Lake Titicaca - The world's highest navigable lake
Trip Start Sep 08, 2008
35Trip End Nov 02, 2008
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Again an early start to our day as we handed in our bags to reception for the time that we'd be away on the islands. It was also the first real opportunity for us to get some washing done, so we handed in quite a few kilograms of it. Didn't care how much it was or wasn't going to cost us.
Once we'd handed in our washing we waiting for a while to see whether the others would arrive before we enquired about where breakfast was. We were told that it was at the top of the building, 6 floors up. Maybe 6 floors up doesn't sound like too much but when you're about 4000m above sea level every bit of excursion takes every bit of effort to get anywhere. I was completely, and I mean completely out of breath by the time I reached the top.
Our guide for this trip, Manual introduced himself and then informed us that our limos were waiting outside
Since we were going to be hosted by families on Amantani island for the night, we were requested to buy our host families a gift. Something like pasta, canned milk, tuna, fruit etc. Nothing like sweets or chocolates. So after a bit of shopping for tuna, milk, cooking oil and past, we also included some books and pencils should the family we were to be staying at have any kids. In retrospect, it would've been great to know what the family and home would be like before getting there as while we were there, we thought of so many things that would be useful to them, not only in terms of food, but cooking utensils as well.
Anyways, so we set off to the first island, Taquile, which was about 32km from Puno. This took us a leisurely three hours to get there, as we first dropped off some toilets which were to be donated to a group on the mainland somewhere
On arriving on Taquile island, we took an exhausting 40 minutes to climb around to the main square of one of the towns. The men's jobs' on the island basically was agriculture and knitting. Knitting was not for women who instead had to spin the wool and do the weaving. Their clothing was very distinctive and bright allowing people to identify who was single, married or even a leader of sorts. After a 30 minute saunter around the square, we walked across to the other side of the island for lunch with a view.
All of us were lined up to sit on the one side of the table overlooking lake Titicaca. It almost looked as though we were at The Last Supper. The menu consisted of a choice Quinua soup and a choice of trout or omelette. The soup was delicious, and so was the fish. With what these people have they really make the effort for the tourists as I believe that right now we are one of their main sources of income
We then headed back down the island to catch our boat to Amantani island. Though the water was choppy, I managed to feel fine the whole way there without a hint of sea sickness. We were paired up (Nix and myself obviously) and introduced to our host families. We met Flora, our mama who took us up to her home to meet her son Christiaan and her husband. On arrival at her home, Flora showed us our room which consisted of 2 beds and a table. The light was battery powered. After we dropped off our luggage, Flora gave us each an alpaca hat to wear. I think this was in aid of identifying us when we were back with the rest of our group, and then walked us up to the main square.
While the plan was to hike up the mountain, everyone but myself opted to play soccer instead. I really wanted to see the sunset, and with my windbreaker and gloves in hand, I head up the mountain. The climb was quite steep but very enjoyable despite the lack of oxygen. Once I reached the top, it felt like I was in Greece with the dry surroundings and sunset. It was almost as though I was on the island of Santorini. I took a few rewarding photos before heading back down completely frozen.
We arrived back with our host family having followed Christiaan back down the mountain. Our family was to provide us with dinner, and I had assumed that we'd help cook, but instead we awkwardly sat around the basic kitchen watching Flora cook, she and her husband quietly talked to one another while Nix and I looked on. Because of our limited Spanish and Quechuan vocabulary we really struggled to make conversation and engage with them, even though we were given a small pamphlet containing a few Quechuan words and phrases, but we tried none the less
Flora was also nursing a small lamb, Pancho, at the time. This lamb was very adoring of her and followed her absolutely everywhere. While she was cooking it lay beside the fire to try and keep warm. It was really adorable.
Our dinner was that of a vegetable soup which consisted mainly of potatoes and a main course of rice and a potato stew. Nix hardly ate while I managed to finish most of it. Although the food was good, I really struggled to enjoy my dinner as Nicki and I were seated at the kitchen table and the rest of the family ate quietly sitting on little stools in the food preparation area. The only thing I could do at the time was to offer to wash the plates to try and ease my guilty feeling of taking advantage of them.
Anways, as there was to be a "fiesta" later in the evening, Flora dressed us up in some of their bright traditional clothing before leading us up to the hall. There were two bands playing music while we danced with the local people. They then danced for us doing some of their more traditional dances. It wasn't too long after that we followed Flora back home to sleep.
We were initially worried about getting cold, but our worries quickly abated once we climbed into bed. It felt as though there were a few atmospheres pushing down on our lungs with the weight of the blankets. They were really heavy, but it also made one feel very cosy and snuggled.
At 4am, despite trying to suppress my dire need to wee, I headed on out. The toilet was located about 15 meters from the house and consisted of a small cubicle of a room with a toilet (no seats seem to be the norm) and a bucket which was used to flush. This wasn't as bad an experience as I expected it to be as it had warmed up a bit and the moon was up and lighting the way.