Puno and Lake Titicacca

Our morning started with a tuk tuk ride to the harbour to catch our boat destined for the floating islands. There were two of us in a tuk tuk (small cart pushed by a bicycle) – the peddlers were all A type personalities and the trip was all downhill, it was a tuk tuk derby!

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Some interesting cross intersection experiences….. – made the docks in record time. Got on our boat (already windblown) and headed out onto the Lake.

Lake Titicacca Factoids

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84 floating reed islands 2000 people live on islands that have been settled for 2600 years
The temperature on the islands runs three degrees warmer than mainland
The Lake is 190 km long, 80 km wide largest navigable lake in the world.
48% of lake is full of huge reeds that the islands are made off – it is also a bird sanctuary.
The Islands are on 2 meters of reed matt and roots, covered with .5 meters of cut and cross hatched reeds. A new layer is added every 15 days. Dry reeds that are removed are used for cooking
The Islands can float up to 5 km and last a total of 8 months before replacement
Interestingly they were only discovered 35 years ago.

Our visit was awesome – we were warmly welcomed and shown how the village runs, how the islands are built and maintained and how the women make their textiles. The embroidery is exquisite, Diets are much improved now that tourism dollars are flowing into the community and life expectancy has basally doubled with the addition of fruits and vegetables obtained on the mainland.

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Following our return to the mainland we headed to the pre-Incan (800 – 1400 AD) archeological site of Sillustani – a famous burial site for kings and other nobles. It was believed that in order for the soul to ascend to the next level the body must be mummified, not burnt. Mummies were placed in circular towers together with precious stones and metals as well as any slaves willing to make the trip. Although the contents are long gone due to the Spaniards, the burial towers are being gradually restored. It was a beautiful place overlooking Lake Titicacca. Nice spot to spend eternity.

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An excellent lunch followed in Puno before headed back to the hotel and collapsing. It is about 13,000 feet here and the endurance just isn’t there… Tomorrow on to Bolivia.