Lake Titicaca

Trip Start Jul 31, 2005
Trip End Sep 05, 2007

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Flag of Peru  ,
Monday, August 6, 2007

From Cuzco we were once again lucky, or unlucky whichever way you want to look at it! and bagged two of the last seats on a very stuffy uncomfortable bus seven hours south to Lake Titicaca.
Poor Matt spent most of his birthday cramped up on the bus! The journey was beautiful though, we passed through lots of traditional Andean villages, and stopped at a mountain pass that sat at 4300metres and gazed at the snowcapped mountains for a while, before jumping back on the bus and heading to Puno.

Upon arrival in Puno we found somewhere cheap, warm and clean and then headed into town to check out the nightlife! We had a few beers in a cool bar which was upstairs with wooden floors, it was so nice that we once again could not resist the Pisco cocktail that we had before! Then it was onto the internet cafe for Matt to collect his birthday emails. From there we went for dinner and drank even more beer and pisco. We found our way back to our hostal no problems in the dark, and it seemed as though Matt was conversing in fluent Spanish with everyone for the entire night! Funny the effects of Alchol sometimes.

Yesterday we spent the day recovering and nursing our hangovers, we wandered around the plaza and the city centre for a bit, before giving up and having an early night! Oh, we also managed to break the door - well it could have been fixed - and so last night spent the night without a lock on our door, our backpacks jammed up against it! This morning after showers and breakfast the first job was to move to our new room!

We walked down to what they call the port in Puno and jumped on one of many frequent boats out to the floating islands. These islands have numerous names - floating isles, Uyros isles, reed isles, Isla Flotantes - they all mean the same thing.

Why do these islands float and what is so special about them?

Well, they sit on one of the most scenic lakes in the world - Lake Titicaca, which is also the worlds highest navigable lake at approx 3800metres. The islands float because they are made of reeds, reeds rot from the bottom and so all the locals need to do is replenish the top. It was extremley spongy and sometimes we thought we were going to put our foot through the floor! Not only are the islands theirselves made of reeds, so are the homes, churches, shops, boats - literally everything on them. They are inhabitied by the Uyros people, we are told however that they are hardly any pure blooded Uryos left as they have intermarried with the Aymara who live on other islands in the lake. They dress so colourful, have those amazing clip ons on the bottom of their plaits, speak Aymara or Uyros before Spanish, and live on these islands in reed huts behind their handicraft stalls.

We spent a few hours visiting these incredible islands before heading back to Puno and eating a delicious trout lunch which is a delicacy in these parts. We shopped until we dropped at the handicraft market and are now planning for our trip tomorrow into Bolivia.


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