A Girl Should Be Two Things: Classy & Fabulous. - Coco Chanel


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Puno, Peru - Lake Titicaca

After the Amazon we got on another all nighter bus back to Cusco and then a couple hours later got on another bus ride (6 hours) that took us to Puno. We didn't spend too much time in the city. We got there by dark.... just enough time to grab some dinner and then go back to our hostel and get ready for bed and call our moms for Mothers day.

The next day we got up early and spent the entire day on Lake Titicaca. We spent most of the day on the boat because it took at least an hour to get to each island.

A little bit about Lake Titicaca (Wikapedea)

Titicaca (in the hispanicized spelling) or Titiqaqa (Quechua) is a lake in the Andes on the border of Peru andBolivia. By volume of water, it is the largest lake in South AmericaLake Maracaibo has a larger surface area, but it is considered to be a large brackish bay due to its direct connection with the sea.
It is often called the highest navigable lake in the world, with a surface elevation of 3,812 metres (12,507 ft).Although this refers to navigation by large boats, it is generally considered to mean commercial craft. For many years the largest vessel afloat on the lake was the 2,200-ton, 79-metre (259 ft) SS Ollanta. Today the largest vessel is probably the similarly sized, but broader, train barge/float Manco Capac, operated by PeruRail (berthed, as of 17 June 2013, at 15°50′11″S 70°00′53″W, across the pier from the Ollanta). At least two dozen bodies of water around the world are at higher elevations, but all are much smaller and shallower.
We only went to 2 islands. First one was a floating island. That is where the Uro people live. The Uros descend from a millennial town that, according to legends, are "pukinas" who speak Uro or Pukina and that believe they are the owners of the lake and water. Uros used to say that they have black blood because they did not feel the cold. Also they call themselves "Lupihaques" (Sons of The Sun). Nowadays, Uros do not speak the Uro language, nor practice their old beliefs but keep some old customs.
The purpose of the island settlements was originally defensive, and if a threat arose they could be moved. The largest island retains a watchtower almost entirely constructed of reeds.
The Uros traded with the Aymara tribe on the mainland, intermarrying with them and eventually abandoning the Uro language for that of the Aymara. About 500 years ago they lost their original language. When conquered by the Inca empire, they had to pay taxes to them, and often were made slaves.[
They taught us how they make the floating islands and then we were free to roam around the small island and pay to take a boat ride (John and I skipped that... instead we talked with the kids). The floating island was cool to walk on... you could feel the water ripple below your feet. Crazy that people live there. We were there only a little while... then it was off to the next island.

Next was Taquile Island. Taquile is an island on the Peruvian side of Lake Titicaca 45 km offshore from the city of Puno. About 2,200 people live on the island, which is 5.5 by 1.6 km in size (maximum measurements), with an area of 5.72 km. The highest point of the island is 4050 meters above sea level and the main village is at 3950 m. The inhabitants, known as Taquileños, are southern Quechua speakers. Taquileños are known for their fine handwoven textiles and clothing, which are regarded as among the highest-quality handicrafts in Peru. Knitting is exclusively performed by males, starting at age eight. The women exclusively make yarn and weave. Taquileños run their society based on community collectivism and on the Inca moral code ama sua, ama llulla, ama qhilla, (Quechua for "do not steal, do not lie, do not be lazy"). The island is divided into six sectors or suyusfor crop rotation purposes. The economy is based on fishingterraced farming horticulture based on potatocultivation, and tourist-generated income from the approximately 40,000 tourists who visit each year.
We spent  a few hours there looking at handcrafts and walking around. We enjoyed the views, enjoyed a delicious meal and even some traditional entertainment. 

Then it was back on the boat for a 2 1/2 hour back to Puno. It was a long day... but it was beautiful. I was so glad we were able to fit this in. We barely had enough time and if anything was going to leave our itinerary, it was this. So glad we made it work. :) 

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