The bus to Bolivia La Paz left this morning at 6:45. The border crossing was in Kasani. We walked from the Peruvian border post to the Bolivian one. Just past the border in Copacabana we had to change buses and wait two hours for a smaller one.
We passed the time with a game of Carcassonne. Reiner won twice. A few kilometers further, everyone had to get off the bus again. We were supposed to cross Lake Titicaca by ferry. The bus crossed on an extra raft. Each passenger had to buy a ticket for 2 Bolivianos. But since we hadn’t changed any currency yet and the ticket seller didn’t want to take USD, we stood there with our USD and couldn’t get on the boat! A Japanese tourist spontaneously gave us the 4 BOL (0.50 EUR), so the trip could continue. While driving through the Bolivian capital we saw a carnival procession on the other side of the street.
So we arrived at 18:00 in La Paz bus terminal. Actually we should be there already at 15:00. Our hostel is just around the corner from the bus terminal. We did not find a restaurant. There was noodle soup for Reiner and banana and Pringels for me.
Today we went from Cusco to Puno with a very comfortable double-decker coach of the company “Cruz del Sol”. There was even a cheese roll and tea included. Puno is located directly on Lake Titicaca, the largest freshwater lake in South America, at 3812 meters above sea level. Right after we checked in at the hotel “Maya Inn” at 3:45pm, we went to the port. There we took a 2 hour trip to the floating islands of the Urus in Lake Titicaca. Several families live there on islands tied together from totora reeds. The traditional boats are also made of reeds and resemble gondolas only as catamarans with cat or puma heads.
We were driven to the main island in such a “Peru Mercedes”. The houses are also made of reeds, clay stoves are fired with dried reed stalks and stand on stones. Day tourists are welcomed with pleasure and the inhabitants tell ( in Spanish ) about the history and construction of their village.
There is even a marketplace of sorts with a grocery store, several souvenir stands and a restaurant. Back on land, we bought avocados, tomatoes, carrots and mango at the market and made a raw vegetable salad at the hotel.
We got up at 4:30am to catch the 5:30am bus because we had booked a ticket today to Machu Picchu including Montana Machu Picchu with admission at 7:00am. The morning was very rainy and on our climb (lots of stairs) we saw next to nothing of Machu Picchu town.
We were also more or less in a cloud at the top. Around noon it cleared up a little , and we could already see Machu Picchu from above during the descent. We “bribed” a llama with a cracker and it looked with into our camera.
Around 1:00 we took the bus back downhill to Aguas Calientes and picked up our luggage at the hotel. Train ride to Ollantaytambo and from there in the Collectivo to Cusco. Unfortunately, we were not dropped off at the hotel as promised, but had to walk another 3 blocks uphill. On the way we bought avocado, pineapple, cheese and wine for a nice dinner in our room.
Today we explored the long lost ruined city of the Incas “Machu Picchu”. We went up by bus from Aguas Calientes. At the top, the first thing we did was get a stamp in our passport! At 12:00 we had our admission appointment. On site, we hired an English-speaking guide who accompanied us and a Norwegian couple through the city. Machu Picchu has been built in the 15th century terraced at an altitude of 2430 m by the Incas and abandoned about 100 years later for unknown reasons. Today only a few llamas live there. The buildings are located on a ridge between the peaks “Huaya Picchu” and “Machu Picchu”. There are different tickets. Today we only visited the city. We had the best weather and a great view.
It is amazing how precisely the huge rocks were set into each other and how well the walls are still preserved. The water supply and sewage system are also still intact. Since the Incas worshipped the natural elements, or had a sun god, the temple is oriented to the sunrise on the horizon between the peaks. On a given day, the sun shines through the window at sunrise. There is also a stone on the highest point of the city complex, which can be used to determine the cardinal points. Overall, it is a fascinating, majestic, almost unreal place. After the tour we walked around on our own for a while and then started the descent about 1700 m down the stairs to Aguas Calientes. There we were still beautiful Italian food.
PS. Before the entrance to Machu Picchu one is informed that there are no toilets inside the facility. One may also not go out in between times on the toilet in front of the gate. This could certainly be regulated differently, with 2 to 4 hours of sightseeing or hiking. The entrance fee for tourists is 152 – 200 Soles pP, depending on which points or peaks you want to visit. The guide could be negotiated down to 20 USD. The bus ride costs 12,50 USD pP. one way uphill or downhill. From Cusco to Aguas Calientes again there and back (bus and train) 100 USD pP.. All in all almost as expensive as Disneyland!
Today we hiked up the hill past the San Cristobal church to the Inca ruins of Sacsayhuaman. We did not go into the site itself, also known as “Inti Huasi” (House of the Sun), as we primarily wanted to get an impression of the city of Cusco and surrounding area.
A little further along the ridge, the “Christo Blanco” watches over the city. There you have a great view. Many traditionally dressed Peruvians walk through the alleys with their alpacas and have their picture taken for a tip. Downhill we went again mostly on stairs. In the evening it started to rain. We ate comfortably in our hotel El Balcon. There was gnocchi with mushrooms and vegetable lasagna. There are many Italian restaurants here.
Today we continued our journey to Cusco, a city in the Peruvian Andes which was once the capital of the Inca Empire. In the morning we had slight start problems … the cab we ordered did not come, so we had to order another (afterwards we had learned that the first cab driver had an emergency).
The flight (A320) and the car ride to the hotel “El BALKON”,
went smoothly. We had ordered the car through the Uber app.
In the main square in the old town (Plaza de Armes), you’ll find porticoes, carved wooden balconies and wall ruins from the Inca era. The Santo Domingo Monastery was built on the remains of the Inca Temple of the Sun (Coricancha). Parts of the original masonry can still be seen.
Today there was, in an Italian restaurant at the Plaza, once really good coffee with the cake! Our hotel is not far away and offers a good cuisine and a pleasant room ambience.
Today we had pasta for Silke and alpaca steak for me.
We went by bus C to the old town of Lima, 9 km away. Extra bus road, super fast, but also very crowded. In sunny weather we looked at the “Plaza san Martin” and the “Plaza Mayor”.
On the way we passed many small market passages where you could buy all kinds of things. From sweets to washing machines. Coffee we drank at McDonalds. The barista was not so fit. We got very unique hello-wake creations of cappuccino and latte macchiato. There was about four times the amount of coffee powder in it. Maybe we looked so tired?