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Friday, July 9, 2010

Peru Vacation Day 6: Quick Update

Today was one with no guide prattling on about various things to note and observe at some historic or archeological site. No. Today was just spent traveling. In luxury too! Today, we took the train from Cusco to Puno.

The train left Cusco at 8:00 AM and reached Puno at about 6:00 PM after 2 stops on the way. It was like traveling in first class on a plane, but much better. We traveled through some of the most scenic territory a rail line has ever been laid through, and we could savor every moment of it from an open observation car on the train. I could hang my head out of the side of train and enjoy the scenery with the wind blowing in my hair. Don't try that from your first class seat on the plane!

Tonight's hotel stay is in the hotel Hacienda in Puno. It is a high-rise hotel, the first we have been in on this vacation. The hotel has 6 floors, and we are on the 4th floor. The room is clean, comfortable and quiet, which are all important because we have to go to bed soon and catch a full night's restful sleep for a day full of activities in Puno tomorrow.

Before coming on this vacation, I was reading some online forums discussing travel from Cusco to Puno. One of the questions was whether the train was worth it since the train costs $200 while you can do the same trip in a luxury bus for about $50. The bus and train follow approximately the same route between the two cities, so the scenery they pass through is probably approximately the same.

But I doubt the bus would give you the freedom to move about on an open observation deck taking pictures of anything you like, whether it is on the right or left of the train. On the bus, you are pretty much restricted to taking pictures of whatever appears outside your window and that is about it. If a wonderful scene unfolded on the opposite side of the bus, you will probably have to either miss it or inconvenience other passengers trying to climb over them to use their window! And you will still have to satisfy yourself with taking the photograph through a glass window, rather than through open air.

I will know whether the arguments above are sufficient for me to recommend the train over the bus for sure, after I take the bus back to Cusco from Puno in a couple of days. Be sure to come back and see how the argument evolves after the return trip!

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