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Alan Loze

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Apart from historic photographs, unless otherwise stated, all photos on this site were taken by  members of my family. 

Please don't republish them without my permission.  Thanks.

2008 Mark Collins

10-06-2010

Peru 2004 - Day 12, Lake Titicaca


I had been looking forward to seeing Lake Titicaca enormously.  I remember being fascinated by the stories of this enormous high altitude lake when at primary school.  I was not disappointed!

Lake Titicaca is the world's highest lake navigable to large vessels, lying at 12,500 feet (3,810 m) above sea level in the Andes Mountains, astride the border between Peru to the west and Bolivia to the east. Titicaca is the second largest lake of South America (after Maracaibo).

 Our guide on lake Titicaca was Gilbert, who was extremely knowledgeable and spoke very good English.  Here is a view of an old steamship and railway carriages just after we had set out on a day trip on the lake.

Floating Island on Lake Titicaca - MTC
Floating Island on Lake Titicaca - MTCThe lake is vast and covers some 3,200 square miles (8,300 square km) and extends in a northwest-to-southeast direction for a distance of 120 miles (190 km). It is 50 miles (80 km) across at its widest point. A narrow strait, Tiquina, separates the lake into two bodies of water.

Here we are arriving on the floating island of the Uros, reached after a short ride on the boat from Puno. The people greeted us by giving us each a little sewn bracelet.

The floating islands are man-made, created from cane, or cane-brake (totora), and tethered to the reeds below.  The Uros seem able to use these totora reeds for almost anything, building their islands, huts and boats from them.  They even eat part of them - as was demonstrated to us!

Child on floating Island on Lake Titicaca - MTCChildren on floating Island on Lake Titicaca - MTC
Child on floating Island on Lake Titicaca - MTCAfter an short talk about the floating islands from Gilbert in the school room, which is actually built on pontoons and moored to the island, the island children treated us to a short song - we responded by singing them one!  The children were very photogenic!  Walking around on the squishy surface was very strange, and it is hard to imagine living here.

I found this very interesting article about the life of these people on the internet here.

The children were playing with this little kitten, which seemed quite at home here in the middle of the lake!

The Ibis seemed quite tame too, there were several standing around the edge of the island.

Ibis on floating Island on Lake Titicaca - MTCKitten on floating Island on Lake Titicaca - MTC
Making flour on floating Island on Lake Titicaca - MTCThe tourists bring an important income to the Uros people, and they are very keen to demonstrate their way of life to visitors. 

Here flour is being made using stone to crush the grain.

Below the arts of making model boats and rope are being demonstrated.

Man making model boat on floating Island on Lake Titicaca - MTCMan making model boat on floating Island on Lake Titicaca - MTC

After exploring the island, we were offered a short ride on a reed boat to the neighbouring island, for a small charge.  We jumped at the chance and here are Steve and Sue sitting beneath the cat shaped figure head.

The next island had a huge Ibis constructed of the reeds dominating the view - also notice the reeds hung up to dry on ropes hung between poles decorated with Llama heads.

 

Steve and Sue on reed boat on Lake Titicaca - MTC
Passing reed boat on Lake Titicaca - MTCAlan & Mum on reed boat on Lake Titicaca - MTC

Uros Floating Islands on Lake Titicaca - MTC

Uros Floating Islands on Lake Titicaca - MTC

Mark on reed boat on Lake Titicaca - ARL

 

 

Here is yours truly on the boat to prove I was there!

The Uros use these clay fireplaces to cook on - I wonder if they ever have fires with all those dry reeds?

This young lad is clearly amused to be pointing his toy camera back at me!

Cooking on floating Island on Lake Titicaca - MTCCooking on floating Island on Lake Titicaca - MTC

After leaving the floating islands we headed out towards the main lake through channels cut into the reed beds.
Cooking on floating Island on Lake Titicaca - MTC

Our next and final destination for the day is the beautiful Taquile Island, which takes four hours to reach by boat.

Once there, it felt, apart from the high altitude, rather like arriving at a mediteranean island - hot sunshine, the blue lake all around and exotic flowers.  Quite lovely.

We landed on a small jetty near this path, which is the easy walk into the main village, although this was rather steep in places!

This happy little soul seems to enjoy being here.

Taquile, Lake Titicaca - MTC
Taquile, Lake Titicaca - MTCTaquile, Lake Titicaca - MTC
Taquile, Lake Titicaca - MTCHere is Alan absorbing the view.

As we walked up the path I took several pictures of plants and flowers along the way.

Flora on Taquile, Lake Titicaca - MTCFlora on Taquile, Lake Titicaca - MTC

As we approached the main village we could hear the beat of music; we had been told that we were fortunate in that there was a dancing festival in progress, something to do with Easter celebrations.

Once we arrived in the square it was teeming with dancers in bright costumes and the music from the band was deafening.  It was like entering another world after the peace and quiet of the walk up from the boat!

Here is a small selection of the many photos I took of the celebrations.

Flora on Taquile, Lake Titicaca - MTC
Dancing on Taquile, Lake Titicaca - MTCDancing on Taquile, Lake Titicaca - MTC
Dancing on Taquile, Lake Titicaca - MTCDancing on Taquile, Lake Titicaca - MTC

After a lunch of fresh fish from the lake, still accompanied by the music from outside, we departed for the boat.  This time we took the route to the closer mooring, the boat having been moved around the island during lunch.

This is a much steeper route, using steep steps cut into the side of the island.  Here are a couple of views looking down from the top of the steps.

The boat journey back seemed interminable, but a price well worth paying for visiting such a special place.

The final picture is of the sun going down as we made our way back into the reed bay of the Uros islands.

View of the harbour, Lake Titicaca - MTC
Steps down to the harbour, Lake Titicaca - MTCSunset over the reeds, Lake Titicaca - MTC