Cuzco to Puno, Peru
This is the Andean Explorer, the train we couldn’t afford to take – instead we took the Inka Express bus service (not particularly recommended) which follows pretty much the same route for less than a quarter of the price. This photo was taken at an ear popping altitude of 4,335 metres above sea level where they kindly let all the Inkas off the bus to allow us to buy souvenirs and take photos of children with llamas for a small fee.
The journey gives an incredible vista of the Andes: the dry plains, dark mountains, flamingos drinking from the lakes. The women washing clothes in the rivers, cow herders sitting with their herds in the almost barren landscape and always figures, dressed in traditional clothes, walking across the vast plains going to who-knows-where to do who-knows-what. Stone churches (some barely decorated and others rich with lavish frescos) fringe dusty village squares where men and women congregate in corners, leaning against stone walls, waiting.
It’s like taking a bus ride through the pages of a National Geographic special issue. It’s a long trip (9 hours) but worth it for the journey alone.