By 08:30 we were on our way to Cusco, the pictures of the bus we were shown were now a little dated but it was ok as long as it got us there I suppose
. Also for once we were done for a few quid each on the fare as some people had paid about 2 or 3 quid each less than us. Gutted! As we pulled away from La Paz it was with mixed emotions, it is set in a beautiful place unlike any city I have ever seen when you rise above it, it simply takes your breath away, there are lots of things to do here, the jail tours are back open etc, however it isn’t as cheap as we hoped and it is a dodgy place, indeed we had one attempted pickpocket from a rather well organised crew and it nearly caught us out even after 10 months of precaution taking. Also not being well at such a high altitude it is really quite horrible and we spend most of our flu infested lives completely out of breath even climbing the stairs in the hostel.
The coach journey was fairly dull, nothing spectacular happened, few biscuits and a yoghurt to eat, Lake Titikaka was huge and very impressive but the 'fun’ only really started when we got to the border. Being given 20 minutes to get our stamps, we got stamped out of Bolivia in about 10 minutes after being told to change queue about 4 times. We walked across into Peru and found the queue was hundreds of metres long it was huge. Thankfully in a group of 5 there was plenty to talk about so the time passed quite quickly. Will and Jo now with a few hours of sleep under their belts were still feeling dreadful and said they probably would have given up and stayed in a hostel if we had not been there
. After about 40 minutes constantly hassled by beggars for change we got to the front and quickly got stamped. Johnny and I decided to get a bit of small change in Peruvian notes in case there was no cash machine at Cusco bus station or any other disaster so we had a choice of four money exchanges we headed directly for the Fanny (see picture of Fanny money Exchange). Knowing I would get ripped off I changed about £5 which gave us enough cash for a taxi to the hostel. Shortly afterwards the bus broke down on the side of the road and the driver and drivers mate donned their overalls and toll kits and got into the engine to try and fix it. This sadly is our experience of Bolivian vehicles. After 30 minutes we were driving again and 30 minutes later we were driving at walking pace again before breaking down. The sequence did not change much and we were told we should arrive at about 6pm local time. It went dark and there was no lights at all in the bus, sat outside the loo it stank as well but the sequence of break down and drive did not change. We finally landed in Cusco at midnight, poor Johnny started the Inca trail at 6am that morning.
We got loads of hassle in the bus station from kids and taxi drivers so opted to take one taxi between the four of us all (Johnny had disappeared) in the end even though we were staying in different places. Cusco looked great in the dark but we arrived at our hostel and we were shown to a huge room up a circular staircase. The hostel advertised the room with an en suite however weirdly no bathroom but it did have a set of fitted kitchen units. How bizarre! Still at £3.80 a night each it was cheap for a private room. We hit the hay and hoped to be refreshed in the morning.
We woke up at 6:30 packed the bags and headed down the four flights of steps in La Paz for the final time (this year at least anyway). A taxi arrived soon after to take us to the bus station for a pretty quick and easy journey direct to Cusco. At the bus station we bumped into Johnny a Northern Irish guy who it turned out we had done our glacier tour at Franz Josef in New Zealand with (small world eh?). We got chatting and as we exchanged our voucher for bus tickets it appeared our seats had been double booked, not just double booked but double booked with Will and Joanna who we didn't think were leaving for a few days, what a bizarre coincidence. They soon rolled up rather worse for where after a rather large night out, in fact they hadn’t been to bed. We had our seats reallocated so fortunately we still fitted on the bus. Erica edit: Yet after that mixed grill we were very surprised.