Day 14 – Puno to Sacred Valley

7 Apr

Today was all about the Andean Explorer classic train journey from Puno to Cusco.

Nine of us were taking the train, and the other four had a coach and two guides to themselves as they sped along the road in front of us.

Boarding the train was the first hint of what was to come – luxury and personal service of the highest standard. After settling in to our armchairs, I soon headed straight for the menu to plan the 10 hour trip around meals. Having already had breakfast in the hotel I decided that nineses should be a cappuccino and a tuna sandwich (sin tomate).

Lunch was served promptly at 12 noon with our waiter, Jesus, telling us off for not having our napkin in place as he served us.

We also had afternoon tea with aperitif, finger sandwiches and sweet things before we left.

That left plenty time to take in the onboard entertainment – panpipes and dancers as well as a fashion show and a demonstration of how to make a pisco sour. It would have been rude to not then have a pisco sour, or two. Or three.

Left the train completely piscoed. We think we must have been the annoying table as there was no one else to complain about.

The view from the open back carriage was fantastic. We stopped at La Raya, the highest point on the route, and managed to avoid the pushy sellers, quickly getting back on the train without getting mugged. Perhaps the pisco was helping but my tolerance of women selling baby alpaca hats was wearing thin.

The train was delayed slightly as it passed through a town where the local market had setup on the train tracks and the driver was kind enough to not plough straight through them. Stalls were inches from the train.

Also discovered that the Peruvians save on fences by tethering all their animals. Cow on a rope, sheep on a rope, pig on a rope, dog on a rope, goose on a rope. All equally treated.

Getting to Cusco, we were met by a stranger who quickly abandoned us to the care of a crazy minibus driver. In the almost complete darkness, he negotiated the sharp bends of the mountain roads at reckless speed with overtaking being the new challenge, even when the signs made it clear to the non Spanish speaking passengers that he wasn’t supposed to.

We safely arrived to our hotel in the middle of nowhere and were shown to our rooms. The others had been there for hours.

Not fancying any more food, I turned in for the night, thinking about the night bag I had to pack for the following day.

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