The Peruvian Experience – Part 4

Dec 23

Today we had to get up early again to catch the bus to Puno. It was a large coach that stopped in 5 places a church Andahuaylillas, archeological sight Raqchi, lunch, La Raya, museum Pucará.

The church was very beautiful but makes you wonder why the church spends so much money instead of giving it to the community.

The archeological site was interesting because there was still part of a three-story building whose parts had been restored. There were also tons of grain silos. So I imagine that it was the main storage spot before Cusco.

Lunch was a stop near the river. It was really good! They had fried chicken, beets, and other great stuff!

Next, we stopped at the highest pass, 4400m, in Peru I think. It was stark and pretty barren but there were still people up there.

The last place was a small town that they think was the capital of pre-Inca Pucará. There was a small museum full of statues that came from the area. The main issue throughout Peru is that while some of the civilizations had written language they did not document daily life so little is known about that.

The whole drive down to Puno is through mostly High Sierra. Which is very interesting to drive through. There were tons of farms for potatoes and Alpaca/Llamas all along the route we traveled.

Puno is on the lake and when we came in they were having their market which was huge, like super huge.

Dec 24

We got picked up at 7:45 for our trip on Lake Titikaka. It started with a 6k ride out to the reed islands. Which have only been in existence since the 1940s when the lake levels became so low that they realized that they could live in them. Before the community had been living on boats since the arrival of the Spanish to avoid being forced to work.

We were taken to a small island with 4 buildings were the mom, son, and two daughters showed us how they make the islands which take about a year to create. They start with tying the reed root balls together then layer cut reeds on top to build up the base. And have to be started during the raining season when the water is high. After the demo, we had a short boat trip across to another island on a reed boat which takes about 6 months to build.

We then traveled for about 3 hours farther out to the island of Amantani. Where we were greeted by the family that we are staying with Maria, her husband, and their five children. They fed us lunch which was soup, fried cheese, and veggies it was fantastic. Then Maria showed us her knitting and wow! It is so tight and they use tiny needles that look like they were made of wire.

Then we were taken to a central area in the community where we listened to some information about the island and we trekked up to the Pacha Mama mountain. It was a very nice view but I am officially done with trekking! Dinner was soup and veggies with rice. It was great. We decided to skip the Christmas Eve party because it wasn’t supposed to start until 9 and we were exhausted.

Dec 25

Today we had pancakes for breakfast then headed down to our boat. The boat took us to the neighboring island of Taquile. This island is a UNESCO protected site for their folk art and knitting. Mostly knitting which the men and women do. We walked up to the main square then looked at the local knitting for sale, it was again amazing and all out of baby alpaca. We walked the length of the island and had lunch then we headed back to Puno where we walked around town a bit before heading back to our hotel so that we could relax.

Dec 26

We got up and had a late breakfast then walked around town a bit. We walked down to the water then headed back to the shopping center to have lunch. We were picked up at 2:30 for our transfer to the Juliaca airport with a stop at Sillustani which are burial towers that are pre-Inca and Inca. They are also near a lake that is higher than Titicaca. We managed to see it just before a huge storm rolled up and chased us all of the way to the airport!

We headed to the airport very early as the traffic can be very bad. Thankfully the airport had a nice cafe with excellent sandwiches! Josie and I started playing cards. Then a young American man who was in Peru volunteering for an NGO asked us if we were playing Rummy, which we were. So we ended up playing about 10 games before check-in opened, it was a great way to spend the time.

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