10.11.2006 - 13.11.2006 25 °C
Puno is worth visiting just for its huge market, you can walk on it for hours without passing the same stall. Next to vegetables, fruits and actually all you can think of, it also has very cheap woven hats and finger puppets. You can buy meat and even fish that is just lying there, without any ice, nothing. It is well woth taking a walk on the market, if you want to buy cheap souvenirs, this is the place to be and there is a lot of people walking around in traditional, very colourful clothes. But the main reason why the pedestrian street in the centre of Puno is crowded with tourists is because of the Lago Titicaca, the highest navigavable (is that an English word?) lake in the world, on the border of Perú and Bolivia. (Krickske, m´n kaart begint mooi vol te geraken, het hoogste punt van Panamá, de grootste steen ter wereld, het hoogst bevaarbare meer ter wereld, de diepste canyon en binnenkort de hoogste hoofdstad, knip, knip, knip, knip, knip)
Early in the morning, we took the boat out to the Islas Flotantes, floating islands made of reed. It was worth seeing, very bequtiful, but again, it was such a touristy thing!
After a little trip in a reed boat to another isla flotante, the boat took us to Amantani, a big island on the lake, with 4,000 people living on it. We were served lunch in a family, where we would spend the night, too, together with Ziggy and his girlfriend from Leipzig. Then, we walked up to the summit of the island, 200 meters higher than the lake, probably the first time I ever got over 4,000 meter on foot! The sunset was nice but it got very cold the moment the sun was gone. In the evening, we had to put on some traditional clothes and go for some traditional dance and contrary to my expectations it was actually quite fun. Our hostes´s daughter, Virginia, was not getting tired and every time the band started a new song, she was there again to invite us to dance. By the way, if you take the tour to the islands on the lake, make sure you do not get a guide called Zack, he is very annoying, wants to be in the centre of attention all the time and he has got very bad English.
Next day we went to Taquile, a nice island half an hour from Amantani, and walked up to the top again. We had a good lunch, trucha con arroz, of course, with a gorgeous view on the Lago Titicaca. All the time, the sky was chrystal clear and the sun was doing its best to a degree that the four English women and a German bloke on our boat got burned heavily.
Then, four hours back to Puno where we had a quarter chicken with chips, lettuce and tomatoes for 5 soles (1.25 euros), very tasty and no tourists there, loads of locals though. El rancho is the name. Night bus to Cusco, with a semi-cama and loads of space for the legs and still we did not sleep well.