27
DAYS

Rally of the Incas 2016

November 13 - December 9, 2016

DAY
21

DECEMBER 3, 2016

Arequipa to Puno

Keep on Trucking

The mission today was to get to Puno and to see the magnificent Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world and coincidentally the home waters for the entire Bolivian Navy.

It was a short day by endurance rally standards but that didn't mean it was an easy one as for pretty much the entire way we were set on an uphill trajectory back towards the Altiplano. From Arequipa we were lucky in that it was a Saturday morning and that the truck traffic, which is a feature of this area, was relatively light. A plume of ash from volcanoes in the far distance along the Cordillera Chilca reminded us just what an incredible area we were travelling through.

At 4011 m we dutifully heeded the warnings to keep an eye out for vicuña and to respect the 55 kph limit alongside the Laguna de Pampa Blanca and quickly we found ourselves at the first Time Control at Patahuasi el Chinito where Jamie Turner and Bob Harrod sat in their oxygen tent stamping the proffered time cards and admiring the view. Then came a long rolling road over a high plateau to the next Time Control at Santa Lucia just in time for an early lunch then into the only regularity of the day at El Pais. A simple and short affair but one which drew the attention of several rally fans from the local village.

The highlight of the day though for the weary crews must surely have been the wedding which we gatecrashed in the village of Vilque. The entire population had turned out to dance and celebrate along with the happy couple at the very minute that the rally came through so there was no option other than to strop engines and join in the jamboree. 

Keith and Norah Ashworth, Chuck and Pam Lyford, Anton Gonnissen, Inge Willemen, Graham and Marina Goodwin and Lars Annette Rolner fully joined in the celebrations dancing along with the villagers and allowing them to pose with and to sit in their cars. 

The grinning groom and blushing bride got to sit in Keith Ashworth's Bentley and posed for countless pictures as a band struck up a rousing tune. Sadly we had to leave before the 'la hora loca' but not before everyone had wished the happy couple all best wishes for the future.

Soon enough, we got our first glimpse of Titicaca but for a place which is supposed to be the birthplace of the sun it was unfortunately a remarkably dull evening. This didn't stop many eager crews from taking a trip onto the lake and visiting the famous floating islands which belong to the indigenous Uros people.

Finally, in a coincidence which definitely needs mentioning, as we pulled into the car park of the Libertadore hotel this evening what should we come across? Another wedding so, to mark the double, Fred Gallagher put his hand in his pocket and bought the entire bridal party a round of drinks.

Tomorrow we head to Cusco where the prospect of a two day rest period beckons.

Syd Stelvio

 

 

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