|13-12 / 16-12 2004
With the bus to Puno. I had already seen some of the magnificent sites you could see by train in my walks in Cay Cay.
Puno is not really my town, especially after having spent time in Cusco. I shopped around to find myself an nice hostal and arranged for a visit to the floating islands.
Puno and Lake Titicaca are higher than Cusco, lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world. It was cold, the coldest place to be up till now.
I took a trip to Salustani, a place where we could see grave tombs in the shape of chimneys. we saw different types of chimneys, a sort of evolution over the years. On the way back we visited a farm and saw the premises and tasted some local food. Reality sets you back, these houses contain nothing but a earthen floor, an elevation for a bed and a fireplace, they cook on wood in pots and pans.
In Puno there are still a few ships from the beginning of the previous century, I visited the Ayari, which has been restored after it´s write-off as a navy ship. This ship and 2 others were actually built in England, transported around Cape Horn and further moved in 20.000 pieces by mules to Puno. Afterwards the pieces did fit!
The next day I took a trip to the floating islands. Originally these people moved on to the lake to escape the Inca ruling. Now it seems tourism is their main source of income. It was special to walk in the reed island, the taste to core of the reed and to make a boatride, but I was glad we left, too touristic.
The boatride continued to Island Amantani, where we had a homestay with families on the island. The group was split and I was assigned to a family with a Swiss guy who spoke a little bit o Spanish and French, great! We watched lunch and dinner being prepared; soup , rice, meat, went to the ruins on top of the hill to watch the sunset. Here it got really cold.
Later in the evening we attended a folcloristic evening dressed in local clothes. For the men less of a problem than the women, who wore a skirt, blouse, and a haircover.
The beds were amply covered with blankets and we slept very well. The next day did visit Island Taquile, half hour ride, with a totally different character. the culture is more macho, women do not hold positions of authority. The men are always knitting caps, the women are always spinning wool. It made for nice pictures.
Back in Puno in the evening we suffered heavy rain, lightning and a power shortcut. For 1,5 hour there were no lights in Puno except for the healights of cars. It was a special experience, looking outside and waiting in an internet shop.