Pavement! Cusco to Lake Titicaca

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Llama near Pucará
Llama near Pucará (View on flickr)

We finally got started riding again and headed south from Cuzco on delightful paved road. It was paved all the way! Sometimes it was smooth, sometimes rough. Sometimes there was a good shoulder, sometimes not, but it was delightful. The traffic was moderate, the weather was good, the one climb (over a 4300 meter or 14,100 foot) pass was gentle. We took 5 days for the ride, and while we were tired when we got to Puno and Lake Titicaca, we were sure happy with the road.

We got to visit one ruin, Raqchi, that we'd never even heard of. But the guide was good and it was an interesting place, constructed in 1300 A.D. or so by the Incas apparently primarily as a food storage location, as there are more than 150 storerooms that were used for grain. But there were lots of artisans there too, as there still are today.

Adobe ruins of Raqchi
Adobe ruins of Raqchi (View on flickr)

One town where we stopped, Calapuja, showed us hospitality beyond anything we have seen to date, even with all the kind people we've met in our 12,000 miles. We had heard that there might be a little hotel in the town, so we went into the plaza and sat down for a rest before we started figuring it out. We were just sitting there, and a little girl came over and said "Are you going to stay here tonight"? We said "yes", a little confused. We figured maybe she was the daughter of the hotelkeeper or something. But moments later a fellow came by on a bike and said "follow me - you'll be sleeping in the church". We followed him, and he opened up the rectory section of the church, with running water, a flush toilet, a kitchen, and beds! It was amazing. We've had people take us home before, but nothing quite like this.

On the last day we finally spotted Lake Titicaca. Lake Titicaca is the world's highest navegable lake, at 3800 meters (12,500 feet). It's quite large, very blue and spans a big piece of the border between Peru and Bolivia.

Riding down Abra La Raya, the pass south of Cuzco
The Cuzco to Puno train passing by
Plowing in preparation for planting, south of Cuzco
Plowing preparing for planting south of Cuzco
Village south of Cuzco
The Cuzco to Puno train passing by
Randy riding on nice pavement south of Cuzco
Remains of 160 storehouses from Inca times at Raqchi