Floating Islands and High Altitude Soccer

Trip Start Nov 17, 2006
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Trip End Jan 24, 2007


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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Update 9: Floating Islands and High Altitude Soccer
Location: Lake Titicaca, Peru & Bolivia
Date: Thurs 21st Dec 06

We have just spent the last 3 days at Lake Titicaca - the highest lake in the world at 3809m above sea level. We spent 2 of those days on the Peruvian side and 1 on the Bolivian side.

Getting there (from Cusco to Puno) was pretty terrible though. We left on what we thought was supposed to be a nice bus but it turned out to be a local bus - which was terrible which we were stuck on for 10 hours through the night - i dont think i got much sleep at all. The security on the bags was terrible - acutally non existent and so every time we stopped i was watching for our bags. On top of this, we were in the second back row and there were 5 adults on the backseat with 5 kids on top of them as well as crying babies towards the front of the bus. The road was bumpy and the temperature bitterly cold. I was so glad to get off the bus in the morning!

The best thing about puno was the breakfast we had at this proper bread shop. We paid something like AUD$3 for an american breakfast with french toast and i had a proper coffee with baileys in - for breakfast.

We did a 2 day tour out of Puno, Peru which consisted of a trip to the floating reed islands called the Uros Islands, and stayed the night in a peruvian familys house on Amantani Island and touring the next day to another island the next day. After the terrible bus ride, the boat was so nice and smooth and not smelly. We sat on the roof of the boat and chatted with other travellors and played cards. Good Times!

The floating islands were quite amazing. Nestled in amongst the reeds, these islands are made entirely from reeds on a bed of reed roots which they harvest from elsewhere. There is about 2m of cover to the base of the islands and they are anchored by ropes. We stopped at 2 of these islands - the first was purely touristic with no-one living on it, and the second was much more liveable with tv antennaes sticking up here and there. Steve and I had the best time playing with a young boxer dog - and unlike most dogs in south america that we have seen that have self-esteem issues, this dog was so playful and he ripped my t-shirt amongst other things.

We reached Amantani island later in the day, had lunch and were taken up the hill where we played a game of soccer at about 4km of altitude. The strangest thing was, we were only 200m or so above the lake, which seems as big as an ocean, but the altitude was a real killer to my fitness. The game took place on a concrete field the size of an indoor court with tourists versus some locals. After going hard for a minute i felt like i had been playing for an hour. We ended up loosing to the locals but we had some good chances, and had we had more sporting players then we may have put up a better fight.

The next day, we toured to another island, cant remember the name but it sounds like Taquila, and then went back to Puno. On the way back we were treated to the most amazing thunderstorm with forked lightning in almost 180 degrees of view.

The next day, we headed over the border to Bolivia, and stayed at Copacabana, also on lake titicaca. We headed out to the Island of the Sun in the afternoon and had just 45 mins there. That was enough time to climb the hill and have a beer at the top at this awesome cafe with wood stump seats.

The best thing about lake titicaca, was the shear brillance of the clouds, blue sky, water and islands and the like. We have some of our best photography from here. Check it out!

Nath
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