Lake Titicaca

Amantani Island Travel Blog

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Noel & Melissa in the tricyle limo, Puno.

Rained all night, and continued during the morning for our trip onto Lake Titicaca.  We got ¨limos¨to the harbour, tricycle taxis, which was great fun.  The drivers were racing, and lugging our big 1st world bodies around resulted in them being pretty puffed at the end of it all!  We bought gifts for our island families before hopping on our boat, for a 3 hours trip to the first stop, Taquile Island.  Luckily the skies cleared on the way over, and by the time we got to Taquile there was beautiful blue skies and sunshine.  Hats and sunscreen are very important here, because you can get burnt very quickly at these higher altitudes.  We walked up the hill to the main square, and were presented with views reminiscent of the Greek Islands, ruined buildings highlighted against a blue sky and clear waters, with lots of ladies in bright costumes tending the fields (apparently here, men run everything and women do all the work - how convenient!).

Lake view, Taquile Island.
  the chief of the village told us which restaurant we were to eat in, and we all enjoyed a delicious meal of soup, fish and coca tea.  the islanders take it in turns to host the guests, so no particular group misses out - they all charge the same amount and provide the same menu, so there can be no complaints about favouritism.  We had a look at the lovely hand-made textiles available, and were told that the men in red caps were married, while the single chaps where a cap with a red band and a while tail.  Apparently this generally works quite well, although some of the married men have taken to wearing single-men hats when they think their wives aren´t watching!  We walked down to a different harbour to leave, down very steep steps with more picture-postcard views, for our trip over to Amantani Island where we would stay the night with a local family.
Shamila, Joe, Amy and Melissa, sunset on Amantani Island.

Our Mama, Olga, collected us at the wharf and took us up the hill to her house.  While we struggled up the hill, we were passed by a granny of about 80 carrying a big gas bottle on her back.  She put us to shame, bounding up the hill as if it were nothing.  We could hardly breathe, so felt quite embarrassed.  The whole group then met at the soccer pitch for a friendly game, although most of us opted to be spectactors rather than players!  Afterwards, we walked all the way to the top of the hill (or, as we like to think of it, mountain!) for a view over the whole surrounding area.  Sunset was not particularly great because of the cloud cover, but did spot an incredible rainbow refraction of light in the clouds from ice crystals, so quite nice.  We rewarded ourselves with hot chocolate and picarrones (donuts) at the top and then walked back downhill for dinner with our families.

Papa and niña, part of our family on Amantani Island.
  AT about 8pm, Mama Olga dressed us both up in traditional costumes and took us down to the dance in the local hall (Melissa looked great in her skirts, shawl, stripey long johns and hiking boots!).  We danced the night away with our mamas and papas, and each other, and then went home to bed.  Our room was very simple, but the beds had plenty of blankets and our little window looked right out over the lake.  The house itself was also very simple, earth floors and mud-brick walls, with cooking over a fire.  There was only one light bulb, run off a battery, but candles were used in the bedrooms.  the main thing was that it was dry, because it rained all night.  The toilet was outside near the gate, and flushing was via the bucket of water system and bathing was with a tub of hot water and a towel given to us in the morning.  A very interesting experience overall.

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Noel & Melissa in the tricyle limo…
Noel & Melissa in the tricyle lim…
Lake view, Taquile Island.
Lake view, Taquile Island.
Shamila, Joe, Amy and Melissa, sun…
Shamila, Joe, Amy and Melissa, su…
Papa and niña, part of our family…
Papa and niña, part of our famil…
Melissa in the traditional Amantan…
Melissa in the traditional Amanta…
Amantani Island
photo by: Yoshu