So I have been away just over 2 weeks now and guess a little trip update is needed. To be honest I have n’t actually done all that much. I have been retracing places I have visited before in order to get where I am today, Sucre Bolivia. I will be here for 1 month where I will be studying Spanish which will hopefully help me when I eventually start working in the hostel in Chile later this year.
So I flew into Lima and spent 3 nights there and had some pretty good nights out. I met up with an old friend who helped me celebrate my birthday with me. I then flew to Cusco. The bus would have been 21 hours and for a decent bus company it would have cost about £30. The flight however was 50 minutes and cost £58. A tough decision!
This seemed like a good idea until I landed in Cusco. Cusco sits at 3399m (11.152ft) above sea level. I had never really suffered from the effects of altitude before but had always made sure I had gradually acclimatized. Lima sits at seas level and I was instantly out of breath as soon as I was off the plane. Instead of taking it easy for the next day or two I did lots of walking around the city and hiked up the white Christ statue. This literally nearly killed me and that even it felt like my head was going to explode. This also happened to be my actual Birthday and I ended up in bed by 7.30pm!
This is also when I rediscovered some of the frustrations of travelling solo. I really hoped to do some proper mountain biking here but like most tours they needed a minimum of 3 people. I left my details in the hope of others signing up. Unfortunately no one did and it was time to move on to Puno.
Puno was higher still 3830m (12556ft) and sits on the shore of Lake Titicaca. Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world and has a maximum depth of 284m (932ft). Puno itself is a fairly unattractive town and I was only going to use it as an overnight stop to break up the journey to Copacabana in Bolivia. That night I decided to have an Alpaca steak. I have had it before and really enjoyed it. This time though every mouth full made me queasy. I guess this is what you deserve when you eat your favourite animal!
I awoke the next day feeling ill. The combination of the altitude, too much beer, dehydration and possible bad food had given me the backpacker shits. Not ideal when you have a 5 hour bus journey to look forward to. Luckily I survived the journey unscathed and checked into a guest house. 40 Bolivianos (£3.60) for a private room, bargain. It would be here where I would make great friends with the toilet over the next day or two.
Copacabana is another fairly scruffy town, and is prominently here for the Lake Titicaca tourism industry. I was here to visit Isla del Sol, the sun island and because I was on a fairly tight schedule I decided one night on the island was sufficient. My welcome to the island was an extremely tough climb up the 200m Inca stairway. This was a killer with my 25kg of gear,and combined with the altitude and the warm sun I struggled to get to the top. I spent the day hiking around some of the many paths around the island. There were some truly spectacular views and the Lonely Planet compares it to those of the Greek islands. I have never been to Greece so I can not confirm if the Lonely Planet is lying again! After a few hours hiking I kind of felt I had seen all the island had to offer and one night here was a good shout. That night there was a huge storm and huge hail stones came crashing down onto the tin roof of my bedroom. The next day I had to renegotiate the Inca stairway. Going down should have been easier. How wrong was I. The previous nights storm and turned the dust to mud and made the stone steps a treacherous obstacle. I made it down unscathed and got back on the ferry to Copacabana.
I left for La Paz the same day. I like La Paz and this was my third visit to Bolivia’s administrative capital. Here I had plans to do some mountain biking and to climb Huayna Potosi (6088m) (19974ft). My plans would be ruined yet again. The 3 person minimum struck again for the mountain biking and after reading up on climbing Huayna Potosi I decided it was n’t for me. The 1 foot wide ice ledge with a 1000ft drop either side put me off slightly!
After 5 days of waiting and partying at the infamous Loki hostel it was time to move on to my current location, Sucre. I took the 40 minute flight and it was well worth it as we flew over the city of La Paz and the Andes mountain range giving me a spectacular view of the Earth below. Although, we encountered a fair bit of turbulence and the 30 seater plane was rocked and bumped all over the place as we ventured through the clouds.
So now I am in Sucre, Bolivia’s capital. I really like it here. For Bolivia it is really nice. Lots of colonial buildings and the sun is always shining. It has decent places to eat and drink and the girls are a lot better looking than anywhere else I have seen in the country. I hope to actually get some mountain biking done her too. I start 1 month’s worth of 1 on 1 Spanish lessons tomorrow and if I don’t have a decent grasp of the language at the end then I will give up!
We had a huge storm last night, the thunder actually felt like it shook the whole room. I was pelted by hail most of the night which somehow manged to get through a half inch gap between the window frame and the roof.