O.k. well here we go! Here comes the big travel report. It's not so easy, Peru has been giving us quite a hard time, but we're doing our best to keep up the spirit, and not end as alcoholics...
On the 16th we left for Arequipa by plane, in an extremely good mood, finally a holiday to look forward to, catch up on sleep and sunshine! Arequipa is a beautiful town, and Laura and I made our picture infront of the El Misti Volcano right at the airport! Our hostel was really fine and we set off to explore the city and enjoy the sun. Sorry I'm always commenting the weather but if you haven't stayed in Lima you don't know what crap weather is! Next day we went rafting, first time for me and it was only the two of us and the guide in the boat. Some little guy in a "safety" canoe kept with us and took some really funny pictures, which unfortunately I can't display here, you'll hear why later! That night at 2 we left for Ocopa Canyon (talk about catching up on sleep!). It was a bit of a tourist thing but the landscape was so beautiful it was really worth it. We only saw like 4 condors, the main attraction of the trip but I found the surroundings much more impressive, the deepest canyon of the earth... Next day was shopping time, souvenirs and yes also some presents, although Laura is always implying that I'll keep everything for myself at the end! They have beautiful alpaca and baby alpaca shawls and hats and pullovers and blankets and... in Arequipa and anyone who knows me can guess what happened... In the evening we met up with Jürgen and then after two beers and a fun evening the whole s**t began. Suddenly our backpack was gone. It had been standing between Laura and I, opposite of Jürgen the whole night and the moment we wanted to pay it was just gone. We were so shocked, the bar had been totally empty, no one had come close to the table, there was no way explaining where the backpack had gone, who had taken it. Well, it was a lucky thief cause Laura and I had just gotten money from the machine, our passports were in there and Laura's camera along with lots of other things, not so valuable but precious to the heart, like the rafting cd with our pictures and my purse!!! The police was really a great help, they took three hours to note down what had been stolen only to tell us there was little hope. Laura and I had to rush back to the hostel to call home to get our credit cards blocked. Everything felt so hopeless, it was only the third day of our trip and everything was ruined and without money and passports to continue traveling we were about to quit and get back to Lima. And then came Polly... no Moritz at this place and offered to lend us money. We had planned to continue our travel together with him and the other three (Sigi, Sebastian and José) to Puno, and after organizing everything the next morning (needed to buy a special certificate from the police) and the borrowed money we set off for Puno! Puno is really not that beautiful (the landscape during the bus ride there though!). So no need to stay in town, caught a boat right the next morning. First of all it took us to the Islas Flotantes (little islands made only of reed) and then three hours over the Lake Titicaca to the island of Amantani. There we split up into 2 groups and stayed a night with the local people. Back to the roots, I'd say, no running water, no electricity, going to the "bathroom" was a real adventure, especially when it became dark, thank god for the torch light in modern mobile phones!!! I also had to get used the food, there was some kind of corn in everything and I tell you those island people like soups!!! We left Amantani the next morning (a bit tired and smelly) for Taquile. The island is even smaller and as
soon as you arrive you have to climb 500 steps to the very summit.
My breath was already short on Amantani but those steps really gave me the rest but luckily they also gave Laura a hard time! The boys just zoomed up, nothing could stop them after they had conquered the El Misti. The boat trip back to Puno was just as neat, really enjoyed it! That night was our farewell. Laura and I were continuing to Cusco and the boys to Bolivia :-( Sniff! So no sleeping that night either and I felt like someone had run me over the next morning, luckily I just had to climb into a bus and sit for the next 6 hours!
Cusco is also really pretty, with lots of cobbled narrow streets (don't ask me why anyone lives in Lima?!) and a large historic district. We set off to plan our Machu Picchu trip straight away. The tourist office told us to take a bus to Ollantaytambo and there buy the train tickets to and from Machu Picchu. The thing is the train is the only way to get there. The only damn way! It costs a fortune, but you have no choice! So first of all we had to get more money and decided to ask our german honorary consul lady what to do. She turned out to be a big dissappointment, well sorry but I don't know how she got that job, she was totally helpless. The problem of having lost our passports completely overchalenged her, the only tip she had was to get money via western union. And that we did (danke Ilja!) and boy was it a good feeling to have cash back in your pocket!!! That afternoon we set off to Ollantaytambo, a 2 hour bus drive via Urubamba just as the OFFICIAL tourist office had told us to do! When we had finally gotten there and here comes the big surprise, there were NO train tickets left for our return trip!!! Well that was Machu Picchu for us! We couldn't go later cause we had to catch our flight home and although I tried to convince the guy selling the tickets that I didn't even need a seat in the train there was no chance. We had travelled in a stinky little bus for two hours, had alrealy paid our hostel near Machu Picchu and were only about 33km away and couldn't go further... Can you imagine what that felt like? How can two people have so much bad luck?! We then traveled the whole way back to Cusco at night, with our pockets full of cash which we brought along to pay for the train and Machu Picchu and we couldn't care less. Laura stuffed some money into her socks, but I think if we had been robbed we wouldn't even have been surprised. We ended up in a cosy bar with live music that night and after two gin tonics and mojitos we decided Machu Picchu can kiss our..... Somehow it shoudn't be and I'm not gonna go broke trying to see a few piles of stones.... Luckily Cusco is such a pretty town so we were able to spend a slightly hung over but fun day wondering around and sightseeing.
All in all with the first days in Arequipa and the days on Lake Titicaca I'd say we had a great trip with lots of fun, but it could have been so much better if all that crap wouldn't have happened and that makes me a bit sad, I think we deserved just 10 days of pure bliss...
To round things up, our return plane on the 26th was delayed for two hours (we could have just made is to Machu Picchu and back!), we'll probably have to wait for a new passport for 2 months and won't be able to travel before, in Cusco my new camera decided to stop working and today on our way to work the engine of our bus caught fire... and oh yes have I mentioned that 2 weeks ago my jeans and belt were stolen from the changing room at the hospital...?! Best regards, Anna !!!