Puno – Cusco

And then, after 10 kms (6 miles) cycling (on blessed bikes) from Copacabana, we were in Peru! Immediately we saw a tuctuc; they are used as taxi’s in Peru. It was beautiful til Puno, mainly following the lake. We met Kristoff and Nick again, together with 2 Argentinians so we had a good time cycling to Puno.

Puno is not very special. The touristic attraction there are the floating (reed) islands, islands made of reed where people live in reed houses. We visited them, but it was not a big difference from being on the water at home. Of course it’s special that those islands are completely made of reed and that they float on the water, it was just a big tourist trap. Of course we were supposed to buy stuff (souvenirs) they were selling. They didn’t tell much about the islands and their history, bit of a shame. But it was nice to be on a boat again.

We cycled from Puno to Cusco. We met many other cyclists on the way, for the first time since the Carretera Austral (apart from the casa in La Paz). We could really tell we were in a more touristic area again. It was nice meeting others and sharing information again. The first part of the route was very boring, later it got more interesting when we got to see mountains again. After the only climb of the route, we descended into a nice and green valley with a river which we followed the rest of the trip. The whole stretch was pretty flat, but of course the wind had to be a pain in the ass again. Every day we had a stormy headwind which made it hard after all.

And then we finally arrived in Cusco, the city that always seemed so far away and where we had looked forward to for so long. In the hostal we met Kristoff, Nick and the Argentinians again, this time together with many more cyclists. All cyclists go to the same hostal here.

Cusco is a very pretty city (the old center) with beautiful buildings and many (big) churches. It’s a real tourist town with a lot of beautiful hotels and nice restaurants. According to the legend, the city was founded in the 12th century by the first Inca, Manco Capác who was sent by the sun god Inti to find the ‘navel of the earth’. When he found that spot, he founded the city. The 9th Inca developed the city further. In 1533, the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro conquered the city and killed the 12th Inca.

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