We need a day to unwind yet we are also hoping to combine some time today in discovering Puno township and surrounding area before we leave.
Having some washing to do, I set to this early so the bathroom is a ‘no-go’ zone with three lines strung up. This is the non-glamorous side of travel that all must face unless there is a laundry service.
We have been on the go staying and visiting islands in nearby Lake Titicaca, and it is a down day.
So if you are traveling long-term like us, just take it easy on yourself and enjoy the indoors just as much as you enjoy being outdoors.
While we are on a family travel adventure around the world, we still form a habit of slowing down once in a while. It is an advise that we believe would be echoed by most travel experts – in fact, I think we might be becoming experts ourselves as we learn it is important to avoid travel fatigue.
After all, they do say “the best way to learn is experiencing and growing through adversity”, and we have sure had a run of that lately. But for me, being a single parent on a focused ‘single parent travel journey; has made me see the sense of it all.
Finishing off Explorason’s rest time, we remember that we need to get the coach tickets. We end up organizing these through the hotel reception.
After all, our supposed trip was meant to be a prepaid tour, but we got ripped off with a fake border closure, so we are taking ourselves and leaving that to the Travel Insurance company to follow up. So I walk to the receptionist to find out how and where we can find anyone selling tickets. We want to have a tour of the town today, and the bus out tomorrow.
Realizing we still need to be out discovering Puno, we feel like moto-taxis will give us the best experience around town. So we venture out on one – this is the first time on the trip we have used one, and Explorason and I are both excited.
Puno Town Square
Every town seems to have one – the town square and usually it is here you will find the Catholic Church. Moto-Taxi number one takes us only as far as this church and square and then wander around the old streets. So much for discovering Puno! That was too short-lived for our liking.
Puma On The Hill
We then try to get a taxi to the Puma on the Hill but the driver takes us to the wharf. He then tries to get more money, so we just get out as he has taken us further out of our way. Again, so much for discovering Puno! We really are not getting far at all in this quest.
The Puma or Cougar once lived in these hills and have several names including mountain lion and catamount.
I believe that we are at the stage now that we are getting used to people trying to con us – especially taxis, and even Explorason tells them to stop it as we know what they are doing.
Frogs and Fish
We haggle over the fare with two other drivers before agreeing on a fair price and heading off. Bumping along dry and dusty roads it takes time before finding the Puma. There are some other interesting snakeheads and frogs. This place is weird and has a lot of lovers hanging out here today.
There is a magnificent view from this place and NOW we DO feel like we are finally discovering Puno! We can see right over Lake Titicaca. From here, we decide to go to the Condor but that is behind town on the other side and up another hill.
The driver attempts a steep hill and ‘Elvis Presley’ is bopping to the music on the dashboard at the front. He has no idea how to change gear, or use a handbrake.
Next thing we are screaming at the top of our lungs as the Moto-Taxi rapidly rolls backward at a great speed down the hill. He has lost all ability to brake and he is wiggling all over the road and I fear we will somersault. This driver whirls BACKWARDS around a corner – thankfully there are no cars!
Twice more he tries other roads attempting to go up at an angle. I see a lady with a horse and 2 donkeys and I thought he was going to hit them. Suggestions to get out fall on deaf ears as he is on a quest to reach the top, and he won’t stop.
Condor Hill (Mirador de Kuntur Wasi)
Finally, the driver drops us at the steps to the Condor and I breathe a sigh of relief! I look and he has perspiration dripping down his face. This experience is one we will talk about for a long time, but not what we expected when out discovering Puno!
As we head up the stairs, it is harder to breathe and I realize altitude sickness again and we take it slowly. Inside the tower, is a spiral staircase that leads to the lookout. The view is incredible.
Water For The Calf
On the way down we see a poor calf tied up in the sun and his water is dry. My son is so gentle with it. He talks and strokes it and calms it down. Neither of us really want to leave the calf in the sun, but it isn’t ours to move into the shade, and there is no one around.
We can only hope someone comes to rescue it. Both of us have seen quite a few neglected animals in our travels and we always try to help where we can – even if it is just food or water.
Long Way Down
We walk back down the steps to the town. Just to the intersection base is 500 meters so all in all, it is a good long walk back. We definitely have had a good go at discovering Puno today.
Then we realize we have to get supplies for tomorrow’s long Coach ride, so we dash down the street. We pass about 20 photocopying shops – not one supermarket though in that area! Peru has everything in groups or streets of the same traders – it is weird but later on, the more we travel we find this common all over the world.
We have to go right back into the main part of town to find one but by then everything is nearly closed. It is dark by the time we return.
Amazingly, the hotel has a kitchen, so I cook dinner, and my son plays computer games and we comment on how the days go by so fast.
So much for a rest day! I’d better get back down to our room and hope the washing is dry to be packed for tomorrow’s long bus ride to Bolivia.
Comments and Questions
- The Condor and the Puma are two less known animals/birds.
- Have you ever seen either?
- What is the rarest creature you have seen in real life?
- Tell us in the comments below – we would love to know about your experience.