October 25, 2007

The train from Cusco to Titicaca

I expected the train trip from Cusco to Puno on the shore of the Titicaca Lake to be another top event during my trip and I can confirm that it was!

You travel during about ten hours in a luxury Orient Express type of train, doing totally some 390 km (240 miles), meaning an average speed of 39 km or 24 miles / hour. There was no hurry and the trip is so nice that I would have wanted it to be even slower and last even longer! You have the time to see and there is a special glass-walled observation car with an open air platform at the end of the train; that’s where I spent most of my time.

Onboard, you are served Pisco Sours, a nice lunch, snacks… there is some entertainment in the form of music, fashion shows…, you talk with all the other tourists from all over the world…, but the most fascinating things are the landscape, the villages you pass, the inhabitants you see along the tracks…- we were waved at all along!

The first number of hours you follow some rivers (Huatanay, Vilcanota) and the train climbs until it reaches the highest point at La Raya at 4321 meters (14177 ft), where it makes a stop for some 15 minutes. Then it goes slowly downwards over some rather flat, beautiful, agricultural land (Altiplano), passes the city of Julianca and arrives finally at Puno, on the shore of Titicaca, at about 3800 meters (12500 ft). … and tomorrow I plan to talk about the lake!

As usual, I would recommend to visit my photo blog, if you want to see the pictures in full!


Ex-Shammickite said...

Hmmm I've never played pool outside! Interesting.
Your photos on the other blog are super. And that wonderful train! It's just like The Orient Express, you could almost imagine a Murder Mystery taking place on board! Where's Hercule Poirot when you need him?

Drama Div@ said...

Nice post. I had never been on a train before... okay.. that's a lie.. i took a train from gatwick to luton before and tried Puffy Billy in Melbourne.. what i mean is, I've never travelled long distance by train. I would like to give it a try because in a lot of ways, i think it is more comfortable than flying. Sure, it takes longer in pure time, but no worries about getting through the security gate, the waits, the cramped conditions, all of which made it better.

Emily Lin said...

I'm thrilled while seeing your photos. The people there even setting up markets right beside the railway, and seemed like spending much of their time under the sun. Oh they even played pool/ snooker by putting the table on the field. And they seemed really like to wear a hat on their head. I think it's because of the hot weather? Is my guess right?

alice said...

Alors ça, ce doit être une expérience assez inoubliable! Et les Indiens qui jouent au billard, fantastique!

Hogrelius said...

Fantastisk resa du har gjort! Fina bilder som vanligt.Har du hört Björn Afzelius inspelning av "Titicaca"?

Peter said...

No Hercule Poirot needed! No sleeping cars, more than then passengers..., but anyhow nice Orient Express atmosphere!

drama div@:
Train is one of the nicest ways to travel, as well by slow "Orient Express"s or by fast "TGV"s now covering a large part of Europe. Paris - London is now made in slightly more than two hours...! Much nicer than flying!

emily lin:
The weather is not hot (due to the altitude), but the sun is very intensive! I had a fantastic tan after a few days, but then it of course peeled off quite quickly (I neglected the hat).

Peter said...

Oui, le train passe par le centre de tous les villages et villes... et il y bp de monde!

Nej, har inte hört... Tror att sàngen kommer fràn Frankrike - Serge Gainsbourg.

oldmanlincoln said...

I have heard the word titicaca and now get to see it. That is neat. I also looked at the mountains and wonder if they were once upon a time covered with trees? If they were stripped off and used then I would wonder why the soil on the mountain didn't just wash away? Those kinds of things flood my mind when I look at pictures. Those thoughts are in tune with our times because the photos probably show what is and what "was" used to be totally different and human intervention has changed the face of the globe everywhere.

The pictures also show lots of beautiful places and people most of us never get to see. Thanks for that. I am also very glad you were able to go and smart enough to go while you are still young enough to enjoy it.

hpy said...

Il faut juste ajouter la musique (qui fait aussi la pub pour une marque de café) à ce post, et c'est parfait.

Peter said...

Well, the real look of Titicaca, you will get tomorrow! I don't know about trees in the past, but I doubt there were any during the last thousands of years... don't forget the altitude here!
... and I wish you a very Happy Birthday!

Personne est parfaite!

Nathalie said...

Ah la musique pour le café, bravo Hpy!

Magnifiques photos de train. Est-ce que le chemin à pied passe non loin de là, ou suit-il un itinéraire complètement différent ?

Annie said...

Train travel has suffered terribly here in the US and those of us who remember traveling by train years ago miss it terribly. Perhaps I shall just have to travel to Ecuador and take this train to enjoy the pleasures of such travel again. Thanks for showing these scenes, Peter.

Peter said...

Ca dépend... A la fin, la grande route (tout est rélatif) passe à coté.

Trains have disappeared also in Peru, but fortunately some of the lines are still working. I believe they should try to revive some other also, like from Lima to Arequipa, from Arequipa to Puno... The landscapes are magnificient and I'm sure that tourists would be attracted!

delirium said...

