We left Puno quite late, the start of a bad habit. I bought another paneton (a horribly chemical Christmas cake.) and we looked for other tasty stuff at the market. Beatiful veggies and tasty watermelon.
The road from Puno started out extremely busy, and without shoulders to escape on. By late afternoon we found the reason, on the first of january there’s apparently a huge party out in the fields. Afterwards, the traffic steadily decreased. A few km further we pushed our bikes out in the fields to camp. A beatiful camping spot, with a view on lighting and storms in all directions, luckily not too close above us. The next day it was harder to find camping posibilities, as the region along Titicaca is incredibly populated. Sadly the lake area is not only populated, it is also quite dirty. Our plan of swimming in Titicaca was quickly forgotten. Stinky brown water is not that inviting.
We finally made it to Desaguadero by the evening of the third day. This would be the end of the flat and cosy asphalted road. The roads we planned to take in Bolivia are not asphalted, even if on the altiplano they should be quite flat.
The bordercross took 10 minutes on the Peruvian side, more than an hour on the Bolivian side. Apart from queuing we didn’t have any hassle, I’m unsure if they even noticed our bikes. The borderguards, however, had trouble accepting that Latvia is a country in Europe. ‘Never heard of it! must be fake!’
The shops and food tastes on the Bolivian side were already rather different from what we had gotten used to. The shops in Desaguadero for example seem to open and close whenever they feel like. Women were selling fruits on the street, five minutes later they dissappeared, only to open their shop again half an hour later. Why? No idea, but it makes shopping a bit more complicated. We read that veggies can be hard to get on the Altiplano, true, but that they sell lots of cookies, not true. Seriously. This chemical shit can only remotely be called a cookie.
Still, the views are great and after another lunchtime breakfast it’s high time to get going.