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Published: February 9th 2012
So, off to Puno then. We had yet to receive a positive comment about the town itself from people we had met, however Puno was the jumping off point for the famous floating islands and also to see the islands of Amantani and Taquile, so we decided to come anyway.
On arrival at the hostel, we put our bags down and then promptly booked a trip with the sweet family running the place. We decided to do an all in one tour, where we would see the floating islands, then onto Amantani to stay the night with a local family, then in the morning off to Taquile before returning back to Puno. Perfect.
In the morning, our minibus picked us up and took us to the dock in order to catch our boat. There must have been 100 tourist boats in this dock and the rumours that the floating islands were ‘quite touristy’ started to ring true. Still, after we were all aboard, within about half an hour we were there and the islands really were quite remarkable. There are around 60 islands in total that have been made from the reeds that grow within Lake Titicaca and they
have to be anchored so that they don’t float away! Whilst there they gave us a rundown of how the islands are made and how they make their living out there in the middle of the lake, it was all really quite interesting. Of course after the talk was finished they proceeded to bring out the usual jumpers, scarfs, gloves etc. in order for us to spend more money, and we managed to resist until two young girls brought out their pictures that they had coloured in, which unfortunately along with their sad faces was just too much to resist and so a couple of Soles were spent after all!
After the floating islands it was a three and a half hour trip in the boat to Amantani Island. The boat was painfully slow and all there was to do was try and get some sleep until we reached the Island. When we finally got there, we had a briefing about the island which included being told that there were no police here, and that the islanders policed it themselves. No sooner had we been told this when a police boat turned up and told the captain that we
had to go around to the other side of the island, and couldn’t dock here…Classic!
So, after another painfully slow trip, this time to the other side of the island, we were finally where we were supposed to be. Once there we were greeted by several local women in traditional dress, and were then ‘assigned’ one of these locals who we then followed towards their home. Our local family member was Dolly who was only 12 years old, but had been given the task of meeting us and taking us to her house. Once there, we were met by the rest of the family, Mum, Dad, Grandma, and Dolly’s little brother Boris who had just turned 2 years old and was really quite cute. After the introductions, it was time for lunch which was being prepared by Mum. Luckily for us, our Spanish was coming along, as none of the family spoke a word of English and therefore mealtimes could have been a tad awkward! After lunch it was time to climb the second highest mountain on the Island where we would get a spectacular view of Lake Titicaca. Once at the summit, we were told to walk around
the Inca site that was there 3 times anti-clockwise and then deposit 4 rocks at the entrance. This apparently would bring us luck for wisdom, love, career and health, and therefore seemed like something we should get involved with.
After getting back to the house, we had time to chill out and take in the views and quiet of the island. We decided to hang outside the room whilst the sun set mainly because it was beautiful, but also because when standing inside the room, I was almost head-butting the ceiling!
After another nice meal it was then time to hit the local dancehall where we would get the chance to dance with the locals to a live Peruvian band. The family told us we should be getting ready in 5 minutes, so Donna and I went off to change. We assumed that we would need to spruce ourselves up a bit, however the next thing we know, the family knock on the door and with full traditional dress in hand, proceed to dress us both in the local get up in preparation for the dance! That night we both danced the night away with the locals and
our family members to traditional Peruvian music…a fun and tiring experience!
The next morning we had time for a spot of breakfast again made by our adopted Mum, who I think may have been younger than us, for the night, before getting on the boat to Taquile Island. We had a really nice time here on Amantani Island and it was great to get the opportunity to spend some time with a local family who still do things in a very traditional way.
Taquile Island was another stunning island in the middle of Lake Titicaca, but to be honest it just seemed to be another place to get you to buy your typical Alpaca wear as they were famous for their weaving here. So after a few hours here being taught about the local weaving business and a spot of lunch, it was time to return to the boat, and get ready for the long and arduous trip back to Puno.
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