La Paz 27.08.02
I'm not advised until 6.05 a.m. and when we enter the taxi, I hear him say, that we've got two minutes to reach the station. On our way we're just once nearly involved inan accident, and I have a glimpse of the cathedral in Cusco, one of these heavy churches with two towers in the style you see here so often. This is just a bit bigger. The door is even open and the gold flashes all the way to the street and into my taxi.
In the station is hectic activity or rather chaos. I'm put in waiting position at one place, while Mr. Eber disappears shortly only to return accompanied by a man, who has the needed tickets for the trip including stamps and all - except my name, I just have to sign at the proper line. How all this fits I don't know and I don't want to either - this is Peru man!
The train goes zig-zagging - forward and backwards up the mountain and Cusco lies deeper and deeper underneath. On the sunny mountainside the rust colored houses almost fades into the mountain. Around Macchu Pichu there are no south american prices, but I have a cup of coffee and a sandwich for 2 $ and 1 sol.
I didn't go by 'El tren a las nubes' in Argentine, but in this way I have fullfilled my wish, because we are actually going up in the clouds, that's part of the entire plot to create this mystic inka-mood. It's only broken by a single taxi at a house - unfortunately. The train toss and turn.on the way, the wagons hop and sway but stay as a miracle on the track.
We stop at a station - it's still 93 km to go, says a signpost. The train twine from side to side through kind mountains - with trees! From time to time we enter wide valleys, where the train on the straight parts accelerates. Half of the train sleeps most of the time, it's not the train ride they've paid for, apparently.
We pass gorges along rivers and bigger and bigger mountains rise around us until the giants get snowcapped. Sometimes it looks as if the gorge has a dead end, but every time a surprising new turn shows up. We decline. In the end we enter a jungle like part with trees of all kinds, like I've never seen them before.
We arrive at Macchu Pichu station (it's also called 'Aguas Calientes ') and have to go by bus for the last part. When you look around to the mountains you'd say it's impossible, but that can't be. We go at the border of a river for some time, and cross on a primitive bridge. Up a 4-500 m high mountain side we go zig-zagging. The road couldn't be seen from down there. This fertility around us! It's blessed after Bolivias bare mountains. For one moment we're very near the edge with the river flowing in the deep below us. Only one thing can be said: Macchu Pichu is one of the worlds wonders. Its position makes it extraordinary. I'm not really sad to be without my camera. This is something you have to experience. These summits in different corners. This precise organisation of the "town". And as to tell us that Pachamama isn't far away, a thunder starts not so far away and rain falls, but just shortly, but it's repeated. Soon the sun shines again on this mysterious mountain, but the dark clouds stay. On our way down by the bus I get a closer
look at the rainforrest. Now I should have been biking being able to stop to look at interesting flowers.
I'm in a rattling train somewhere in Peru. Outside it's dark. The faint light in the compartment makes it just possible to write. Fine that noone sees the writing because the letters hop and dance with the train. I see light from houses and imagine it's northern Sealand. That I'll be there - home. Then the moon rise above the mountain. It's full.
The moon is the same, but it's no good. The lonesome feeling won't leave me. What am I doing here? I've been on the road for long enogh. Where are you Denmark? I'm tired of having to find out everything all the time. I just want to know how things are. Like in Denmark. During the ride I remember for odd reasons that I forgot my flashlight in the hurry in the morning. I always put it by my pillow. Damn! Is that lost too? The train crawls the last bit down to Cusco. All having a camera (sigh) have to photograph "Cusco by night" and it do look fine from up here. It gets 9 p.m. the scheduled leave of the bus. I'm sitting uneasy.
Mr. Eber is there. The bus doesn't leave until 9.30 p.m. Lucky. Ask for the flashlight. He doesn't know about that, but we can go pass his hostel. So we do and after some time the guy from the reception shows up bringing it. It was put away for himself I think.
