The city of Puno (3830 m) is located on the shore of lake Titicaca, which is a lake in the Andes on the border of Peru and Bolivia. By volume of water it is the largest lake in South America and often called the highest navigable lake in the world. Its name has been translated as “Rock Puma”, as local communities have traditionally interpreted the shape of the lake to be that of a puma hunting a rabbit. “Titicaca” combines words from the local languages Quechua and Aymara.
After arriving in Puno we started off to explore the city:
We decided for an early dinner in the Balcones de Puno:
Andy’s choice: Tournedos of alpaca served with pesque of quinoa, stir fried vegetables and cape gooseberry sauce:
And Tini’s choise: Grilled trout with rice prepared with carrots, fresh corn, peas and red pepper alongside eggplant, succhini, red pepper and onion sauteed in olive oil and garlic sauce:
The next morning we took off for a day trip to the floating islands and the island of Taquile:
After a good 30 minute boat ride we reached the main region of the floating islands:
The appearing reeds indicated that we were getting closer to the “Islas Flotantes”:
Punos access to lake Titicaca is surrounded by around 44 floating islands. To this day the Uros people maintain and live on these man-made islands made of floating reeds, depending on the lake for their survival. The totora is a reed that abounds in the shallows of the lake and is used for construction of the islands and various other crafts. Today these islands have become a major tourist attraction for Peru. Their original purpose was defensive, and they could be moved if a threat arose. Many of the islands contain watchtowers largely constructed of bundled reeds. Originally the Uros created their islands to prevent attacks by their more aggressive neighbors, the Incas and Collas.
Here a perfect example of one of these floating islands with various houses and a lookout tower constructed on them:
The traditional clothing of the inhabitants is very colorful:
In a nicely done demonstration the president of the island and our guide explained the different steps necessary to build a floating island:
The foundation are the roots of the reeds which are cut out in blocks and tied together:
These are then covered with layers of fresh reeds:
The top layer quickly dries and almost looks like straw:
Here the finished model of the constructed floating island. They can last up to 25 years before they are abandoned and a new island is constructed:
The island-people showed us their typical crafts:
And introduced all members of their family to us:
The inside of the houses is rather modest:
They presented many more crafts they also sell:
Some of the typical fish they catch from lake Titicaca:
In order to move between the islands they use dragon boats built of reed:
A bird searching for food leftovers and insects living within the top layers of the reeds:
The family saying good bye to us, before their president rowed us to one of the other islands:
The floating island of Santa Maria, where the demonstrations of the Uros everyday life continued:
On an island of dry reed making a fire is always dangerous. For cooking they have developed special ovens and precautions:
Tini at their souvenir market:
After leaving this island we passed by several others:
Then we left the floating islands for good and headed off for the island of Taquile:
Taquile is a hilly island located around 45 kilometers east of Puno. It is narrow and long and was used as a prison during the Spanish colony and into the 20th century. In 1970 it became property of the Taquile people, who have inhabited the island since then. The highest point of the island is 4050 m above sea level. Pre-Inca ruins are found on the highest part of the island and agricultural terraces on the hillsides.
The Taquileños run their society based on community collectivism and on the Inca moral code ama sua, ama llulla, ama qhilla, (do not steal, do not lie, do not be lazy). The island is divided into six sectors for crop rotation purposes. The economy is based on fishing, terraced farming, potato cultivation and tourism.
Workers we encountered on our way to the local restaurant:
They manage to carry up to 70 kg only by strapping the sacks to their back with cloth belts:
At the restaurant we got a presentation of the rituals and traditions of the Taquileños. For example the status of the men is indicated by the type of hat they wear. While the left guy is still single, the right man is already married. Strangely both don’t seem very happy… 😉
The women used to wear large pom poms once they got married, but nowadays this is not a reliable sign anymore, as all women like to wear large large pom poms:
They performed some traditional dances:
And then we had a typical lunch. Onions, peppers and tomato spread:
to eat together with the bread:
A quinoa grain and vegetable soup:
And fresh caught and grilled trout with potatoes and rice:
Coca tea with some local herbs for digestion:
Our view from the restaurant:
And the view from their toilet…
We continued hiking across the island, meeting local kids:
And enjoying the view:
Standing on the Plaza de Armas of their village:
We continued hiking across the island.
And passed several of these archways, indicating that we are now entering a different community:
Eventually we got back to our boat and headed back towards Puno:
Already in the early afternoon the moon begins to rise:
Here a view back to the island of Taquile:
And after 2 and a half hours of boat ride we were almost back in Puno:
In the evening we passed the illuminated Puno cathedral:
And on our way to dinner we almost ran into this marching band:
The next day we took the morning bus to Copacabana which is already located in Bolivia. Bye bye Peru! We really enjoyed this country!This entry was posted in South-America, WorldMap
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Great post, but get yourself some colorful cloth! You could add one to your lugguage and send the rest of it back home. You are far too black in comparison to your south american friends .. 😉
Great post with your comments. You guys are sure covering lots of ground and water. Looks like you are eating very well. Stay healthy and keep up the great blogs.
What a colorful place to spend MY birthday!
I’ve always wanted to visit Lake Titicaca and now I have, through your eyes.
Great photos! Thanks for sharing this marvelous trip with us.
Miss you two,