Posts Tagged With: The small things

Day 79/164: Rest Day in Puno

Breakfast was included with the hotel stay and such joy when I got down to the restaurant: a toaster! 😀 😀 I have certainly missed being able to have toast. There was also butter but no grapefruit marmalade, so not quite perfect but pretty close. They did have some very nice honey and some pineapple jam.

As there is only one rest day I decided not to do the full day tour to the floating islands and planned to do a three hour one instead. I went down to the wharf, about two kilometres from the hotel, politely declining the numerous offers of rides in a tuk tuk.

The trip to see two islands is $20 sole, plus a $5 landing fee. You had to wait for the boat to have ten passengers before it would leave but that did not take long. The first mate was a boy aged about 8, who was in charge of the ropes and telling the passengers when they could go up to the top of the boat etc.

Boats that take tourists out to the floating Islands

Boats that take tourists out to the floating Islands

On the boat

On the boat

The trip out took about 30 minutes to the first island. We had an explanation of how the islands were made and what they ate (Editor’s note: I honestly have no idea what Kaye means by this . . . maybe the islands are like the one in Life of Pi?).

Then we were each taken to one of the individual’s houses to look inside, then that person took you to their market table to sell you either weaving, jewellery or small boats made out of the reeds. The islands surface was dry reeds – you would not like to see a fire!

View of the floating island, ground surface covered in dried reeds

View of the floating island, ground surface covered in dried reeds

Island people waiting to welcome us onto the floating island

Island people waiting to welcome us onto the floating island

Sitting with the one of the Island woman holding the wall hanging I bought

Sitting with the one of the island woman holding the wall hanging I bought

Enjoying the sunshine

Floating islands

Then we had to pay another ten sole to go on a traditional boat to the next island. The traditional boats are made of reeds also. This boat was not rowed however, it was pushed by a dingy with an outboard motor.

Boat being rowed not push by dingy

Boat being rowed not pushed by dingy

Editor's caption: Kaye looking too cool for school

Editor’s caption: Kaye looking too cool for school on the boat to a floating island

The next island was the chance to buy food and beverages at hugely inflated prices, twice that as on the mainland. The whole experience was a bit tacky and about milking every possible $ out of the tourist. The longer trips are a bit more of a real experience but overall I was happy with the trip. I got to go on a floating island on Lake Titicaca.

Kaye on the restaurant island (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Kaye on the restaurant island (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

View of Puno from boat

View of Puno from boat

After getting back to the mainland I had lunch then back to the hotel. The plan was to Skype with a couple of my children and catch up with the blog and emails. Once again problems with the wifi: too many riders crashing the system. I could not get Skype to connect! Again! Most frustrating and disappointing when you have limited access to wifi. One of the riders was telling me that you can also do a Skype like thing through Facebook that works better. Will have to look into it.

I ended up dozing off to sleep in the sun and woke up and it was dark.

Usually on rest days I still eat early but tonight it was after 7pm before I left the hotel. All the restaurants were packed. One had an hour long wait just to order. I managed to find a place that was not as busy but just in time, as it filled up within 5 minutes of getting there. I had a quick Pizza and headed back to the hotel to pack and try again with the Skype. There was an eclipse of the moon so watched that for a while. Very clear sky, so easy to see.

Looking at the rider’s whiteboard it looks like the next four days are going to be quite easy. Nothing over 83 kilometres, and nothing with climbing over 950 meters. We will still be at about 3,800 meters in altitude every day though. I am still having problems with asthma and altitude sickness, so a few easier days will be great.

No luck still with the skype :/. Into bed with my hot water bottle, it would be great if I could have one of these delivered to my tent every night.

Lake Titicaca

Categories: Peru, South American Epic | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

Day 29: Pasto to Ipiales – 72km

2,296km down: 11,345km to go. 1,400 meters up, 1,600 meters down

I decided “I can do this, I am going to ride the whole day”. I got dressed really warmly as the start was a 25 kilometre downhill. I have never gone down 25 kilometres in one go. I stopped halfway down to give my rims a rest, as the last thing I needed was a tyre to blow out from overheated rims. At the bottom of the hill I removed a few layers before starting the climbing.

I am taking much better care of nutrition and hydration. I got up the first climb alright with only one stop just before lunch. I got to the lunch spot and felt ok, so decided to carry on. The first 10 kilometres was ok but then not sure if it was the altitude or what, but my legs turned to jelly and I was breathless. I ended up walking up a 7 kilometre hill! It just kept going, up and up and up! Every time I got on my bike I lasted about 100 meters before having to get off each time!

At 60 kilometres I had worked out that at this speed I was nearly 3 hours from camp! Thankfully we then got some downhill, and after that I managed to ride most of the rest of the way.

Patchwork fields (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Patchwork fields (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

About 4 kilometres before camp I came across the distressing sight of a young motorcyclist who had been knocked off his bike. Unfortunately he won’t be going home again. About 1 kilometre before the camp I then saw a dog nearly get run over. I was quite upset when I got to camp.

The camping site is a restaurant with grass where we can put up tents. They have hot showers! With pressure, and not too hot, bliss! TDA generally gets a couple of rooms when they are available so we can use them as well for the shower queue. I was standing waiting in line, and the housemaid took me into another room they had not yet cleaned and let me use that shower. Heaven! I could take as long as I liked without waiting in line.

As I had got to camp by 1:30, I have washed a couple of things, hopefully they will dry before it gets cold. I have caught up with the blog, had some vegetables and noodles, and a cold beer. Tomorrow we cross the border into Ecuador. It’s four weeks today since the bike ride started. We certainly have gone up and down in altitude and temperature.

Chicken for dinner tonight.

View from today's ride (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

View from today’s ride (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Categories: Columbia, South American Epic | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments