Luna and Isla del Sol. What a view 🙂
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Sun in the morning, rain in afternoon, evening and night – this pattern will repeat every day for as long as we cycle around the lake, and we spot even specially adapted animals along the road: the Raggae-donkey, complete with rastafari 🙂
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In Puerto Acosta, the last bolivian village, we have to pass migration and get our exit stamps after a three months stay. Somehow strange and a little bit sad, we both like this great country, felt very comfortable and would have liked to stay since there is so much more to see…but this short moment of sadness goes by very fast with the help of the two officers working here who are very friendly and even joke around a bit.
We stay in an Alojamiento in the village and like every night since La Paz, it starts raining at about 5-6PM, but now we are sheltered by solid walls. Only disadvantage: despite the rain we have to go down one floor, cross the big courtyard and exit the backdoor to use the toilet, all without light. But as always, in the morning the sun is out and we cycle the last kms to the border. And Bolivia sees us off in its typical manner: with a bad road and steep climbs but surrounded by great nature and some spectacular panoramic views 🙂
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The first village in Peru is Tilali and it´s one giant open sewer at the moment, all the streets are being renewed and with the rain it´s like riding in a big mudpool. Loosing balance means to stand ankle-deep in the mud, very much to the delight of the locals. But it is in this mudpool that we encounter two other cyclists, a couple from Liechtenstein, who are heading in the other direction.
From Tilali to Conima the road becomes a real coastal road and we get to admire the lake in all its greatness.
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Dark blue, shimmering in the sunlight, it seems to be expanding endlessly to our left side.
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In Conima we attempt to take a boat across the lake to Puno and find it a very complicated procedure. The dock, some km further, is totally abandoned and one has to call a small ferry to get to the Isla Suasi first, then change boats there and go on to Puno.
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Unluckily for us cell phones don´t get a signal in this area, so we decide to stay put a bit and wait if a boat or someone shows up anyway. After an hour or so a truck arrives who has provisions for the island of Suasi, but they can´t reach the island either and leave again, while we decide to put up our tent and camp here, it becomes late and the clouds are gathering as usual.
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In the morning, due to heavy rain, our tent is soaking wet and we take it easy, leave the tent to dry and have breakfast before breaking up at about 10AM. The dock still abandonned, we drop the boattrip idea and cycle on towards Puno, or better said towards Moho, the next village. There the road leaves the lake again and since we are not very fond of more cycling across fields and I (Katharina) feel sick we take the bus for the remaining part.In Puno we get our entrance stamps for Peru and try to go to bed early to get rid of my sickness, but we don´t get much sleep for the first hours: there are numerous dogs barking continuously, and one of them keeps on going until there is a loud splash of water: obviously someone else was annoyed as well and poured a bucket of water over the dog 🙂 This helps but we decide to change Hospedaje anyway the next day, Puno is one of the biggest and most touristic cities around the lake and finding another Hostal is not really hard. The next few days have little change in them: Iˋm still sick and spend most of the time in bed, while Bram strolls around the streets (which isnˋt easy at times, since boardwalks in Puno are hard to conquer) and brings in some healthy food from time to time.
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Cycling on would not have been an option anyway: it is cold and every day there are still some showers – mostly accompanied by lightning and thunder. A very unusual weather for this time of the year like the locals tell us, but nowadays there seems to be less and less stability in weather conditions all over the world. When I get better, we visit Las Islas de los Uros, some kind of floating islands made out of reed – yes even the soil – but it is a bit disappointing. We don´t really get much explanation and the island we can walk around at is rather small.
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The only aim seems to be to sell stuff to visitors and when we don´t buy anything the mood changes noticable. Not a good experience and hopefully not typical for Peru. But this we will find out another time. For now, we decide to leave Peru and go South to Chile. We are longing for warmth and are not very motivated to stay for some more months high in the Andes as it would be necessary to cross Peru to the North and right now even the famous yellow (!) Inca Kola would not give us enough energy.
The only possibility could have been one of the funny public transport vehicules of Puno, but they are not serving long distance 😉
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