After a wonderful trip to Colca Canyon, I spent another day in Arequipa, just so as to give my aching body some rest. My knees were literally jammed and I could feel intense pain in my thighs whenever I climbed up or came down the staircase. Initially I had thought I would leave for Puno the same day. But I am so glad I didn’t.Even the thought of traveling 6 more hours in a cramped up bus gave me shivers at that point.
So after having a good nights rest and waking up to a nice breakfast and a hot cup of coffee, I went to wander the streets of Arequipa before I caught the evening bus to Puno.One amazing place I managed to see before leaving the town was the St Camilo Market
.I went along with a friend who I had met in the Colca trek, and we both had a great time exploring the lively market, having fresh juice and trying the ceviches. After the market, we went to a famous Picanteria called La Nueva Palomina
and enjoyed the local food.
Soon it was time to head to the bus station, off to my next destination called Puno. I had booked a hostel called Pacha Hostel and was hoping that the place was decent, considering it had got good reviews.Once I reached the hostel, the receptionist was kind enough to check me in early and handed over the room keys.Once I started climbing up the staircase with my heavy backpack, I realized that my room was on the fourth floor. With all the weight and the altitude effect(Puno is at a height of 3800m), I almost didn’t make it.But then I did. And once I entered my room, I was glad I made the effort.It was a cute little room with two bunk beds and an attached bathroom.I had the room to myself and immediately got into my pj’s to get some hours of sleep. Oh my god, the bed was super duper comfortable.It had layers and layers of blankets, to ensure that the occupant doesn’t get cold.I just simply loved it.
Few hours later, after I had rested I got ready and decided to do the work for which I had made a stop at Puno. I had wanted to get my Bolivian visa in advance before I reached the border since I had heard that there were a lot of documents required and if even one was missing, they wouldn’t give the visa. Also as an Indian passport holder, if I got my visa in embassy it would be free, but if I got it on the border,I would have to pay USD 55. So it was clear on what I had to do.
Luckily the Bolivian embassy was just 3 blocks away from my hostel, and after handing over all the documents, I got my visa in the next 3 hours(I was asked to return at 1 and it was ready when I returned
After that I asked my hostel receptionist for a city map, and took a walk around the lanes.Fortunately the location of the hostel was perfect and I was walking distance away from all the main plazas and streets. I saw the Cathedral of San Francisco, Plaza De Armas(the name in all cities is common for the main square) and then headed to see the Casa del Corregidor. It happens to be one of the oldest residences in the city.This also has a museum attached to it. It was the house of the collector in the earlier times and had been handed over to different owners before finally being converted part into a cafe and part into a museum.I sat in the cafe and tried the famous Tunki coffee with a nice chicken sandwich.
After this I walked around a but, and noticed two set of activities happening on the streets.One was a protest by the farmers regarding agricultural laws and the other was a parade of festivities where there were dancers wearing costumes, there was music, school children marching etc.It was a great sight and I sat around for some time before heading back to my hostel for another short nap(the bed was calling me).
By the time I returned to my room, I met another girl who had moved into the room.Sara was from Sweden and was very nice to talk to.We shared our travel stories and decided to go explore the city more in the evening,followed by dinner.
By 7 pm we were ready to head out and took our time entering shops and checking out the local artifacts. By now, three weeks in the trip, I had had my share of Peruvian food and was craving for some good ol’ pizza.Sara said she didn’t mind it too, and soon we spotted a restaurant which offered a three course meal(second course had pizza), all for 25 soles.We didn’t think twice, and entered and ordered immediately.
It was just what I had wanted.Mushroom cream soup for starters, personal pan pizza with ham and cheese for main course and chocolate cake for the desert. Yumm.
It had started getting really cold by then, and so we decided to head back to the hostel. I had to leave early next morning for Bolivia, and thus finished all my packing at night before going to sleep.
All in all, there is not much to see in Puno except the Floating Islands(I decided to do it on my way back from Bolivia to Peru).Usually people do a half day tour of the Islands and move on to Bolivia. I did not regret staying here since I got my visa as well as enjoyed my stay in the wonderful Pacha Hostel.
Thanks Puno for the short yet comfortable stay.Now am off to cross the border and enter Bolivia.
Read on to know more and more and more.