Away from the misty murk of Lima, to the high Altiplano and Lake Titicaca
Out of the hotel, walk through the cold air of Puno, feels more dry than frigid, like Las Vegas in January.
Check in for the train ride, wow, this waiting room is nice, and the train car nicer still. Lots of slow train riding through Juliaca—the tracks go right through a market—then across the altiplano, dry and yellow, passing a ridiculous number of gas stations. Lunch is served and cleared, and we stop for ten minutes at the high spot of the train trip, 4319m above sea level (that’s a 14er in Colorado), and take pictures with alpacas and stare at a Catholic chapel devoted to Jesus and his pains.
Back down and the winds coming up valley are more moist, and many more fields and villages. We pass one that says “Capital de Cuy” meaning they probably raise a lot for tasty eatin’, and a lot more eucalyptus on the mountainside, the train travels along a hill face on the left side for most of the way, covered in puya and fabiala? and a bit of cactus. To the right are the fields and often the highway, looking very modern with megabusses and big old trucks. It’s still another two hours to Cusco; the train trip is pretty neat but pretty long at 10 1/2 hours to cover some 200 miles as-the-crow-files. You can do the math, we’ve been trundling along at 20mph/30kph.
I start another book, and watch the valley-hillside-highway-river dance more. Tea comes and goes, some more munya tea, and we get into Cusco at sunset. Big busy place, filled with tourists. Dinner of alpaca steak (alpacas are now my favorite camelid) and bedtime. At least the elevation’s lower than Puno, at 3500m or something, so we’ve come down to the level of most of the Colorado ski resorts. More oxygen hopefully means better sleep.
Tomorrow: more eating.