The train from Puno to Cusco

Trip Start Feb 15, 2008
Trip End May 31, 2008

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Flag of Peru  ,
Sunday, March 9, 2008

The next morning I woke early to make my way to the Train Station. I got a cab over for 2 soles and needed to correct the driver 3 times 'estacion de tren por favor'... He responded 'tu quieres estacion de bus, no?' he wanted to take me to the bus station. I'm not sure, either the bus station was a better fare for him or he just couldn't believe that I was one of the few people who wanted to take the train. The train costs US$143 while the bus costs about 20 soles (about US$7) and the bus is a quicker. But like all of the world's great train journeys, arriving is just part of the adventure and views the entire way along this route are simply amazing. The cold foreshores of Lake Titicaca soon gave way to the impressive Andean snow capped mountains, followed by small towns, llamas and indigenous folk working the fields in colourful traditional dress. That seems to be all these people wear, even in the field. The train line later follows the mighty Urubamba River into Cusco passing semi tropical climates. This service was recently bought out by the Orient Express and the interior of the sitting cars and service are in line with this name. The food was wonderfully presented but a little heavy for my stomach after recently being crook. All in all, I would recommend this journey to anyone with an interest for trains or just great service and scenery.

My early evening arrival in Cusco gave me time to check out the main plaza and historic buildings at night. Cusco is a beautiful city built on the original foundations of the former capital of the Incan empire. The 1500s Spanish architecture is spectacular and should be seen at night as well as by day. The city is the capital of Peru's tourism so expect to pay higher prices than other locations in Peru. I was there on Saturday night which is party night and I was offered to come on in to 'Uptown' by one of the local boys who gave me promises of chicks, weed and really good coke, and I don't mean the cola variety. Here in Peru the key ingredient of this substance is what most people in the highlands put in their tea to combat the effects of altitude, coca leaves. Mate de coca is good and it does help with the stomach and the head. Don't expect to get a high off it though, the concentration of active ingredient is simply too low. I settled for a couple of Cusqueñas (beers) at 'Mama Africa' another bar in the main square where Latin music soon gave way to western top 40 as the evening progressed and the venue became packed with western tourists.
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