PUNO (Lake Titicaca)
We arrived here to see the worlds highest navigable lake (3,820m) and world's largest above 2000m. The plan was to travel by boat to visit people who live on floating islands on the lake and spend one night with a family on one of the main islands..
When we arrived at the hostel we coincidently discovered we were staying next door to our Swedish friends we met in Brazil.. that got things off to a good start and we joined their trip.. also bumping into more people we had previously met in other places..
On our first night we had our first experience of the benefits of being a tourist in low season. Everywhere we went we were offered free drinks just to go in the bars/discos. By the end of the night Marc was flyering outside one of the bars trying to fill it. It was as cold at night as we expected, but Michele bought a really nice alpaca shakeria jumper in one of the shops for only 4 quid!!!
More Photos to follow..
Next day we set off on our trip. It was raining but we were well equipped with raincoats and ponchos. It turned out our multi lingual guide's idea of english was to say "OK Amigos" before going off on one in inaudible spanish. Plus we both had dodgey tummies and the prospect of spending 2 days nowhere near a toilet that flushed was a daunting one.
After 30 mins we arrived at the first floating island. It is incredible to think that people actually live on an island the size of a back garden made out of reeds that have to be replenished every week as it rots.
Then the rain stopped and the sun came out. We decided to sit on the top of the boat to enjoy the sunshine. Up there we got talking to the other members of our tour. The main characters were 2 guys from Chile, a girl from California, 2 guys from Canada, a girl from Yorkshire, a guy from Holland and a guy from Buenos Aires. They were all a great laugh and really interesting. We knew the next 2 days were going to be great fun.
After a gruelling 4 hours on choppy waters we arrived at the main island and met our family. First impressions were good, the island was beautiful and the people seemed friendly. We were then escorted up hill to our lodgings, we were really noticing the high altitude as we tried to walk. The houses were very basic. No electricity, a very smelly outhouse and quite worringly rooms were decorated with old news cuttings and posters of Inca Kola.
All food was basic, but thankfully consisted mainly fresh veg.
After lunch we walked to the peak of the Island to enjoy Sunset, then back for dinner.
In the evening a fiesta was arranged. It is obvious the people of the island don't get out much. The band were good, but the dance moves were basicly swinging the gringos arms until they came out the sockets. Plus only drink available was 'off' beer. It was apparent that this ritual was performed on a nightly basis as the expressions on the hosts faces suggested that actually they didn't really want to be there. In spite of these facts we had loads of fun as we got to know our new friends on our tour. A bonus was that one of the Canadian guys was a chemist and had miracle pills that sorted our tummies out.
The next evening we all went out on the lash in Puno. The guy from Buenos Aires was really selling his home town to us and invited us to visit him. We were so convinced that we have changed our itinery so we can do just that.
More Photos to follow..