I’ll be honest. I really did not expect much from Lake Titicaca. Other than the name making me giggle like a 5-year-old boy, I expected little from the place.
I’m glad I didn’t have high expectations, because my low expectations made the chill experience I had there all the more valuable. What do they say, the gap between expectation and reality is when you find happiness? Well, that I did.
We were cruising around Lake Titicaca the day after we got up to altitude, so maybe we were all a little high, but the lake was gorgeous. It was around 20C (75ishF) the days we were there, and it was completely clear, bright blue skies with scintillating water that shimmered that bit extra because the air is thinner that high up (really, science. look it up).
We did a couple of different things on and around the lake. Leaving from Puno, first we went to the Uros Islands, which are completely man-made islands made out of reeds. Just reeds. Floating on the water. Where people live. Pretty ingenious, but also…kinda crazy. The reason on why they built out there in the first place is lost on me; there was a legend our guide told us.
The Uros islands were quite developed in terms of tourism…it reminded me a bit of the country sections of Epcot, like everything was amplified and a caricature of the reality. We sat down and had an education session with the leader of the island, and then shown around houses, with various weavings and handmade goods for sale. Some of the most expensive things I saw on the whole trip were sold on the Uros Island island we went to that day.
After the Uros Islands, we continued on to Taquile for lunch – which I kept calling ‘tequila’ in my head.
We learned about Taquile as we were on the way there (I believe it was about 2 hours from the Uros Islands to Taquile). It’s unique in that knitting is the sole province of the men on the island. And their hats mean things. A red beanie (tassels and everything) means the man is married, white – single. As one of the only solo travelers in the group, and also being female, our tour guide teased me about how easy it’d be to find a single man here. Yeah, rightttttt.
Not only was the food amazing where we ate, the view was spectacular. The restaurants are run communally, and each month families take turns cooking. Which was cool. I won’t include pictures of the food, because I didn’t take them that well as I was so excited to just eat – but I will say – eat the fried bread. Simple, yet so amazing. Probably because it’s fried. Here’s the view, though:
While I always jump to the food, we did also have the opportunity to shop in Taquile. I bough a scarf (50ish nuevo sol, I think) and gloves (30ish nuevo sol). These were all handmade goods by men on the island, or so they told us. And if they weren’t, I don’t have enough of an eye to tell, but I like what I bought anyway.
After Taquile, we went on to our homestay, which merits another story for another day.