Sunday, February 16, 2014

Lake Titicaca (04.02.2014 - 08.02.2014)

To give our tired bodies some rest we stayed two nights in Cusco. We visited the San Pedro market, wandered around the city and tried to find some cheap cuy (guinea pig, but sadly all where overpriced).

Because the railroad to lake Titicaca was totally overpriced we decided to take the cheaper tourist bus. Not such a good idea in hindsight, it was still expensive and the location where it stopped weren't really interesting...  Puno itself isn't really worth seeing, the main attraction is lake Titicaca, the highest lake in the world and largest in south america. On it are several islands which attract its share of tourists, furthermost the floating islands.

We stayed in the same hostel as Has & Steffan and the other day Janis & Max showed up as well, so ¾ of our Machu Pichu group where together again. 
We visited the floating islands of Uros, where since pre-Incan times people lived on these artificial islands made out of bundled reeds. Back in the days they also built their houses and boats out of reeds. The reeds are laid upon a natural floating layer and have to be replaced almost ever two weeks. This makes walking around on this soft and squishy underground quite fun ;). The islands themselves last about 50 years, whereas they have to build a new one which takes about a year. Anchored to the ground and protected by bigger storms/waves by a huge sea (forest?) of reeds these islands are quite safe and rise and fall with the level of the lake.
On our last night the whole city was engulfed by a fierce and powerful hail storm. In minutes every surface was covered in white hail and the streets turned to huge gutters. The traffic and for a short while the electricity broke down and it was pure mayhem.

We planned only to stay two nights and then continue our way to Bolivia, but alas there was a strike on the way to the border and the road blocked for all traffic. So we prolonged our stay in the not so beautiful Puno and hopped on a bus on the next day.