old road to puno

From Arequipa i climbed on the old road to puno towards the altiplano. First with the misti volcano on one side towards the laguna de salinas.


I didn’t make it all the way up that day and found a nice campspot in an abandoned house. When night fell, the lights of arequipa glistened from below.


During the climb, i had to share the road with trucks coming laden with salt from the salinas and the road was at times a sandy mess, making for a cloud of dust whenever a truck was passing.


After reaching the plateau, the laguna de salinas comes into sight.


The first night i was camping ina  mini canyon of white rock which protected me well from the wind.


Finally on top, i was exposed to the wind but luckily we were heading the same way.


Herds of vicuñas were a constant sight and with more animals than people up here, it was difficult to imagine that these creatures are endangered.


Animals, changing colours and rock formations kept things interesting along the road.


Tincopalca was a good place for a rest. As there was no restaurant to be found, i had to make my own meal. Remembered our breakfast routine in huaraz, i found all that was needed in a nearby store. Soon i was sitting on the main square cooking up an omelette and was surrounded by twenty kids watching attentively. For the first ten minutes they were commenting on everything i did, unaware that i could understand what was being said, until one of the youngsters pointed at me and said: ¨my name is¨. Answering in spanish, a big roar of laughter and an even bigger bunch of questions ensued. I was really hungry as i hadn’t had anything to eat since breakfast and now it was way past teatime. Though i was so relaxed from the last days of cycling that i didn’t mind the volley of questions and managed to shove in four advocado sandwiches while answering some of the questions. Sometimes just replying ‘como’ which usually bought me enough time to have a bite or two in between. Later they requested some photos being taken…


and one kid wanted to try at least once as well to be the photographer.


Onwards, past lagoons with only the occasional motorbike interrupting the silence.


The last night i spent around 4500m with my water bottles being forzen in the morning. Another pass and a great downhill brought me to mañazo, where i was offered a room at the municipio for five soles. The next day was all paved and a slight tailwind pushed me towards puno and the lake Titicaca. As i was up before six and had started early, i had all day to cycle along its shore.

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