Yesterday we were picked up at 7.50am and taken to the dock where we boarded our ferry and began our two day tour of Lake Titicaca! (Lago Titikaka in español). Our first stop was Isla de los Uros, the reed islands and we visited the San Miguel community. The reed islands are absolutely amazing as they are all hand made and are also known as the floating islands, as there is no under water foundation, their whole community, life and world float on the lake on a thick bed of reeds which they, themselves make. We learnt all about how they make them and how they have to keep adding to the reeds and obviously the under layer is soggy, this also means that their houses are raised to avoid dampness. We actually got taken by one of the locals to her reed house where she showed us around (it was just a simple, tiny room with a bed) and let us try on her traditional, brightly coloured clothing! This included a huge, puffy, bright pink skirt, a green jacket, hair pom poms and a bonnet! After this she showed us her beautiful tapestries of life on the reed islands and then we went on a short boat ride around the islands on a row boat, also made out of reeds.
Our next stop, which the reed sailing boat actually took us to, was Utama, the main island in the Uros community. Here we got our passports stamped to say we’d visited the world of Lake Titicaca! Here I met the cutest little girl called Isabel who, even though her first language isn’t Spanish but the language of the incas, Imari, she was chatting away to me in Spanish telling me her name, asking my name and telling me she is five.
We then had a three hour boat ride to Amantani Island where we met Estafa, our Peruvian mum for the night. Estefa then took us to her little house in the island, showed us around and made us some lunch of quinoa soup, then rice potatoes and grilled cheese. We then met her daughter Daisy, before heading across the island to meet up with the rest of our tour group and hike for an hour right up to the very top, to watch the sunset.
After the sunset, we went back to our little house to help prepare dinner. We peeled potatoes for the onion and potato soup and then showed Estefa and Daisy photos of our families. They both said that they loved my blonde hair, as everyone here has black hair, however when I showed them my family with much blonder hair they were so fascinated and also very shocked! Dinner was onion and potato soup and then vegetable curry with rice, all cooked over a little fire.
Then we helped Estefa with some English phrases that she can use with tourists, as normally they don’t speak any Spanish. Suddenly we realised it was party time, which meant that we got to dress up (again hehe) in Estefas traditional clothing, and head to the town party which involved a lot of dancing to local music played by some of the community’s students. The dancing basically involved dancing and jumping round in a circle holding hands and all cheering.
We had pancakes with jam (it’s amazing what she can make on her little fire stove) for breakfast and mountain thyme tea, before saying goodbye to Estefa and heading down to the port to sail to Taquille Island.
It took us an hour and when we arrived we walked all the way around the huge island to the main square. It was an absolutely beautiful walk, filled with stunning views of the island and lots of sheep!
Then we went to an outdoor restaurant for lunch where we learnt about the traditional outfits and what different aspects of them symbolise, ie whether they’re single or married etc… We had a delicious lunch of grilled trout before heading back to the boat, and all the way back to Puno.
This evening we went out for dinner with some of our friends from the tour. We went to a restaurant called Balcones del Puno where we ate Alpaca steak and watched an amazing, and sometimes quite intense and scary, show of traditional Peruvian dancers.