Lima, again this morning, was drizzly and damn, I’m happy to leave. We Ubered over to the airport (one hour to go, what, 20km?) and while the checkin and security lines were long, they moved very quickly; the airport feels efficient, more so than, say, Frankfurt Airport did last year.
The Latam flight out was uneventful; after ten minutes we left the coastal stratus behind and angled southeast over rugged barren yellow and beige and gray mountains, with a rare narrow river valley now and then with some farming happening. Other than that, there were hardly any settlements, or roads for that matter. I entertained myself by looking at distant mountains and figuring out which was the tallest one I could see (answer: Volcan Corpuna, over 21000 feet tall, a white long ridge on the southern horizon).
As we descended, I spied obvious glacial valleys, U shaped, and a few trees and such here and there, and sometimes a house or enclosure, but it was really hard to get a sense of scale, and then boom we were on the ground and braked hard as we landed at Juliaca.
Juliaca wasn't much to look at, a flat brown city with half-completed houses? buildings? many of which looked abandoned. We picked up our bags quickly and met ur guide and car and driver for a little tour, driving out through the center of the city which was busier with commerce, but still wasn’t appealing.
Our local guide, Kevin (who did not look like a Kevin) took us to some mildly interesting pre-Incan funeral towers, with a nice view over a deep blue lake, then onto Puno.
Puno is a super-hilly town (what? that’s a surprise) and our very nice hotel (Tierra Viva) is a block away from Lima Street, which is pedestrainized and full of restaurants for us touristas. We picked one on the square named Mojca (which might’be been pretty but was torn up for reconstruction), I had an excellent alpaca cannelloni, Chris had confit of cuy (guinea pig) which he pronounced interesting but somewhat not worth the effort to pull all the meat off of the rodent.
Altitude, hm, well it’s bothering me about what I expected. Puno is close to 13000 feet elevation, and my ears are ringing and I have a faint headache, and something in my tummy for most of the day made me a little nauseated. This all should pass though, and tomorrow I’ll be feeling better.