Puno - Lake Titicaca and the Floating islands


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South America » Peru » Puno » Lake Titicaca » Taquile Island
May 11th 2014
Published: May 15th 2014
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The luxury canoe out from the floating islandsThe luxury canoe out from the floating islandsThe luxury canoe out from the floating islands

It was a very relaxing 30 minutes.
Hello followers! How's it all going in the sunburnt country these days? Sorry that it has taken a while for me to bring you all up to date. Very hard to catch up a week when everything is still busy. Really want to thank you for reading my blogs too 😊! It is great to see the stats and know that I won't have to repeat myself a 100 times when I get home LOL!

But seriously, it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling knowing that you are on this journey with me - from kids, to relatives, friends, teamies, workmates & I guess the occasional boss too!

So let's get down to the business of telling you all about the Puno region. Ummm... Puno the city itself is nothing really amazing. It has a slightly less sophisticated feel about it than Cusco, but I guess that is because most tourists just stop momentarily to sort themselves for the wonderful Lake Titicaca. This is exactly what the 4 British girls and myself did after a very long and uncomfortable bed bus ride, which had us arriving at 5.30 in Puno. Well I tell a lie, because Ros seemed to
Floating island....Floating island....Floating island....

This is an optical illusion and I didn't think I would get the picture as it way out on the horizon.
manage a good night's sleep which none of us could figure out how she did! All arrangements happened like clockwork and we were able to have a shower (on advice as there are no showers at the homestays on the island we were staying at) plus a reasonable breakfast. Then it was time to taxi to the pier and board our vessel. A comfortable seaworthy craft it was at that and the Lake turned on it's charm with a beautiful calmness and blue sky.

A floating island was our first stop and it literally does float! I was a bit sceptical about this, thinking it might be a tourist gimmick etc, however after a detailed and very funny explanation on how the island is created and then lived on, felt that it was a little bit of paradise. The people were lovely and we went for a ride on their 'mercedes' canoe. On returning we were invited to look inside their homes and of course, be persuaded to buy something from them. Not hard to persuade me!

The next island was where we would spend the night. After a very long walk of about 30 minutes up hill, following our family (we stayed at the President's house - of course!) we were shown to our room and allowed to rest for about an hour before we had lunch. Typical of the normal family meal we were given soup and then omelete with coco & thyme tea to help with altitude sickness. Lake Titicaca is the highest navigational lake in the world and we were going to be climbing to approx. 4,500 metres to see the sunset. Have to admit, that as we were gathered up to meet with everyone else (at what looked like the world's largest soccer field in front of an ancient temple), I had my doubts as to whether I would reach the top. We listened to folk music and were given some sprigs of thyme to rub in our palms and then sniff. The effect of opening up the airways was amazing and so we clutched these little sprigs like they were gold!

Off we headed - very slowly and made sure that we took in the view as often as possible. It was spectacular. You will be pleased to know that I reached the top and then proceeded to make my 3
One of the floating islandsOne of the floating islandsOne of the floating islands

There base is the roots of the reeds and they are tied together by rope made from the reeds. The houses are all made of reeds and the flooring is about 3 mtrs deep of cut up reeds that need to be replaced every month or so. This islands do just float around with about 30 people living on them.
wishes walking around the ruins. None of the wishes can be for yourself if you want them to come true, hopefully I will be able to see that I wished correctly 😊. The sunset was just brilliant but have to admit, the Australian sky still can't be topped for the unbelievable colours it displays. Just makes you appreciate home all the more I think.

