Puno and the end of Peru!
Arrived in Puno early in the morning and went straight to our hostel which caters for early arrivals - we had breakfast and booked ourselves straight on a day tour of Lake Titicaca, which was due to leave at 7am. We also discovered two of our fellow Machu Picchu hikers at the same hostel and on the same tour! We set off on a minibus which took us to our boat, where we were serenaded by a man playing panpipes and a ukulele. We set off to visit one of the famous floating Islands - these Islands are man-made by using the reeds that grow in the Lake. They cut chunks of the reed roots from the shallow parts of the Lake, then tie them together and anchor them in a deeper part of the lake. Then they cover the roots with layers of reeds to make a sort of carpet, and build reed huts on top. These days they have solar power, and their main income is tourism, so it felt pretty touristy and slightly surreal. A couple of people who live on the Island showed us inside their tiny reed house, which we stood and admired awkwardly, then they showed us their crafts which we felt compelled to buy. Then we had a short trip to another reed island on a boat made of reeds which had a whole cafe on! (With very expensive coffee - well, £1.25). We then got back onto our sturdier boat for a two hour ride (2hr nap for me) to Island Taquile towards the middle of the lake, where we could see Peru on one side and Bolivia on the other. The steep climb to the viewpoint had us gasping for air - a reminder that we’re still at high altitude - nearly 4000metres above sea level. But despite this the island had a mediteranean feel and was super peaceful with no vehicles and a slow pace of life. We had a really good lunch of quinoa soup and rainbow trout (omelette for Chris), and were shown how the locals knit their decorative clothing - there is a clear division of labour between the sexes - men knit belts and hats, whilst the women knit bags and other clothing. Interestingly their clothes are similar to matadors from Spain, influenced by the Spanish invasion all those years ago! We headed back for home-cooked veggie deliciousness and another early night!
And this was our last day in Peru, we had an early morning bus to Copacabana in Bolivia. What an amazing and diverse country, here are our best bits!!