Sunday, July 17, 2011

Around Titicaca Lake

The border crossing from Bolivia to Peru was easy and fast. All the way from Copacabana to Juli is continuously populated. Hostal El Palacio (10 Sol), 30m down the road from the plaza, provided us a comfort shelter from the light rain. They had a sun based heating system, meaning cold showers. We stayed in the 3rd floor and our bicycles in the garage.


Before we managed to get out of town we had 2 flat tyres, probably because of the cold puddles. At night it snowed on the mountains around us and in town it was still raining. On the way out of town we met 2 cyclists, Sam from the UK and Gerard from Spain, who plan to get to Ushuaia and to Santiago. They gave us their map of Peru, which was very helpful as our Bolivia map was about to end.


Lunch was delicious in the market of Ilave: fried fish with rice and broad beans and fried cheese (16 Sol for both of us). We couldn´t get the vendor to give us the name of the cheese, except for simply - cheese. There we got more evidence for the Peruvians´ cruelty against animals, when living sheep were tied up and put on top of vans as personal luggage of the passengers.


We rode in the beautiful valley until the 450 years old town of Chucuito, and stayed in the first hostel we found, Hospedaje Cajas Reales (10 Sol, Phones: 951632335 / 951351783 ).

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The owner made us a good dinner of lamb soup, fried chicken fillet, potatoes and marinaded vegetables (16 Sol for both of us). Surprisingly, she has degrees in social working as well as in business management, but she claims that it is still better for her to operate her hotel, restaurant and grocery shop, as it is impossible to find a professional job in Peru without a godfather.

We had a serious breakfast: fruit salad with walnuts, an omelette with nettle (urtica), bread, plum cake marmalade and lemonade with mint from the garden.


Before leaving, we went to see the old church which was unfortunately closed.


We met a German couple who were cycling from Lima to the Bolivian jungles. After Amit fixed another flat tyre, we had a nice view of rocks in different shapes and colors.


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In Puno we took a right turn and rode by the beautiful beach, but then had to retrace in order to get out of the city, and climbed 3 km in 40 minutes. In return to the climb we got a nice view of the city and then descended back to the lake level.


The 30 km straight road to Juliaca seemed especially long due to strong face winds.


We barely made it to this ugly city before dark, and were welcomed by many moto-taxis/cycle-taxis, buses and endless honking.

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After a price survey of 5 hotels, we stayed in Yasur hotel (25 sol for both of us), in the 3rd floor, and managed to convince the owner to keep the bicycles on the 1st floor. We ate in a so-called Chinese restaurant: rice with shrimps (11 Sol) and rice with vegetables and chicken (8 Soles), both came with a soup.

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As we told the hotel owner in the evening, we woke up at 5 AM and were ready to hit the road at 9 AM. Unfortunately, our clock was on Bolivian time and in Peru was only 8 AM, so we had to wait for an hour until he came to unlock the room with our bicycles. After another flat and straight ride we got to a nice valley, where we stopped to lunch.




While we were eating we met Rene from Germany, with whom we switched information and maps. In Pucara we slept in an ugly hostel with cold showers (again) and a stinky pig pen in the backyard.


This place is also a factory of ceramics puppets for religious tourists.

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In order to satisfy our hunger, we had to dine twice (5 Sol each time). We left early and had time to see another closed ancient church.


For more photos of this post click here


                       Shoham & Amit
                     South America by Bicycle

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