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Yet another 7am start to go exploring. We did not sleep well so today was a rought start. We are both glad we forced ourselves to get moving though. Because, how often do you walk on water

Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world (12 000 fee above sea level). The Uros people (the ‘water tribe’) have built floating islands out of the totura reeds that grow in the lake’s shallows and anchor them to the lakebed so they don’t float away into Bolivia. They also have reed boats and huts. Reed boats have probably been used on this lake since 2500 BC. Four to eight families or 30 – 50 people live on each of these islands. You must tread lightly as the ground is soft and spongy. The islands were built so the Uros people could protect and isolate themselves from the Collas and Incas. Some tourists call them floating souvenir stands. Toranipata (one of the largest) fits that bill quite nicely but our Island (Baseril or boat in the acient Aymara language) was very pleasant. All the islands are inside the Bay of Puno.


Anna is the First Lady of her Island. She is 26 with 2 kids.

Each Island has a symbol. Or they'd all look pretty much the same

Here is their kitchen, built on stones so it doesn't burn down the whole island

Our island was anchored as it floats in 17m of water or 55'.

They also have solar power now.

As part of the tour you get to take pictures and dress up like a local:

Alberto their younger son. He is 1:


Here are a couple shots of their house:

We also got to taste the reeds. The base part is edible. Tastes like celery full of water.

We brought pencils for a gift to school children, Jose was on his way to school, how convenient for us:

He's not so sure this is a good thing. He's 6.

We then got a ride over to the above mentioned Tourist Trap Island. Yes it's a bit of a racket but these people can use the cash! As we left they serenaded us:


The boat we road over on, very cool catamaran:

 
There are also two natural islands in the lake proper, Amantani and Taquile (as well as the Island of the Sun and Island of the Moon which are within Bolivia’s part of the lake). We then got back in our water taxi and headed to Taquile. This photo isn't our taxi but they all look similar.

Stone arches greet us. So does a 1000' vertical climb up to the plaza. We went slowly.

A breakwater where the locals keep their boats

The walk was all up hill and at 12000 to 13000' quite a bit of work. But the views were stunning.

That's Bolivia in the distance:

Those clouds are covering an 18000' tall mountain. Impressive.

We finally made it up to the plaza level. Why is it that young kids and old wizened people make for good pictures?

Lunch was in the town of Taquile, Quinoa veggie soup and some sort of omelette.

Legend states that Viracocha, the god of creation, caused the sun, moon and stars to arise from the lake and take their places in the sky. Then, the Sun God told his children, the first Inca Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo to emerge from the lake and found the Incan empire. The indigenous people who live on and around the lake consider themselves descendants of Mama Qota, the Sacred Mother, and they believe that powerful spirits live in the lake’s depths.

Then it was back to the hotel to relax and recuperate. Dinner was Saqta Gallina – basically chicken stew. Kris had Aji de Gallina which looked suspiciously like mine. But hers tasted better. So far Lomo Saltado is my fave. A beef stirfy. I was considering trying the Aplaca steak but that would be my whole meal and I was hungry so I played it safe.

The altitude is surely affecting us but we aren't sick. It just takes a long time to recover. We're sea level folk!

Tommorrow it's and all day train ride from Puno to Cuzco. Supposed to be some great views.

 

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