Off we go to the busterminal. To go by taxi in Peru is a special experience. There are apparently some not written down rules. Normally you stop according to ... except if you're in a hurry, then you honk instead. You also honk if you think they are too slow in front of you to get passed a crossing, even if they should stop. It's just to lean back and enjoy the ride. There's a certain virtuosity in the way they twine through.
At the terminal the nice Mr. Eber wants me to pay for the taxi. It wasn't his fault I forgot the flashlight! But that's not going to be. He should have afvised me at the proper time. He keeps on. And I do. I've paid 100$, so I not gonna pay extra under these circumstances. He must solve the matter with... what was the name of the boss? And that's how it ends. I'm surprised when he gives up, and we say goodbye nicely.
Puno - Copacabana (bus) 24.08.02 16.51 km
I have a fine sleep in the bus, so against all odds I feel fine this morning, where I've used my last sol's to an american breakfast at the terminal, there wasn't possibility of getting dinner last night, only an orange and the three last 'cremositas'.
The never ending change of bus continues. It's especially the small company *Colectur'. Tickets are collected. First we're told that the bus leaves at 7.30 a.m. Then it's altered to 7 'punto'.
So while we're all at the breakfast table, the oldest comes and tell us it's NOW. He points at the bus, we're going with, the blue Colectur bus, that's standing in the terminal. But never the less it's not the one we're going to. In stead he leads us out of the terminal and to a certain spot where we have to wait. Then the bus arrives, we board it, but we're not going to Copacabana yet. In stead the bus go into the city to the Colectur office where we now has parked in the yard. I wonder for how long? We were going to wait for more passengers and afterwards go somewhere else to pick up even more. That's how it is here, if you can earn 10 BOB more, the world have to wait!
Now I'm back in Copacabana where I'll stay till midday the day after tomorrow. I'm going to Isla del Sol tomorrow. And go rolling a bit this afternoon, if I can, it's mostly up hill.
I went to look for something called 'Horca del Inca', the inka gallows. It's higher up the mountain than I'd expected. Down the mountain I was warned that it would cost 10 BOB. But when you walk up the mountain you can't imagine that there should be anyone up there to charge money.
But there was. But the ticket can also be used for two other sights nearby. The spaniards should have thought this to be a torture spot for the inkas, but nowadays we know it was a pre-inka observatory to detect summer and winter solstice. As usual there are no information. In my map of the Titicaca lake are spoken of some marks, that should mark those events. The girl doesn't know anything about this. In this respect too Bolivia is a developing country.
After that I ride on a path towards the end of a peninsula, infront of which Isla del Sol is situated and to which there should be a ferry of some kind. I don't get that far, but reach some nice forrested mountains with high slim trees with lancet formed leaves, I don't know. Then the road turns worse and I decide to go back, so I can be back before 6 p.m.
I'm sailing the Titicaca lake on my way to Isla del Sol, and look to where I was riding yesterday. Everything looks different seen from the lake, so I have to take up my map to get things right.
I enjoy the ride, at one time we pass an island on the inside where you wouldn't have thought it possible, and everything looks suddenly quite different. I can't help thinking about the motorboats on Furesøen back in Denmark, it's the same size. I better get home soon. We arrive on the island and I decide to get off in Punta Sur, even I was supposed to go to Punta Norte. But this should fit better the time schedule I've been told. The last boat leaves Punta Norte 4 p.m., so now I have more than 5 hours. According to the map it's 4 hours to Punta Norte.
As usual you have to guess a lot, there are no signs. I follow a foot path towards south and take a look at some riuns there. Then I walk back up across the mountain. As there are more paths than in my map I take a wrong one to the top. From there I can see where the right one is, but I have great difficulties getting down to it due to the terrasses. When I reach it I speed up to maximum.
