245 miles of Altiplano riding at up to 4300 metres
06.05.2010 - 06.05.2010 28 °C
Leaving Puno we rode along the shore of Lake Titicaca for a few miles before leaving it behind to head Northwest along the Peruvian Altiplano.
After a few miles we had to negotiate a ring road around Juliaca. The first problem was finding it but once on it the traffic was manic. Peruvian drivers seem to be a little less forgiving than Bolivian drivers. As the traffic increased we were attacked from all angles. Buses, cars, bikes pedestrains,dogs and most deadly of all the little three wheel" putputs".
Even the road conspired against us when without warning it went into a dual carriageway. All the locals seemed to know it was a dual carriageway so why bother putting up signs to show outsiders that it had changed!! Consequently we found ourselves travelling the wrong way against the traffic. The strange thing was that none of the opposing vehicles thought to tell us. We had to figure it out from the fact everything travelling in our direction seemed to be about ten metres from us and divided by a concrete barrier. A quick change of direction found us on the right side of the road only to find within a short distance that the road was blocked because of road works. This being South America however, not only was our side blocked but the previous enemy terriitory of the opposite carriageway was also blocked by a large mound of earth!! What do they say if you can't go around it just go over it and thats just what we did and carried on. No one batted an eyelid !
The road from Juliaca rose gradually to a high pass at 4,300 mtres where we found another group of bikers this time from Chile who were doing a similar route to ourselves but in the opposite direction. At the rest stop were a number of women dressed in traditional costume with Alpacas who managed to get money out of passers by for a photo with them. This started me thinking, as a true Yorkshireman there must be a business opportunity back home. So if in the future you are passing Carter Bar on your way to or from Scotland and you see a man dressed in a strange costume, talking with a Yorkshire accent and asking for some money for a photograph with him and a couple of Cheviot sheep just pay up it'll help towards his retirement fund.