|Being so high and also being the dry season, the air is exceptionally dry, we woke many times during the night to drink water and lots of it. When we woke up we were not disappointed by the view or the weather, it was a beautifully clear day and the hotel is situated right on the shore of Titicaca.
it was beautiful to get out on the lake in kayaks, Toby and Felix shared, Dad and Tash shared and i went with the guide in a canoe, where I didn’t have to paddle nor did I get wet unlike the others.
Felix and Toby took this as an opportunity to behave like muppets and were trying to enter the trout farm in their kayak!! We then headed into the reeds to try and spot some birds nests, etc, but with all the noise from the boys this was always going to be quite difficult. Then at one point we heard a big splash - I turned around and there was Felix swimming, fully clothed, in the lake. Bear in mind that the water is about 8 degrees - needless to say we had to cut short our activity and get Felix into a warm bath!!!
We had deliberately decided to take our first day at Titilaka easy after everything we have done in the last week or so, so we only headed out again at 2pm. This trip was to see a gateway that had been carved in the rock face - about an hour from the hotel - it is an extraordinary thing. Our guide told us that it is called the gate of the souls or the spirits. when we tried to find out more about it when we got back to the hotel, it appears to be a bit of a mystery. Although it was known to the locals apparently it was only discovered by Western archaeologists in 1996. Apparently some of the locals will not go up there as they have seen people actually walk through the gateway!!
The next day we went on a full day excursion on the lake - and although I put on sun block twice, being on the water and at such high altitude I got completely burnt - I look completely ridiculous, but at least it gives the kids something to laugh about!!
It was a lovely day out on the water, albeit in quite a full boat, but I guess you can’t always have private tours!! We have become too spoiled. Our first stop was at one of the floating islands, basically these are small communities that have been built on floating reeds. They explained to us how they cut out the roots of the reeds, which are essentially like a cork, and then truss these together to form the base upon which they then lay further layers of cut reeds. It was really weird to walk on - felt like something halfway between a waterbed and a trampoline. Toby found it incredibly funny to run/bounce his way across the whole island - only about 12 meters!!
Apparently these islands only exist now for the tourism industry - which is a bit of a shame really! But again t gave the kids an opportunity for more tat with which to fill up their backpacks and eventually their bedrooms when we return home.
We then got back on the boat and headed to Tequile Island - here we had lunch in a family home!! There was a sauce made out of clay, which was rather extraordinary, Felix thinks he deserves much more than R50 for trying the clay - as it was apparently disgusting!! Toby describes it as a rubbish soy sauce - that isn’t sweet or sour or remotely nice. During lunch - our guide treated us to an explanation of the different hats that people wear to indicate whether you are married, single and looking, single and not looking, etc, etc. The boys found it very funny that if a guy wants to show his interest in a girl, then during the festivals they throw a stone at the girl and if she throws it back, then she accepts the advance. I don’t think this will take off in SA, but watching out for flying pebbles!!
After a quick walk around the tip of the island we headed back to the boat and the hotel. Really was a lovely day. I finally managed to upload the pictures from Machu Picchu during happy hour - maybe the couple of glasses of bubbles helped!!
Tomorrow morning, after a stop at some funerary towers, we head to Juliaca and a flight back to Lima - only two more nights in Peru before we head to Ecuador - exciting.