I have decided that I LOVE walking downhill now!!! But this downhill walk did have its dangers as, of course, I forgot to put my torch in my backpack and the girls didn't have one. We made it down just before we couldn't see our nose in front of our face but not without the odd squeal and a fall (poor Lauren). We then had about an hour before diner and then the chance to dress up in traditional costumes for a festival! It was so much fun to see ourselves in the big, boofy skirts, white shirts with beautiful embroidery, plus the black embroidered shawl worn over the head. Again the treacherous walk in the dark with only my torch to lead most of the way. The 'festival' was a little bit of a
My bedroom at the host familyMy bedroom at the host familyMy bedroom at the host family

The house was so quaint but, just to get an idea of how much like a fairy tale house it felt like, look at the next pic.
none event. We thought that there would be traditional dancing that we would watch and then be invited to join. The band was playing, we did get dragged up by the ladies to be whirled around in a circle for about 20 minutes, but no examples of the traditional dance provided. Drinks could be purchased and the band did take the hat around for a donation, but all in all we were sooooo knackered, that at 9.30pm we begged to be led back down the dark treacherous pathway to our cosy little beds.

Up at 5.30am for breakfast and the next boat trip to our last island. There again we walked for about 40 mins all up hill to reach the main plaza. The views were unbelievable and I almost got run over by a cow (again!) but OMG! the lunch!!!! We looked at the market where all the work is made by the community with profits shared equally and then our guide took us up hill (no surprises there) to a trestle table looking out onto Lake Titicaca. We then had the most wonderful grilled trout that I'm sure was caught that morning. I didn't want to leave,
Can you see Ros??Can you see Ros??Can you see Ros??

Yep, that's her behind the door. I think she hit her head at least twice while we were there.
but as it was downhill, I resigned myself to the inevitable. Our journey back to Puno was to take 3 hours but we arrived in 2 1/2 hrs, which we were told was to do with the great captaining of the vessel. As this was also accompanied by a request to reward him with a tip for his great work, I suspect most trips are done well under the 3 hours quoted! (sceptical aren't I..)

Emma and I had to make a dash to the ATM to pay our debts before rushing to the hostel, picking up luggage and then jumping in the taxi to the bus stop. This was were our goodbyes happened very quickly as the buses were due to leave within 10 minutes and we still needed snacks. This worked out pretty well as it would have been very easy to get emotional knowing that I wouldn't be seeing these very special girls any time soon. They are truly amazing having started their volunteer work when they were 17 years old and still doing so while studying. I know that there contributions are an inspiration to all they work with and met. I managed to wriggle
Lots of information Lots of information Lots of information

Our guide was full of helpful tips including rubbing thyme sprigs between your palms and sniffing the aroma. Really opens the airways to allow more oxygen in. Hey Michelle R. perhaps you and the other runners could try it at your next event???
my way onto their FB pages and hope that it is the beginning of many stories and photos around their amazing futures! (PS, just saying the invites to the weddings better be forthcoming!).

My trip back to Cusco was long with lots of stops as I had joined the rank and file and not the tourist bus. We even stopped for police to do a thorough check! Returned to the bus terminal where a concerned Edgar had been waiting for 2 hours as it had been due to arrive at 10 pm not 12.

Enjoy the pictures and the next blog is all about my wonderful time in Machu Picchu, followed by some information on the schools I have been working in.

C


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On our way up to 4,500 mtrsOn our way up to 4,500 mtrs
On our way up to 4,500 mtrs

A view of Lake Titicaca but it really is sooooo massive. From here we could see the snowcapped Andes in Bolivia but the camera really couldn't show the difference between the clouds and the snow topped mountains.
Not bad...Not bad...
Not bad...

I think it was worth the climb lol!
Another sunset shotAnother sunset shot
Another sunset shot

Hard to get photos without people in them unfortunately.
Yep, it was very, very coldYep, it was very, very cold
Yep, it was very, very cold

Thank god there weren't any showers!
Walking the trail...Walking the trail...
Walking the trail...

On our 2nd island and making our way along a 40 min hike to the main plaza. Yes, this cow didn't like me either.
Recycling at its best!Recycling at its best!
Recycling at its best!

I reckon everyone should replace metal hinges with used thongs!
It's confirmed!It's confirmed!
It's confirmed!

I'm a bloody long way from home.


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