Sunday, September 6, 2009

Peru: Arequipa to Puno

This is Peru trip post number four and it's mostly photos.

After returning to Arequipa from Colca Canyon, I scheduled in a somewhat free day for us. In the morning we had a tour to a University museum just off the main plaza to see "Juanita" the ice mummy or "ice maiden" or "ice princess". It was a fascinating tour, but no photography was allowed and they didn't even sell postcards. You can google her or watch for her on the Discovery or History channels. She's very famous.

The rest of the day we wandered around and relaxed in Arequipa's city center. Caleb fed the pigeons in the plaza, we sampled the local delicacy queso helado at an outdoor market, we got empanadas from a panaderia and ate them in front of the cathedral for lunch, we did a little shopping and walked in a city park. It was a very nice day.

school girls in the Plaza de Armas who thought Caleb was "bonito"--especially when he said "Tengo ocho anos." They were so giggly and chatty even though we only understood about a quarter of what they were saying.

a vendor we bought hand-knit hats from

we had to take this photo with the jacaranda tree since we've planted one in our backyard

Dan and Caleb trying queso helado--literally cheese ice cream even though it has no cheese in it--ice cream made with egg yolk, milk, sugar and cinnamon--on the steps of La Iglesia de San Francisco. It's a specialty of Arequipa.

Some of the many beautiful wooden doors in Arequipa:

To Puno
After our free day in Arequipa, we spent the next day on a five hour bus trip to Puno on the shore of Lake Titicaca. It was a nice bus, but there weren't any stops or sightseeing along the way except for a brief stop at the bus station in Juliaca. Juliaca isn't a very pretty place. The main features of Juliaca are dirt streets and mudbrick buildings with spikes of rebar sticking out of the flat roofs which are left in place in case they want to build another storey later. If you are going to Puno you will go through Juliaca.

In Peru you also have the option of flying from city to city or of taking a night bus. The night buses have been robbed on occasion. If you are the type of person who wants to take the small risk and is able to sleep anywhere, it's a good way to save time and money on your trip. I'm not that type of person. Our tour company booked us into the First Class compartment as you can see from the photo below (I think because we booked late and that was all that was left). It was a double decker bus and the coach compartment was the upper level. There was a bathroom on the bus and they served snacks and had movies. I guess they play bingo on the night bus.

on the bus

landscape on the way to Puno

view of Lake Titicaca from the road

After settling in at our hotel, we wandered over to the main plaza, toured the church and found a restaurant for dinner. The restaurant gave Dan a free Pisco sour with dinner. Pisco is the famous grape brandy from Peru and a Pisco sour has ice, lime juice, sugar, egg white for froth and bitters in it. After dinner, ladies selling knitwear on the street discovered Dan was an easy target for a sale. Caleb got outfitted for the cold boat trip the next day.

How cute is this?

Be careful if you go to Puno. There were pick-pockets out looking for a mark. One tried me, but he wasn't very good at it ☺ Read your guide book and find out about the tactics they use so you can spot them. All over Peru, wear a money belt for your passport, immigration card, ATM card, credit card and most of your cash and keep a close eye on your camera and other items.

Puno is at 12,500 ft altitude. It's often below freezing at night. Wear layers.

We don't have a lot of photos of Puno because it's not as scenic as other cities in Peru and we didn't really spend much time there, but it's worth the visit for a boat tour of Lake Titicaca. Check back for my next post on that!

Copyright 2009 text and photos. All rights reserved.

1 comment:

  1. Nice pictures! I am jealous about the ICE PRINCESS! I think she is awesome and would love to see her in person!