Before I left Arequipa I finished writing the posts, "My Inca Trail" and "Machu Picchu", complete with pictures. If you haven´t yet seen them, check them out. Getting the formatting right was murder. If the blog wasn´t free I´d complain to Google.
Just for a change I chose a daylight bus ride from Arequipa to Puno so that I could enjoy the scenery. The first hour followed the same road I had travelled on to Colca Canyon. Seeing Peru´s biggest cement factory for the second time was not a great treat.
However, the next 3 hours before it got dark were new territory. The scenery didn´t vary much. It was high altitude tussock grassland, but the tussocks are tiny compared to NZ´s great bunches of stems. Llamas, alpacas, vicuña and cattle seem to thrive on this stunted fare. Surface water was rare at first, but streams, marshes and finally lakes appeared. I saw a couple of mountain caracaras and several pairs on andean geese. Finally, in one of the shallow lakes, my first wild flamingoes. Good.
Not so good was the cold that has been developing. The day of the bus journey was the streaming nose day so I arrived in Puno with a large plastic bag of used tissues. I aso had a headache and, of course, the painkillers were in my first aid kit in the big pack in the luggage compartment.
However, I was warmly welcomed to my pre-booked accommodation in Puno, immediately offered a hot mate de coca and even provided with a hot water bottle to aid my recovery. On my scale of travellers´ resting places that rates 5 stars!
This afternoon I will visit the tombs at Sillustani and tomorrow I set off for two days touring the islands of Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world.