Quelqu'un a dit ici que peter me draguait honteusement...non non je vous rassure, peter fait cela dans les règles de l'art. Il m'invite en train dans une région que j'ai envie de connaître par-dessus tout, il me montre des belles photos agrémentées d'un texte tout à fait intéressant à lire. Et surtout surtout, il me montre une très belle photo qui m'émeut (émeu: animal étrange à long cou, à ne pas confondre avec lama: animal étrange sans long cou): la petite fille qui porte le petit mouton. Voilà, voilà.

Peter said...

En effet, quand (si) je drague, je le fait toujours d'une manière très convenable, j'offre du champagne... tout dans les règles d'art!
La fille avec le mouton était venue pour être prise en photo, envoyée par ses parents sans doute; elle était très timide, touchante!

Cergie said...

Qui parle de moi ici ? Delphinium ?
Mais non Delirium !
Ne nous mêlons pas de cela...

Quel dépaysement ici. Sûrement si tu vas en Suisse cela te fera pas le même effet. Le toit du monde presque (cf la végétation d'herbe rase et jaune). Même s'il ne s'agit pas du même continent.
Voyage en train c'est l'idéal pour profiter du paysage et s'imprégner du décor. Mieuq qu'à pied parce qu'à pied on ne voit pas les choses évoluer car cela va trop lentement. Tu aurais pu essayer àdos de lama. Ceci dit, tu serais pas encore rentré.

Le train je ne le voyais toutefois pas ainsi. J'imaginais des sièges en bois à claire voie, comme ceux du train de l'Arbresle à Ste Foy l'Argentière. Les gens avec les cages à poules sur les genoux. Celui ci semble (trop ?) super confort.

T'es tu baigné dans le lac ?
On le saura au prochain épisode...
A demain !

Shionge said...

I hear you Peter about the lovely train ride and with such nice photos too I'll be happy to jump onboard the choo choo train too :D

SusuPetal said...

I sit in a train many times a year, in Finland it is still a quite concenient way to travel.

I remember the name Titicaca way back from school, it was said to mean the rock of a puma and the inka-culture began by the lake.
Hmmm, one does remember funny things from school!

It's nice that you have the photos in your photo blog, too.

Peter said...

Le paysage est jaune, parce que c'est le printemps. En avril, après les pluies d'été, le pasyage est verdoyant! - Non, je me suis pas beigné (l'eau reste assez froide toute l'année - encore que après quelques baignades dans les eaux glacées en Finlande...).

I would have liked to see you around!

... except if you want to go to Kotka. ... and you start telling what I wanted to say in tomorrow's post!

Chuckeroon said...

...like the others, I found the billiard tables and the lady with the guitar quite charming.

As Abe has said...you are fortunate to have taken such a wonderful trip. And tks to broadband, you can share it with us!

Peter said...

The popluation looks quite happy, at least smiling, in general! Yes, I dreamt aobut this trip since long and now I made it, while me knees and the rest are still fairly operative!

JoAnn - NL "My digital eyes" :) said...

Hi Peter,
I looked, and looked, enjoying what I see, and want to see all of your photography!!! I also visited you other blog, can't get enough of "travelling through your camera's eyes" Thanks I look forewards to see your next post of 'the lake'

Thanks for sharing:)

GMG said...

First the Machu Picchu: I started dreaming of it at least in 1979, when a friend made the Inca Trek and walked to the site! Still dreaming... And seeing your pictures, I'll keep dreaming!
Then, the train! I love trains and train trips. This one looks fabulous!

Kate said...

This must have been quite a trip. The train and the view of the terraced agriclture (at least I think that's what it is) are a glimpse into another land. Thanks.

Ash said...

More lovely images Peter! It sure must have been a fascinating trip :)

Cuckoo said...

Train journeys are my favourites. ;)

Nihal said...

WOW! Great scenes Peter. And most importantly, a travel ride ~ 10 hrs in a luxury Orient Express type of train? Sounds like very interesting! I, too, love train travels b' cus it gives you lots of opportunities to discover around freely. Did you know the Orient Express has arrived in Istanbul on Sep 6, and then departed Ist to Venice on Sep 8th? A 124 year-old Orient Express it is, and I need to work for years and years to be able to travel within -one of my dreams-:) You can find my article about Orient Express on my journal from monthly archieves on September.

Sonia said...

Fantastic photos, Peter! What a great tour!

Peter said...


Yes, you (and your wife) who have been "everywhere" else, you must also see these places (and trains)!

Yes, terraces are used for agriculture, since thousands of years... This gives thanks to exposure and irrigation several crops per year - a very intensive agriculture!

Peter said...

Yes, it was!

Does it have to be "Orient Express"?

I understand that the modern "Orient Express" normally stops at Venice, but occasionally also reaches Istanbul! Another dream voyage. (I have been onboard the European Orient Express, but only for a short ride in France, invited by the French Railways. Already that short trip was fascinating!)