I came to Puno on a whim. I hadn't read anything about it, heard of it or heard other travelers mention it. In Copacabana most of the buses were to La Paz, where I had already been or to Cuzco, which I don't want to go quite yet. I saw a sign for Peruvian destinations including Puno, only a 3 hour trip. Sold.
Well Puno turned out to be a bit of a bust. It's not a terrible place or anything. If you don't want to visit the islands on Lake Titicaca, which I already did in Bolivia, or go kayaking, there isn't a lot to do.
There is a folklore festival going on which I caught the end of last nights festivities. The costumes of the dancers are incredible. There were men wearing full suits with hats and what can only be described as Wolverine gloves, except far more intricate and decorated. I saw a display of what appeared to be teenagers in soccer uniforms and masquerade masks dancing to music from about 10 old men playing trumpets and drums.
After a good 36 hours, my nausea passed and I felt it was safe to sample some of the amazing street food on offer. Hello dinner for just over $2. It wasn't particularly healthy, but it was so yummy! Meat skewers with half a potato on the end, thin and crispy sweet bread and hamburgers. A good 18 hours after eating said food, I'm feeling good. Stomach of steel! Or perhaps the food was simply cooked correctly.
The main attraction of Puno in my opinion at least, is this gorgeous cathedral behind one of the main plazas. I honestly just stood there staring at it for about 10 minutes, completely enraptured by its beauty.
This morning I walked through town down to the bus station. After a bit of shopping around, I purchased a bus ticket to Arequipa. I'm glad I shopped around because I got quoted prices from $7-$25 all for the same journey. The afternoon buses were full so I had to take either the 11.30am or 8pm. Given it's a six hour trip, I didn't fancy arriving at 2am, so I took the early one.
This left me just enough time to quickly peruse the handicraft market right on Lake Titicaca. I bought a few small things from this most lovely toothless old man, who was so friendly and willing to use basic Spanish to help me out. Then it was time to hightail it back to the hostel, collect my pack - not forgetting to collect my towel (yes Jess, I showered today) and hop in a taxi back to the bus station.
Annoying things that happened in Puno...
1 My hostel didn't have city maps of Puno.
2 No milk offered at breakfast so I couldn't have a coffee.
3 Two ATMs rejected my cash passport so I wasn't able to withdraw money.