Today started more or less early at 6:00, so as to catch our 8:00 Andean Explorer train to Puno. We had breakfast, and were picked up just before 7:00 by the same driver we had on our Sacred Valley Tour. He drove us, with our luggage, to the Cuzco PeruRail Station. Though the road leading up to the station was gravel, the station was our first hint as to how fancy the train actually was.
Aside from our chance to look at the schedule of the train ride with a time of arrival, a time of the one stop at the highest point on the railroad, and times when events took place in the bar car and meals were served, we were able to sit in luxurious chairs that were the same as those in the train, and listen to the best Peruvian music we had had the chance to listen to yet. Before boarding the train, Daddy and I discussed the technique the musicians were using to play the guitar.
Once we boarded the train, Sahil and I sat next to each other, and were especially excited to observe that the train had outlets that we could use to charge our phones.
From then until lunch was fairly uninteresting. Much of the railroad was along the Vilcabamba River, which meets the Urubamba River (meaning “main tributary of the Amazon River”) near Machu Picchu. This explained to us why we stopped near Aguas Calientes, the city that we stayed in when we went to Machu Picchu, even though that is North of Cuzco, and Puno is South.
Just a few minutes after this stop, we stopped at the highest point on the railroad, which is at over 14,000 feet, the altitude of the summit of Mt. Rainier. Here, a small market of the same products sold at all the other markets we visited has been assembled.
Soon after this stop, lunch was served. I had a Quinoa Soup as an appetizer, leek ravioli with carrot sauce as an entrée, and a multi-flavored mousse for dessert. After lunch, the rest of the trip was fairly uninteresting. We were served afternoon tea with a snack of sandwiches and chocolate as we passed through Juliaca, a large city near Puno.
It was just over an hour later that we reached Puno. We were picked up outside the train station by our guide, Bloody, and our driver, Mario. They first drove us to a pharmacy, where we bought medicine for Mami and Seona, then to our hotel, Hotel Libertador. The only thing we spent the evening doing was eating dinner at Los Uros Restaurant, where I ate Falfalles in Andean Huancain Sauce. It hurt, since I had somehow formed sores all along the bottom of my mouth, either from dehydration or the altitude.