Train journey onboard the Andean Explorer, for a full day traversing the high Andes to Lake Titicaca.
08.04.2015 - 08.04.2015
Alarm at 4.30 am. Into breakfast at 5.15 am. And on the mini bus at 7 am for the 10 minute ride to the railway station. Our carriage is gorgeous and we are all sitting in lounge chairs with little lamps on our tables. AND, the best part, we are facing the way we are going! The train left at 8am and it is full.
We were given a cup of tea and then a snack of museli and fruit. Some entertainment started in the club car - a fashion parade, dancers and a band. People from the others cars descended on the place and it was pretty crowded. We decided to stay put and enjoy the scenery and have a little snooze as we had a pretty early start this morning.
Just before lunch we arrived at Asociacion de Artesanos, which is the half way point between Cusco and Puno and at 4319 metres above sea level, is the highest point we will reach. Lake Titicaca is not quite that high. We all hopped off to stretch our legs and take some photos of the stunning scenery. The stop also provided another shopping opportunity.
Back on board and lunch was served. A glass of champagne first followed by quite a nice meal.
Then it was time for serious sleeping and most of our group had an afternoon nap.
Then there was another performance by the band and Happy Hour in the club car.
The scenery has now changed and the mountains and crops of corn and quinoa have given way to plains with grazing cattle, sheep and llamas.
We were given a champagne and orange and then high tea which was a cup of black something which tasted quite nice and a small snack.
We passed through Juliaca which is the most depressing town I have ever seen. It makes India look like Paris! All the streets are unpaved and are full of puddles and mud. The market is located on both sides of the railway track and the driver had to keep blowing the whistle to tell the people to get off the track as some of them set their stalls up on the track. I'm not sure why they do that because every time the train comes through, they have to move!
The trip took 10 hours which seemed to go pretty quickly. I must admit that train travel is very relaxing. The maximum speed reached was about 40 kms, but most of the time it was just doing about 20 kms.
The train stopped right at the road where our hotel was and we hopped off, hopped on the bus and took the three minute ride up the hill to our hotel. Apparently we all have a view of the lake from our rooms but it's dark and we can't see and tomorrow we have another early start so we won't be able to enjoy the view.
We arrived in the middle of a thunder storm and saw some fantastic lightning.
Our main luggage stayed on the train and went to the main terminal (wherever that is) and was delivered to our room about an hour later.
We have another really nice room(s), with a lounge room and dining table, a separate bedroom and a bathroom. We have had fantastic accommodation wherever we have stayed in South America.
Another early start tomorrow so into bed.