Private road short day – Juliaca to Puno (45k/19,635k, 850ft)

(August 29 – written by Dave)

We reluctantly said goodbye to Philipp and Tine this morning.  We are probably taking different routes from here to La Paz.  I say probably because they are sometimes a bit ‘fluid’ with their plans (a good practice to have on long cycling trips) so you never really know.  At least for today, we had different routes, but for sure, we’ll meet again.  Until then safe travels chicos and see you soon.

We had a few Ks of city and traffic riding before landing on our own private road.  Well, it was not technically our own private road but rather a nearly completed second set of lanes that will make the road between Juliaca and Puno a dual carriage way.  We had this more or less for 30k.  At times the pavement was so new that you could almost smell the paint of the new stripes.  Other times it was a little older.  At all times, it was at least partially blocked so that cars and trucks had to share the two lane road to the side.  We mucked about a bit on our private road because it was just too much fun.

Private road Dave

It’s my road!

Private road ending

The end, but only for about 500 metres and it came back

Private road Dave (2)

Doing push ups – sure, you can do that on any road!

Below, Nancy going crazy on the centreline…

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At the end of the new road, we had to rejoin all the other traffic on the main road.  It was far less fun.  The shoulder was ok for a while but got a bit narrower in the last 5k, on a steepish hill.  There seemed to be a lot of traffic when we were watching the busy road from our private road but when actually riding on it, it was not too bad.

Yup, that's David

Yup, that’s right, a sign just for me (actually it’s a new political advertisement)

We made the lookout over Puno by about 10AM and stopped for photos and to make a plan of what to do next.  We decided to ride through the Plaza de Armas on the way to our targeted hotel as it was too early to go straight there and check in.  This was a grand plan, except for the super steep streets that we tried to follow.  We had to go down one downhill that was crazy steep.  I rode it with my butt hanging off the back of the bag on my bike.  Nancy decided to walk it.  Woops.  Nancy’s shoes gave out on her and she took a walking tumble.  Luckily her bike bags had more rolling resistance than the tires did and the bike stopped once it was on its side.  There wasn’t much I could do as there was no place to put my bike so Nancy had to get herself sorted and continue on.  When she got to me, half a block further down we straightened her handlebars and rode the rest of the way down (it was less steep here).

Puno from above

Puno and Lake Titicaca

With all the mucking around on the steep roads and our need to check the maps, we no longer need to kill time and rode right through the Plaza de Armas to our hotel.  And when we got here, we discovered that check-in is at 11:00 anyway.  We are staying just a few blocks off the plaza at Kuntur Inn – a lovely hotel that our friends Manja and Martin recommended.  The owner is super friendly and we knew that we could get a good rate because Expedia had lots of rooms at a discounted rate.  We were checked in and showering before 11:30 – just what we needed after the last few longer days.

After showers we headed out trying to find a local restaurant that the owner recommended.  We couldn’t find it but ended up at a cafe that had amazing lomo saltado lasagne – sort of a combination of Peru and Italian dishes.  Plus Nancy had some fantastically flaky empanadas.  Getting here early today meant we got to eat lunch and dinner out, in a tourist town to boot.  Yeah, more good food.

For afternoon entertainment we wandered the Plaza de Armas and found great coffee shop.  We also found a tour company to take us out to the floating islands tomorrow and then went to the Coca museum. The museum was small but pretty interesting.  Coca is native to this region and is thought to have been in use for at least 3,000 years.  They have found mummies with lumps of coca in mouths and many tombs with coca leaf offerings.  They had a section on cocaine and the history there as well – with German scientists leading the way in its formal discovery.  Only a couple of the coca plants can produce cocaine – good to learn as we sipped on complementary coca tea.

Puno cathedral 1

Puno Catherdral

Police woman 3

Female traffic cop with nice hat, she was working the whistle 

Cathedral front 1

Puno Catherdral

Anotther massive police vehical

Nancy and another mondo police truck

Ladies on the catherdal steps

Ladies chat session on the cathedral steps

Nancy in costume 1

Too small, I say nonsense 


Where’s Dave?

For some reason, the 3rd floor of the coco museum contains an area with indigenous costumes, including a “you try on” section.  We had some fun there but I’m not sure how much the mask I chose to wear is different from my normal face.  Nancy got to try on one of the all-too-small local hats – I’m not really sure how the locals keep them from flying off.

We tried out a fancier restaurant for dinner that was supposed to be spicy and have a Creole influence.  We had a very nice meal but there was very little spice.  Peru is not the place to come for hot and spicy food.  We’re off to bed now so that we can get up early for our island tour.  We will be taking the day off the bikes after covering more than 400k in the past 5 days, the legs need a break.

Door of the day

Door of the day, matches my cow jersey on the home page of our blog

Door (frame) of the day

Door (frame) of the day

10 thoughts on “Private road short day – Juliaca to Puno (45k/19,635k, 850ft)

  1. Lake Titicaca, beloved by schoolchildren throughout the world! Glad you arrived early, with time to enjoy – the museum sounds fun! Hopefully Nancy shook off the slip with nothing more than bruised bum….

  2. Agree with Linda, how’s the bum? The hat looked great! but you are right about how to keep it on?? Did you get one of the vests? Better than the mask! Lots of fancy work on the cathedral stucco!

  3. I have toured in that area the reed islands are fantastic but hard to walk on as you sink in. We stayed on an island on this lake…our hotel was not as nice as yours and the food was not either!! We had a large adult potty for our over night use.

    • Good for you staying out there. I hope that you didn’t have to ride a boat off the hotel island to reach the bathroom, as they did on the island we visited – see next day’s post for details.

  4. Hmm, maybe the coca tea was having an effect during your museum tour-too much fun with the hat and mask! Looks like a great place to hang out for a few days. Enjoy some down days. I feel like our families should give Philipp and Tine a big thank you for being such great fellow travelers with you. They gave us peace of mind as an additional support for you two – great team. Do they have a blog as well?

    • Could be the coco – didn’t think of that. Philipp and Tine have shirts that say “follow us on bike, not FB or Instagram” They are trying to use this trip to disconnect from the social media world…

      Yes – teamwork makes the dream work

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