Monday, December 2, 2013
Road to Puno and Lake Titikaka
November 18, 2013 – The Road to Puno
After our tour of Machu Picchu, we spent the afternoon in Aguas Calientas, its gateway city.
That evening, we travelled all the way back to Cusco to pack our bags for our goodbye to our first Peru home. Early the next morning, we piled our bags and selves into a van for the trip to Puno – on the shores of Lake Titicaca. Many talk about the train ride between Cusco and Puno. While it may be quite beautiful, the truth is that it takes longer and is less reliable at this time than road travel. Hopefully these first 2 pictures illustrate that it is also very beautiful! The first one shows the familiar terraced farmland of the Incas.
We stopped along the way to pick up gifts of fruit for our Tequile Isle hosts. This is a commodity they have a hard time getting. I could not resist this picture of the colorful plaza market! (More on Tequile ahead!)
After several hours of riding, knitting, and admiring the changing countryside, our driver pulled over to get this special shot – the highest point of our journey. 4335 meters above sea level. This translates into more than 13,000 ft! It was here that Pecos quit worrying about our altitude sickness as we “moved like gazelles” toward the vendor at the roadside market who was selling yarn! The first we had seen as most Peruvians sell produce or items they have made from the wool.
Translation: Altitude 14,300 ft
We arrived in Puno that evening in time to find dinner, peruse the nearby shops, and settle into our new hotel rooms.
We arose early this morning to a wonderful breakfast smorgasbord. We packed an overnight bag and arrived at the front door to our waiting chariots! There is nothing like a bicycle taxi ride through the Puno streets at dawn! Our destination was the port where we headed out on Lake Titicaca toward Isla Tequile. The gentleman standing on your left by the taxis is our Isla Tequile guide, Cecile.
An inside view of our lake transportation and our driver in traditional Tequile attire. You can tell by his hat that he is married. (More on that later!)
The port at Puno is filled with beds of reeds that our boat passed through. My pictures of this were not very spectacular, but the next 2 pictures show our approach to an interesting phenomenon of the lake. They show one of the numerous reed islands floating on the lake built by the resident’s (Uros) ancestors and continually replenished with new reeds by the current residents!
This 3rd picture is the view from terra firma (?). The buildings are one room homes with the “living” room on one side and a bunk bed for the family on the other. Cooking is done outside. The textiles that the Uros people make are crewel-type textiles done with yarn and crochet hook on woven fabric showing important scenes of their daily life.