The busride to Puno was "interesting". Along the way from Cusco we would visit a few optional sightseeing spots such as colonial churches and Inca ruins. We were comforted by the fact that the bus company was called "first class", sounds good, we could use some comfort! On embarking, it appeared that some of the seats were double booked. After some time of confusion they found two seats for us. So off we went ! Despite the "first class" Volkswagen bus, it broke down at the first stop. It is amazing how inventive the busdrivers are in Peru. I saw him cutting a piece out of an old inner tire and use it to fix the leakage in the fuel line. Simple amazing ;-)
Once in Puno, we were surprised to see that someone had our names written out on a whiteboard. Our travel agency in Cusco had kindly provided our arrival details to a sister agency in Puno, very clever. We thanked the lady who was ready to sell us a dozen trips on the Titicaca lake and found our way to a friend of a friend in Lima. We were kindly invited to stay a few days in a guest room of the family. In Puno we visited the Amaru Meru dimensional doorway (http://www.labyrinthina.com/amaru.htm) and got ourself on a tour to the Amantani and Taquile Islands. A visit to the Uros islands (floating reed islands) seemed unavoidable, so we relaxed on the floating reed while the locals performed their tourist show (there are no Uros indians anymore, the wifes of Puno workers sit on the Island in traditional dress to entertain the tourists and sell their handmade handicrafts, but as soon as the tourists are gone they leave the islands to go live in their more modern tinbox homes). Amantani and Taquile were extremely beautiful. Especially on Amantani people still live very authentic, there are no hotels so you get to stay in a spare room with the inhabitants. Very basic, but romantic (dining with candle light) and enough potatoes on your plate to fill the stomach for the 2 coming days ;-) Once back in Puno, the first item on our agenda was to find a hot shower. We got escorted by the police to the nearest tourist suitable public shower (the police in Peru is always interested to help out lost tourists). Finally, we left Puno for Copacabana (Bolivia) by taking a public bus to the border town to get into Bolivia via the Kasani crossing.
Copacabana is a nice small beach town. From here all the boats for the Island of the Sun and the Island of the Moon leave daily. Interesting fact is that we did not change our clock after crossing the Peruvian-Bolivian border and as such we missed the boat one morning to the Islands ! This way we got to spend a whole day in Copacabana, visiting the diappointing cathedral. The disillusion was greatly compensated by the magnificient views we had on the surrounding hills at the Inca ruins. At last, we managed to be on time for the boat to the Island of the Sun. We were a bit surprised by the fact that we did not get much time to visit the Inca ruins in the north of the Island, you get about 2hours and a half, but most of the time is spend walking breathlessly (>3500 meters) upwards to the Inca ruins. We managed to spend 15 minutes at the offering table and then it was time to make our way back to the harbour to get to the Island of the Moon. The Inca ruin on this Island are fairly small and less interesting than the ones of the Island of the Sun however. Finally we arrived back in the middle point of the Island of the Sun to walk up the 1000 Inca steps (or what was left from it, local workers were working on some sections of the path). Once we got to the top and found a nice (but 35 dollars, quite expensive !) guesthouse we took in the beautiful views we came for.
The next day, we made an interesting and exhausting walk on the Island to the Inca temple of the Sun, before returning to Copacabana. Wee were glad to have been there on foot as the returning boat stops there to allow a visit of ... 5 minutes ...
In Copacabana we signed up for the evening bus to La Paz !