““All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” – Martin Buber
Day 75 – Puno, Peru
Another early morning, and today we decided to take a big tour, and went to see the other side of Lake Titicaca! Apparently, there was a local tribe of the Uros people, who in order to escape the Incas moved their tribe to the middle of Lake Titcaca. With the abundant reeds in the islands, they came up with a way to make floating island and have been there ever since. They must have been fisher people for hundreds of years but now it’s 100% catered to tourism.
It’s cool to go see, and they explain to you how they create and construct the islands, and how they have to remake their homes every six months, and reed boats every year. They take the reed roots and soil for the floatation and stability and then crosshatch the reeds on top until they have 3 or 4 feet of height It’s very squishy to walk on, but you won’t go through. I don’t think I’d want to stay there though, as it seems a very wet/damp existence. I’m not sure how much is realistic anymore, but it is something that you wouldn’t see anywhere else.
After the Uros islands, we got back on the boat and headed for Taquile island. Taquile is a typical island, where the people still speak the traditional Inca language of Quechua. They also are known for their special weaving skills, and oddly, it’s the men that knit rather then the women.
We wandered the island and had a traditional lunch there, watching the people weave amd looking at their craftwork. Not too exciting, but cool to see that the old ways still exist in some places.
After a long jounry back on the boat to Puno town, we decided some drinks were in order, and met Rhodri and Leah for dinner at the cool rock and reggae place we went last night.
And tomorrow, it’s off to Cusco and getting ready for our Inca Trek adventure!!
Day 74 – Travel Day (Copacabana, Bolivia to Puno, Peru)
It’s another travel day, and we are going across the border to the other side of Lake Titicaca, in Peru.
After a very early morning, we got to the border, and for once, had a super easy crossing. Within five minutes, we managed to get passports stamped on both sides and out! Surreal moment #1 of the day, though, is while standing in the queue on the Peruvian side, they had American Gladiators on tv!
We arrived in Puno, and dropped off our stuff in our room. Seeing a tv, we turned it on, and the only English channel seemed to only show a CSI marathon! That might have been it for our night (woot woot for American telly), but we were tempted outside by dinner. Then we found the greatest bar in Puno, the Patience Rock and roll bar, with Happy Hour Pisco Sours!
The other surreal moment of the day was being passed by a rowdy pan pipe band(!) in the street. Apparently they must have won a big pan pipe band competition because they were carrying a massive 7ft trophy through the streets!
Another travel day = sorted.
Day 73 – Isla Del Sol, Bolivia
We’ve seen some pre-Inca ruins but today we went to Isla Del Sol (the Island of The Sun), which is where the Inca creation mythology began.
We took a boat from Copacabana, and the plan was to start at the north end, chek out the ruins there, the hike the top of the ridge to the south island and spend the night there.
We got to the North island port, where the tour guide showed us around a tiny museum before we started up the steep walk to the Inca remains.
Our guide was pretty good, pointing out the local plants that help prevent altitude sickness, as well as giving information about some of the things we passed.
We did learn one interesting thing – Titicaca, for all the fun we had with the name in elementary school actually means Puma Rock (Titi = puma, caca/carca = rock). And at the top of the island, was the sacred point for the Incas, a massive rock (kinda/ish) shaped like a Puma. There was a alter there for sacrifices, and nearby, more pre-inca ruins, that the Incas had used as well.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t enjoying all this very much, as the combination of altitude (4200 meters!) and hot sun made me dizzy and unable to breathe. So, the plan to hike had to be scrapped, and we headed back to Copacabana to relax and get ready to cross the border into Peru!
Day 72 – Copacabana, Bolivia
Well, we made it past the roadblock and into Copacabana, finally! Due to our 4am departure, we got into town early and headed down to see the famous Lake Titicaca, where the Inca civilisation started. Strangely, when we got there there seemed to be a huge parade, with children in costume, marching bands, and what seemed to be the whole of the town there! We weren’t sure if it was another protest, or a school parade and no one seemed to want to explain. But some of the kids had signs that talked about ‘Litoral’ and the ‘Guerra De La Pacific’. Now, I mentioned in yesterday’s post that we had been to a small museum in La Paz that talked about Bolivia losing their coastline and the mineral rich Atacama Desert. As everything, it’s complicated, but Chile attacked on Feb 14, 1879 and Bolivia lost the war and became landlocked.
We thought it was a little strange that they would be having a parade about something that happened over 100 years ago, but with so any Bolivian marches, who knows?
Well, we didn’t find out until later, but apparently, this was actually the annual memorial of the war – the Bolivian ‘Dia Del Mar’. Bolivia is *definitely* not over the past and blames their poor economic state on the loss of the Litoral coastal area. Whoah.
(For more info on the War of The Pacific, click here.)
For us bystanders, though, it was an interesting parade, with loads of local women in traditional dress, and lots of good street food!
Lake Titicaca itself is beautiful, and Copa an interesting touristy little town. Oddly, they even had a ton of pedalos (swan boats) on the shore, so Jon and I had to have a go. Very surreal.
And then we went to the shorefront to try the local speciality – trout fresh from the lake. Yum, but can someone tell my why they feel the need to serve it with the head?? Ew.