La Paz to Juliaca: Into Perú...


It was fantastic to get out of La Paz and back on the road. Although, climbing back up to El Alto was knackering. Think the city-headonism took a bit of the umph out of my legs. Next problem was finding my way throught the honking minivans and crowded streets to find the right direction to Copacabana. After a while I gave up and had lunch at a roadside cafe. Even on my second go it took another hour or so to finaly get out of the sprawling mass.
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Once I was through that it was back to the typical altiplano scenery. Flat farmland, the cordillera blanca in the distance and the ocassional woman in tradditional dress walking past with some bulls. Sometime in the afternoon I had my first glimpse of Lago Titicaca. It's nice.
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After a pleasant campsite near a mobile phone mast, I hit a hilly section, a bit like the Scottish Borders. Then arrived at Tiquina where I had to take a barge across a bit of the lake. First I got a big lunch. The barge I was on appeared to have been knocked together by a deranged, coffin maker, with no sense of aesthetics, on a friday afternoon just before he clocked off. Somehow it stayed afloat, and I even saw buses on these things. The ten-year-old driving, very nonchalently, with the toe of his flip-flop, got us to the otherside and I was glad to be back on solid ground. Again I was reminded of Scotland as this part of the lake looks very much like the Isle of Jura.
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I stopped for the night in Copacabana and stayed in a hotel. My first time doing so. Very plush it was too. Cheaper than the hostal in La Paz too. What the hell?
mini rome?
In the morning, onwards. It was a very smooth border crossing because I arrived in the nick of time. Just before a bus load turned up and the queues rolled out the door. I wasted no time in scooting on to Pomata for lunch: fresh fried trout. I'm guessing not long out of the lake. Delicioso. I passed through Juli only briefly. It is supposed to be a mini Rome but looked pretty average to me. Then again, I'm not a massive fan of Rome itself.
With the light fading I had to accept that I wouldn't make it to Puno and looked for a campspot. Acora turned up first with a real cheap dive of a Alojamiento. Ah, thats better! Three course dinner was a cyclist-friendly carbo-fest: pasta soup followed by a pasta and potato stew with rice accompanied by a bread roll. Then a mug of something hot and sweet and I was off to bed.

Today I nailed it to Puno and hung around a bit, got some lunch and then continued to Juliaca. Pleanty of daylight left but I decided to stay here for a good reason. The streets are frantic. More insane than La Paz. There'll be lots of street food, weird things going on and people shouting "Gringo!" at me. Perfect!

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