PERU: Day 13
We were very excited about boarding the Andean Explorer which is a luxury Belmond Train for our 2D/1N journey from Puno to Cusco. We had spent the previous night at the Mirador del Titikaka Hotel in Puno and our taxi arrived promptly to transfer us to the station. On arrival we handed over our luggage and were escorted inside to a waiting area with a glass of champagne and a a gentleman playing the violin.. Great start!
We boarded the train and after more drinks were served the train Manager gave us a briefing and then our Butler escorted us to our carriage. Our Junior Double Cabin was spacious with a huge window and a comfortable bathroom.
Lunch was soon served in an ornate dining car. What an experience leaving Puno! There are miles of vendors who actually trade on the same train tracks that we were travelling on. The train moved slowly and regularly let out a whistle to warn of its imminent arrival and the locals would scramble to move their goods off the tracks before we arrived. At regular intervals the train tracks crossed roads and queues of traffic built up until we passed. We felt a little uncomfortable looking out at people struggling to make a living from the luxury of the train carriage.
After lunch we explored. The Piano Bar is lovely and spacious and the waiter a lovely friendly chap.
The scenery was spectacular as the train crossed through deep valleys and high mountains with snow capped peaks while we enjoyed a Pisco Sour from the open deck providing fresh Andean air and chatting to friendly Swedish and Dutch couples.
After lunch we disembarked at a tiny church located at the foot of the spectacular and rugged La Raya mountain range which is the highest point on the route at 4,335m. Llamas and vicunas were freely roaming in the distance. Locals raced towards us to sell us their goods – we bought a lovely dining room table cloth. The Church was quaint and filled with the overwhelming scent of smell of incense and candles. As we departed the sunset was stunning.
We returned to the train and enjoyed a high tea whilst enjoying more beautiful scenery from the windows.
We decided to have a nap but ended up being enraptured by the scenery! We had agreed to meet Tony and Ness in the Lounge Car for drinks prior to dinner. The pianist created a wonderful atmosphere and took requests from people.We then returned to the dining carriage for an amazing dinner.
We were up at 8am and ready for our delicious breakfast as we approached Cusco – a City that was once the capital of the Inca Empire. We could see the terraced fields from our window. When we disembarked the entire team clapped us off the train… a wonderful experience and great staff!
An amazing rail journey which should definitely be undertaken when in Peru! Booking the journey on-line was seamless and communication was excellent. Service, food and scenery increadible.