|Bus tour to several sites along the route|
of the Incas from Puno to Cusco. We
traveled with Cruz del Sur.
|Raqui - walls up to 15 meters high - unique|
in the Inca empire
We started out last Thursday on the Cruz del Sur luxury bus to Puno. It was a tour bus that stopped at several spots along this famous Inca route which made it more fun as a way to travel and broke up the trip nicely. We arrived in Puno, a commercial city right on the lake to a heavy rain storm so we did not really get a chance to see the city at night. We really did not have any idea of what the tour to the various islands would be like and we were tempted to cancel it all thinking that the weather would be terrible. I am so glad that we did not cancel. We were picked up for our two day trip to the islands in the morning and taken to our boat.
|La Raya - the highes point along the route|
at 4335 meters above sea level. Notice
the snow capped mountains in the background
|The floating island of Iros|
|Greeted by the women of Iros|
|Small cookstove on Iros|
|Boats of this style still used to get|
from one island to another - we road on this boat
|On our boat - 3 hour boat trip from Iros to|
Amantani. Here I am with Eduardo, age 8 from
Venezuela. We spent much of our boat
travel time together - drawing in our
journals and painting with watercolor.
In the afternoon we traveled three hours to Isla Amantani our spot for the night. This island operates its tourism as a collective. About 4000 people live on the island in 10 communities and each takes turns hosting tourists in their homes. We stayed with Theo and his family along with Anny and Paul. We were served simple meals - lunch (almuerzo) dinner (cena) and breakfast the next morning. All the food is grown on the islands and was vegetarian because it is much cheaper. There is fishing though fish was not served in our family. We had quinoa soup, potatoes and some vegetables for the main meals and a fried type dough for breakfast.
After lunch we all hiked to the top of the island - a spiritual spot for the people with remains of pre-Inca ruins that are still used for their holiday celebrations.
The accomodations were simple, but sufficient. It was quite cold on the island at night but we were basically prepared having brought our long underwear and several layers of clothing. Shortly after dinner we were given some local clothing and dressed (over our clothes) for the party or "disco" that night. Everyone gathered and we danced around to music for a time with lots of laughter as we looked ridiculous but the people of the island seemed to enjoy us. Richard was his fun loving self and got everyone out on the dance floor. We left but there were 30 or so young people from one of the other islands who stayed on.
|Farming on Isla Amantani|
|Terraces and homes on Amantani|
|The Disco at Amantani|
|Our family at Amantani - we hope to visit again sometime|
|More terraces on the island|
|Hand knit - all made on the island of Taquile - famous for|
these knit designs done by both men and women.
|Leaving Isla Taquile|
|Hombre de arana (Spiderman) taking|
a short time at the helm of our boat back
Now we are back in Cusco with new friends to meet this week, Spanish classes for another two weeks, yoga and of course ... the holidays.
We shall take this time to wish everyone HAPPY HOLIDAYS and a PEACEFUL AND HEALTH NEW YEAR.