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Around Lake Titicaca

PERU | Wednesday, 7 April 2010 | Views [271]

Feeding time, near Sillustani

Feeding time, near Sillustani

We were lucky to get a bus from Arequipa to Puno.  It seems the demonstrations we saw yesterday in the Plaza were the bus drivers going on strike.  No buses to Lima or Cusco but Puno was spared and we had royal treatment on Cruz del Sur; full reclining leather like first-class airline seats.

We arrived in Puno on Lake Titicaca six hours later, checked into our hotel and collapsed.  We didn’t even go out to dinner.  Lake Titicaca lies in the Altiplano (high plains) at 12,600 feet above sea level and the altitude hit us like a ton of bricks.

After a good night’s sleep we hired a taxi to the funerary towers at Sillustani on Lake Umayo, as much to look for birds as to see the towers.  The Colla people who pre-dated the Incas built them.  Interestingly the stone houses of the people who live in the area today are identical in design to the towers and are of the same period.

This afternoon we took a boat tour on Lake Titicaca to see the floating islands of Uros.  Yes, it’s touristy but the islands are truly unique.  The houses, the boats and the islands themselves are made from totura, a papyrus-like reed.  The islands are 3 meters thick and can last for 30 years if properly maintained. It is hardly terra firma but it seems to work for several hundred people who live only three of the 40 islands.  When they aren’t adding totura stalks, they make things to sell to the tourists.

 

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