Posted by: M.J. Bolstad | August 12, 2018

Peru-ving Myself A Traveler Again: Entry #4

For someone who spent a good part of today napping on the bus between stops on the way to Puno, I am pretty tired. This Peru adventure has been go, go, go… which is not a bad thing. Just a tiring thing, and of course the medicine I take for motion sickness, harder breathing from the altitude combined with a cold I seemed to have picked up mean I have a little less energy to spare. But I still have energy (and coca candy to supplement) so it’s all good.


Some of the scenery from the bus window that I didn’t nap through.

I checked out of the Midori Hotel this morning, and they kindly are storing my big suitcase for me until my return on Monday. My ride arrived at 6:10 a.m., so it was another early day. Then I was boarding the Cusela tour bus with Maro the driver and Juan Carlos the knowledgable guide.  We departed at 6:45 a.m. for our first stop about an hour from Cusco, where we visited San Pedro Apóstol de Andahuaylillas Church, also known as the Sistine Chapel of the Andes.  It is gorgeous, with a baroque and Andean style baroque ceiling that shows you where the church expanded once they began preaching in Indigenous languages, with new art over older frescos. It is very gorgeous, complete with gold plated altar pieces, incredibly ornate overall.  You aren’t allowed to take photos, but they gave us a CD of them as part of the tour, though those will have to wait until I’m home to get, as my laptop doesn’t take CDs.  In the meantime, I can direct you to the World’s Monument Fund to get an idea of what it looks like inside. (I also bought a cute knitted sweater with Alpacas since I was cold on the bus, and it was only 40 soles!)

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The remains of a temple at Raqchi.

From there, it onward to Raqchi, an Incan archeological site, from the Wiracocha period. One of the things I learned on this trip is that Inca was the title of the leader, not the people, even though we now commonly call this ancient people “Incas”.  Of course, by then I didn’t need the sweater though I certainly needed the sunscreen I’d doubled up on. The sun is hot here. I’m trying to avoid more sunburn. We’ll see – it’s hard to apply on my own, though I’m doing my best.

Our next stop was not far from Raqchi, just a nice restaurant where we ate at a buffet. Unfortunately, nothing is really labeled so I can’t go into the neat traditional desserts I tried, including some sort of purple sauce on fruit (I think made from the black corn from which Chicha Morada is made) and something similar to rice pudding except it was definitely a different kind of grain, a bit fatter and rounder but no less delicious.


The beautiful, snow-capped mountains that can be seen from La Raya.

From there is was onward to La Raya for a photo opportunity and yet another shopping stop. I did my duty and picked up a cute souvenir for my niece and nephew even though they got one already. We then went to a small museum of pre-Incan artifacts in Pukara (though no photos there either) and I had time to grab a delicious latte made with Peruvian coffee beans before it was back on the bus and onward to Puno.


Some of the buildings along the way.

Though I missed part of the scenery napping on the way, I did see lots. It really is very beautiful here, with the mountains. There is also a lot of poverty, and I’d be remiss not to mention it.  It hurts the heart a little, to hear the plaintive cry of a older woman on the church steps just calling for “Papa, Mama” to put something in her hat. To see how differently some people live here, how hard they clearly work. But there is also happiness and playfulness and of course great beauty.


A woman works in a field along the road to Puno from Cusco.

Tomorrow I get to boat on Lake Titicaca, and have two nights in a row in the same hotel, to which I’m very looking forward.  I like how much I’m seeing, but it is also nice to have a base camp. I’m staying in the Intiqa Hotel. I can hear machinery or something outside from the window facing out into the street area, but other than that, this place seems quite quiet so far. The bed is a double and comfortable, and there’s not just a shower but a bathtub. I’m not spending as much time in the room having down time as planned because, in true Starfish fashion, I managed to get turned around and had a hard time finding my way back to my hotel after a lovely dinner at a restaurant called Giorgio, where I had an alpaca steak which was delicious.

But now it’s the time to crawl into bed, I think, and get some good sleep for more climbing tomorrow. Did I mention I’m in Puno, where it’s more than 3,800 metres above sea level, so greater than in Cusco even? No? Well it is. So more adjusting to do – and more excuses for coca candies!


  1. Nice post

    • Thank you!

      • No problem check out my blog when you get the chance 🙂

  2. Love your blog MJ!

  3. Am wondering if some pictures are missing though as I have logged in using Safari and Google Chrome and I see lots of blank squares where I think there should be photos. I do see some photos thought. Have a few treats for me too!

    • Hi Mom! I think it just might be that photos are slow to load on the internet. They seem to show up on my end. If not, I’ll try to fix when back in Canada!

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