07.10.2016 - 09.10.2016
After taking so many night buses (and knowing yet another was coming up) I'm proud to say I finally enjoyed my first down day after over a month of travel! I made the most of a few hours in a private room at a B&B by watching tv, sleeping, and watching more tv! Much needed rest! Especially before the second consecutive night bus that would take me to Puno. I managed to sleep really well besides waking up extremely car sick at 2am. After a few more hours knocked out by gravol, I was dropped off at my hostel in Puno for a couple hours of chilling before check-in.
I joined a really fun lady from Mexico (Laura) that was sharing my hostel room to go out to walk around town. We checked out the local market and then walked to the main square to take in the parade that was happening. It was the University Parade which happens once a year where the students from different areas perform local dances in a parade. (All helpfully explained by a local that Laura was talking to). There were Quechua dances, Aymara dances, dances from Cusco, Puno, etc. It was so amazing.
The main square was full of people...
Our next stop was the Coca Museum where we learned all about the origins of coca, uses in Inca times up to now, benefits to the body, production of Coca-Cola as well as cocaine. There was also a section of the museum about the local culture which explained many local dances, their origins and costumes. The costume display even had outfits that we were able to try on!
The rest of the day was fairly quiet, lunch by the lake, a really good nap, and dinner at a delicious bakery.
The next morning I headed out for a full day boat tour of a couple of Lake Titicaca's islands.
The first stop was Uros, the floating islands. They are islands made of reeds by the local people. They take the roots that float, bind them together, cover them with layers and layers of reeds and live on them in their houses made of reeds (literally use the reeds for everything, even eating). They'll live on an island for about 30 years and it takes them about 1 year to build a new one. About 5 families lived on the particular island we visited.
They took us for a ride in a boat made of... You guessed it... Reeds!
Next stop was Taquile Island (this on is a true island, not a man-made island!) We got to enjoy a bit of a walk to the main square with this beautiful view...
Then lunch at a local restaurant. The people on Taquile are very self sufficient, they carry everything around the island themselves (no pack animals here), and also very friendly! The women weave and the men knit.. Often into their 90s which is the average age people will live to. Men knit hats that they all wear.. Red if they are married, red and white if they are single. Women have pom-poms on their dresses, short and simple if they are married, long and colourful if they are single.
After this was the boat ride back to Puno. This is the view of Puno from the boat..
I enjoyed a quiet night with a couple people from the hostel, we had a couple drinks, hit up the same delicious bakery and hung out at the hostel. Not a bad way to spend my last night in Peru! Can't believe it's been three weeks already.
I will conclude my time in this beautiful country with another list of my favourite things..
- The diversity of the country & landscapes- from the pacific coast, to the Andes mountain range, Amazon basin, and cloud forest of Machu Picchu, the scenery is so diverse and so breathtaking no matter where you are.
- The children- I can honestly say I have never been in a country before where I have thought that literally every child I have seen is absolutely adorable! They are always smiling, happy, dirty and playing. Take this cutie for example... I met Ismael on the Rainbow Mountain hike and enjoyed a good chunk of time goofing around with him..
-The mountains and hiking- I know I've already mentioned the landscapes but as a girl that's so in love with mountains, I think they deserve their own mention. I wanted to see all the hiking that Peru had to offer and I loved every second of it. The mountains are so different from Canada and spectacular in every way.
- Suckers/lollipops-if there's candy to be had, you know I'll find it! They have some delicious suckers of which I have tried and enjoyed every flavour!
- In terms of actual food, my favourite by far has been all the fresh fruit. I've tried so many new kinds and everything is fresh and delish.
- Lastly, drink-while beer and Pisco sours have been great, what I really love is the Inca Kola, yellow bubblegum flavored pop that tastes a lot like cream soda. I don't drink a lot of pop at home but apparently I drink a lot of pop in Peru!
While these three weeks have gone by incredibly fast, I am also excited to head on to the next country and start working on a new list of favourites! Bolivia here I come!
"Actually, the best gift you could have given her was a lifetime of adventures..." -Lewis Carrol, Alice in Wonderland