It's so nice walking for a change. In spite of a food break and a talk to some englishmen I reach the ruins on the northern part in around 2 hours. I feel in quite a good shape. As usual no posters, no explanation, nothing to start you asking questions. There is a bolivian who has learned his lesson well and charge you an entrance fee, but that's useless to me. I get a little wiser reading at the back of my map. While I'm sitting at the ruins called the labyrinth eating totally alone, I come to think about "Planet of the Apes". This place on a planet with water and mountains and a bay where a narrow border with white sand can be seen could be anywhere, and I've just landed and regard the leftovers from an earlier civilisation. There is nothing else, no traces of possible life are seen.
When I get to Punta Norte it's just a village where the pigs lie in the mud. Modern civilisation seems far away. Some boys tell me there aren't more boats today - only private ones for 80 BOB.
I don't know what to believe, has the agency filled me with lies? I see one of Wara's boats anchored up in the water, sp I havn't given up hope yet, but it wouldn't be nice to strand here and until now that seems to be the case.
I sit down to have a cup of coffee in a "restaurant". When it's just before 4 p.m. a couple appears, I overtook them earlier. First I think that then a boat probably will show up, but they turn out to be germans and have a guide and are going back in a small speed boat that came recently. I start a conversation with them (it's nice to know a little german) and they think I can go with their boat,
the guide is a nice man. But the guide refuses, because they have to pick up others at Punta Sur, but I can come along until there.
When we get there, he says I can join them to Copacabana but it costs 25 BOB. I'm ashore to find out if there are any other boats this day but that seems not to be the matter, so I pay the 25. Who will have them? (My ticket the other way was 15 BOB) Once more I'm saved in a difficult situation. Fine that I soon go back home, my luck is due to stop soon.
Seen from the lake "my forrest" with the high slim trees in the peninsula isn't much of a wood. There was something about a wood saving project. (I see them later at the 'autopista' down to La Paz).
The sky is dark over Peru, but here the sun shines. Sailing is too a nice change from cycling, but it resembles my Bolivian journey, you can see your goal all the time, but it seems to be the same distance forever.
Now I'm lying listening to the rain falling in the yard. It wasn't just Peru that was going to benefit from all the darkness.
Copacabana - La Paz (bus) 12.62 km
As the bus was going to leave at 1.15 p.m. I decide to use whats left of my "museum-tickets". First I ride up the mountain to watch the view. On my way down I meet a cycling czech. He started from Santiago too at the same time but took the road into Argentine at Mendoza and then north. He too has been on some tough roads but others than I.
Then I try to find 'Intinkala'. Even I have a map and a description of where to find it, I don't find anything looking like relics of the past or even look interesting. But two small pigs follow me with interest.
Then I try to find 'Museo Kusijata'. I do. I can hardly drag my bike up the last stony hill. A woman takes my ticket and tell me to put my bike in the gateway. I do and the she says something which I hear as now I just have to walk about on my own to look at the exibits. But inside the yard there's nothing to be seen. And every door is closed. While I'm searching a man turns up showing me where the entrance, which is locked, isand tell me to go to that house, knock on the door and tell them I want to see the museum. But she took my ticket, so she must be on her way with the key? I wait a while, then go to knock, open the door and say Hello? There is noone and so much for the bolivian culture heritage. It seems something you keep to yourself . There's no service or conscisness about.
Today it's the Milton company that do the trip to La Paz for 'Andino Horisontes', so it's a new type of bus, where bike and luggage are placed on the roof. Every time something changes. But now there's no possibility of getting off until the ending.
At Hotel Milton I decide for an expensive lodging. The thought of not having to load the bike and drag it through half of the town is comfortable. Besides it's including breakfast, possibility of doing the laundry, place for the road etc. and TV in the room, I need some luxury.
Just after having checked in I go for an internet café and write for an hour or so, no new mails unfortunately. Then I'm off for the photo shop. Eev. The for the lens moving mechanism was destroyed, and such one cannot be found in La Paz. I had hoped, but not more. There won't be anymore pictures from La Paz. I have to buy some postcards.