A Travellerspoint blog

August 2008

My cousin is my father

Stumbling through inca ruins in Peru


View MAP OF THE JOURNEY on AnnaMickus's travel map.

New day, new month, new country, new prices, new currency, new hangover, new rules. Same altitude.

After crossing the border just west of Copacabana we arrived in Peru, the home of the Inca capital Cuzco. Before heading to Cuzco we decided to make one more stop at the Titicaca lake. We had heard about the interesting floating islands on the Peruvian side of the lake and we just had to make a quick stop in Puno in order to visit them.

Just a few kilometres outside Puno in the lake you can find weird floating islands, or the Uros islands, as they sometimes are called after the name of the people that live there. This people once escaped other tribes like the Incas, and built their peculiar islands out in the lake in order to be alone. Well they’re not that alone anymore considering the amount of tourists that come by every day and gawk at their homes and yards.

So what do I mean ”floating islands”? Well these islands are actually built by hand out of totora reeds (like some sort of thick grass) that grow in the lake. They make big floating rafts (islands) by piling very thick layers of the reeds until the rafts become so stable that you can walk on them and even build houses on them. The islands are then anchored to the bottom of the lake so that they don’t start floating into Bolivia or something. Actually, the houses are built out of the same totora reed, as are the boats they use for travelling between the islands. This reed is obviously very versatile because guess what? You can also eat it! When you peel some of the outer layers of it, you can eat the inner part of the stem. So what more do they actually need? They’ve got reed all around and fish in the water? Well heating would be nice because I hear it gets very VERY cold in the night.

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One of the floating islands

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A guy on an island we visited demonstrated how the islands are constructed

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This is what their houses look like

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One of the floating islands

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A guy rowing

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We got to ride in one of these boats. Mickus even got to row it.

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This is the boat we took

It’s weird how things can change when you drive a few kilometres and you change country. Suddenly there is a new kind of vehicle: a mototaxi, kind of like a tuc-tuc but a bit bigger. We never saw one of them in Bolivia, and now suddenly they’re everywhere. Nice change. Another change that is less nice is that they seem to be stricter with following the rules here. Well at least they pretend they are. When we got on the boat to visit the floating islands we headed up on the roof of the boat just like we had done in Bolivia. When the boat started moving we were informed that according to law we cannot sit on the roof anymore. Well at least not until we are out from the harbour and out of sight from the harbour police ;).

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Loppukevennys

Posted by AnnaMickus 17:13 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

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