BootsnAll Travel Network

Lake Titicaca, Arequipa, Colca Canyon

So with a week left to go in my journey this entry seems very tardy, but I finally got the pictures uploaded, so why not! I am currently in Argentina (Mendoza for the moment, wine capital) but have also made it to Iguazu Falls and Buenos Aires, both of which merit pictures and both of which I will try to squeeze into the blog before I get home. But for now (if I still remember), Lake Titicaca, Arequipa, and Colca Canyon.

First, a quick picture of me feeding an alpaca on my way from Cusco to Lake Titicaca, because they are just really cute:
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Lake Titicaca is amazing, although Puno, the jumping off point from the Peruvian side, is a bit of a dump. After a sleepless night in a sketchy hotel, I boarded a small boat with about 10 other passengers to first visit the floating reed islands of the lake. Yes, these people literally live on islands made of reed; they eat reed, their houses are reed, pretty much anything you could do with a reed they have figured out:

They are also very friendly:
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They live in reed houses on the reed island:
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Me eating reed “banana”
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After passing through the reed island we headed out to the further island of Amantaní where we were going to spend the night with a local family.

Here’s the view of sunset from my family’s house:
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My family was super friendly, and although the local language is Quechua, the father and daughter also spoke Spanish, enabling us to communicate. The mother cooked me and the other girl staying there dinner over the kitchen fireplace. It was pretty good, but unfortunately led to some gastrointestinal distress which combined with the outhouse-only circumstances was none too pretty. But before I knew any of this was going to happen, they dressed me in their lovely traditional garb and took us to the nightly gringo fiesta they have:

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It was a fun night, and the local women danced with us, which was nice. I became a wallflower after a few dances however, as my traditional belt was tied a wee bit tight and the altitude on the lake is high enough to make brushing your teeth feel like a workout (although who brushes their teeth when there’s no plumbing, lets be honest).

Although the morning after I felt the brunt of my food poisoning, I was still able to appreciate the amazing sunrise (well, slept through actual sunrise, but this gives the general idea):

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That night after returning to the lake, I summoned the courage to head on to Arequipa (really didn’t want to spend another night in the dump that is Puno). The night bus was slightly scary as we got a flat and flew off to the side of the road in the middle of the night, but after about an hour of repairs we were on our way again.

Arequipa was a lovely city where many of the buildings are made of this whitish stone called sillar. It gives off a pretty glow in the light:

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The city is also home to a huge monastery that was opened to the public about twenty years ago. It was so pretty inside that I almost entertained notions of joining the order, but not quite….

Pretty nunnery (lets pretend I didn’t forget to rotate this picture appropriately):
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Arequipa is also home to Juanita, a frozen Andean corpse of a 15 year old who lived about 500 years ago and was sacrificed on top of a mountain. Her frozen body is actually on display in the museum there for about half the year, and I got there in the right half! No pictures allowed, but it was very cool (if a little creepy).

My final stop in Peru was Colca Canyon, home to many condors, who the Incas considered messengers from the Gods.

Here’s me sitting at the edge of the canyon:
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A condor stretching its gynormous wing span:
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Pretty view in early morning Colca:
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I found Peru to be on the whole more touristy than Ecuador, but the sights were truly amazing. Stay tuned for Argentina, binges on amazingly cheap food, waterfalls, etc…, if I get it together…


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