Crossing the border: Puno to La Paz

Our final days in Peru were spent cycling around Lake Titicaca. The first glimpses of the lake were mainly of reeds but the views improved as we headed towards Bolivia. We pensively followed the progress of storms around us, hoping they would not come our way.

DCIM100GOPRO

We enjoyed a tour of Juli’s Plaza de Armas on the front of Bremma’s tandem….

IMGP1806

…. checking out the local thatching standards along the way.

IMGP1808

After a final blat along the altiplano, we finally reached the border. There was no jail time for overstaying our visa but we did have to pay $1 for every extra day, plus s/25 for the pleasure of the experience. As usual, the border control officials were not open to any humour of any kind and documents were processed without even the peep of a smile. After 3 1/2 months in Peru we were very sad to leave. I highly recommend a visit, if you’re contemplating a future trip.

IMGP1818

So, into a new country: Bolivia. A simple form to fill in and documents processed without even establishing eye contact and we were good to go.

IMGP1820

First stop in this new country was at the lakeside ‘gringo’ resort of Copacabana.

IMGP1821

With a Barry Manilow ear worm we entered the busy town and found a restaurant that would let us set up camp for the night.

IMGP1823

The following day was a stunning ride up out of Copacabana….

IMGP1826

….. and down to a short ferry ride across Lake Titicaca.

IMGP1828

We are impressed with their enthusiasm to decorate their cars.

IMGP1831

The weather was kind and we were afforded some stunning views of the lake from the Bolivian side.

IMGP1834

Unfortunately the weather deteriorated. It began with impressive thunder and lightening storms across the lake and then continued with heavy rain overnight, followed by consistent rain all the next day. We had a very wet ride into La Paz. It was also one of the most terrifying rides I have experienced. There were potholes nearly the size of Lake Titicaca, heavy traffic and pedestrians taking their chances through it all. It was a white knuckle ride down the steep cobbled streets in the the centre and I was running mainly on adrenaline. I was so relieved to arrive at the Casa de Ciclista, a haven for weary cyclists in the middle of La Paz. Some may say it somewhat resembles a homeless squat but to us it feels like home for a few days. We have met up with our Aussie cycling chums once more (previously seen showing off their Christmas calves) and are enjoying some good eating, drinking and socialising.

IMGP1838IMGP1839

New chains have been purchased, laundry is being done, repairs are in process. A good time to catch up on jobs and then we head south across the Bolivian altiplano and towards Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid territory.

 

Advertisements

Cusco to Puno

We ended up spending 8 days in Cusco. It was fun to have company for celebrating Christmas and New Year. A very sociable time with much eating and drinking. We did manage to fit in some sight seeing. Here is the Plaza de Armas, just after a heavy downpour.

IMGP1767

Lots of ornate stonework and doors.

IMGP1766

Passing by Inca stone walling after buying panetone.

IMGP1761

Couple by couple our cycling buddies headed off. Ben and Tina (Australians) heading to La Paz where we hope to catch them before they fly out.

IMGP1760

Brendon and Emma (Australian) heading south who we have crossed paths with regularly since. Check out their website http://www.totallytandem.com . Maybe make a donation to their charity World Bicycle Relief as an offset for all those Christmas excesses….

IMGP1755

And Sanne and Koen (Dutch) who were heading northwards into the jungle.

IMGP1763

Finally we dragged ourselves away from the delights of Cusco (especially the bakery two doors down from the hostel) and headed off on the road towards Puno. The architectural influences from Cusco were to be seen in the villages along the way.

IMGP1775

The road was good and it steadily wound it’s way up the valley. Fresh sprinklings of snow could be seen on the tops every morning.

IMGP1780

This is the preferred form of transport in Peru. It can carry food, agricultural supplies, gas cylinders, animals and people. Sometimes all at once.

IMGP1781

We made friends along the way…

IMGP1784IMGP1786

The road was paved with a shoulder so the kilometres went smoothly by.

IMGP1788

We passed through the main guinea pig / cuy breeding area. We thought these murals were rather special. Tipo III particularly reminded us of musk oxen.

IMGP1789

I received the sad news that my Grandad had passed away and spent the hours climbing our final mountain pass in Peru reminiscing memories of him. I particularly enjoyed remembering how he used to give us lemonade telling us it was ‘magic water’ ¬†and his love of indoor fireworks ( a legacy remaining in our family). When we reached the top we toasted him – the cyclists way with water bottles.

IMGP1795

We were then onto the altiplano and the kilometres flew by. A real delight after all the climbing we’ve had in Peru. The rainy season is chasing us but at least on the altiplano you can see it coming…

DCIM100GOPRO

With dampness in the air we dropped down into Puno for a rest day.

IMGP1803

Two more days of cycling until we reach the Bolivian border. We have overstayed our Peruvian visa so will have to pay a fine at the border. Let’s hope it’s as easy as that.

We spent time in Cusco researching and planning our next few months of travel. Flights have been booked and we will be flying from Santiago, Chile, to Inverness, Scotland on 17/18 March. From Inverness we shall be spending 5/6 weeks cycling home to Moretonhampstead, Devon, visiting people and places along the way. If you live anywhere between Inverness and Moreton then drop us an email and we’d love to catch up with you. Even better, come and cycle a leg with us…………