Published: December 1st 2008November 25th 2008
So we had found a bus company that were prepared to take us through the striking farmers passage of violence, though the downside was that it was a proper tour bus and we had to become one of the things I never wanted to become; a tourist following some leader like a lemming, telling us facts that were complete bollocks, but it was a small price to pay to be finally escaping Cusco. It had become a dangerous place for me, especially on the physco women front. Anyway, we visited Inca sites that were complete rubbish and apparently only 1% original Inca, but we did stop at the top of a mountain pass and had a superb view and was incidently the highest point I had ever been, though I didn´t exactly have to work hard for this one. After what should have only taken a couple of hours, but actually took about 7 hours, we arrived in Puno, an unnatractive city, hugging the shores of a very attractive, azzure blue lake; Lago Titicaca, "3,812 m (12,500 ft) above sea level making it the highest commercially navigable lake in the world. By volume of water it is also the largest lake
in South America", source: Wikipedia! Puno itself, as I said, is nothing to write home about, but Lake Titicaca was quite someting. More of a sea than a lake to be honest, due to its size, but shimmering a blue that was very beautiful and surrounded by bleak, desert like mountains. The first part of our boat trip took us to the Uros Islands or floating islands that are made out of reeds amoungst other things and are anchored down by huge rocks. They are inhabited by several hundred people and it does slightly boggle the mind how these things float, though as Ston discovered, they don´t float quite so well in parts, after a short while standing in one spot he realized the icy waters were creeping up his leg! After a brief history and technical speech about the islands, we endured the usual "gringo gets mugged" hard sell and a little sing song from the locals then off we went to Taquile Island which was a complete waste of time and money in itself, though there were some great views that we were briefly allowed to glimpse at, but a 3 hour journey to a not particularly attractive
island, to have a little bit of trout on top of a hill then a 3 hour journey back to Puno was a bit excessive and a nice sunburn mark around my sock line was about the most I had to show for the trip. Don´t get me wrong I am very glad I went to Puno and the floating Islands really are amazing and well worth the visit and the beauty of Lago Titicaca itself is breathtaking, but to be honest I think there would be better ways of seeing it. Oh yeah, apparently Titicaca means Rock Puma because from the air the shape of the lake is like a puma; after seeing satellite images I did not get that and yes I do have an active imagination! So Puno was to be our last place in Peru and we were going into our fifth South American country, one we had heard lots about, not always good, somewhere where the British Foreign Office advised against travel to and as usual, gringos making a fuss about nothing, we were off to Bolivia baby!
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