Leg 2

Trip Start Apr 19, 2008
Trip End Apr 30, 2008

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Where I stayed
Ollaynta Hotel

Flag of Peru  ,
Friday, May 2, 2008

After about 20 hours on a bus, we arrived in Puno.  I was immediately blown away because I didn't realize is would be so beautiful.  On the shore of Lake Titicaca and surrounded by mountains... can't get much better.  We were accosted by a man on the bus offering a hotel and possible tour packages, which we took him up on, making finding a place to stay very easy.  Our room, it turned out, was on the 4th floor.  No big deal except that the air was so thin we were completely huffing and puffing everytime we had to climb the stairs.  Puno is at 3800m.  That night we tried some Andean cuisine... alpaca steak and kingfish from the lake.  Delicious.

The next day we went on a boat tour to both the Floating Islands and Isla Taquile.  The floating islands are one of the coolest things I've ever seen.  There are 40 islands and they are all man-made entirely from reeds.  Once upon a time, the natives of the area didn't have any land, so they took to the water and made these islands.  People still live on the islands and they have schools, police, and churches set up.  The island we visited had 35 people living on it and was 15 years old.  Every 2 months or so, they lay down a new layer of reeds to replace those that have decomposed.  Fascinating.  Allthough it was a little touristy (the people of the island have a set up for tourists that come every day and knew how to sing Twinkle Twinkle little star...) it was extremely interesting.

From there the boat brought us 2 hours out into the lake to Isla Taquile.  The people of this island have their own customs and culture.  They knit hats and weave belts and you know whether the person is single, married, or an official based on their hat, belt, or shawl.  Here we had an excellent lunch of frech trout (probably caught that day) and the family did traditional dance which I was asked to be part of... ha ha.  I got to the dance with one of the island officials, too! 

The next day we wandered around Puno, and since the people were protesting, everything was closed.  I bought WAY too many souvenirs (most presents, in my defense), and El and I went on a paddle boat ride in a boat that had a huge Eagle head on the front.  I didn't get a picture unfortunately.
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