After our first week in Bolivia, we went straight over to Peru, the land of the Incas. We went around Lake Titicaca to Puno, where we wanted to visit the famous floating islands and the knitting men. The floating islands are home to the Indian tribe of the Urus, which use the reeds growing in abundance on the shores of Lake Titicaca to build a floating island along with huts and boats. The whole thing is now mostly a tourist attraction, but the colorful Reed Republic, together with its President was interesting to watch.
An even bigger tourist show waited for us on the Isla Taquile, which is famous for having their men avoid any housework, except for knitting, which they do very well. In particular, the caps are a kind of status symbol. We crossed the village’s main square, but went straight on in the direction of a geocache, situated on the other end of the island on a beautiful sandy beach.
This mission was almost fatal to us in the end, as we already were too late for the boat’s departure and then we were also on the wrong side of the island. The ensuing run at 4,000 meters was a good training for later, nevertheless. Then we went on to the ancient Inca capital, Cusco. This 800 year old historic city unfortunately had to suffer greatly from the Spanish vandalism and earthquakes. Nevertheless, there are still plenty of memories of its Indian times. We visited a couple of nice museums and ate in the snack bar at the local market. We also went to a monastery (Coricancha), which was built on top of the former Sun Temple of the Incas.
By the demand from my traveling companion we went to a fine restaurant to enjoy a Peruvian culinary classic: the guinea pig. As I had raised such a sweety by hand when I was a kid, I found it particularly difficult to try something of the sweet-tasting meat.
Before our big mountain tour, we equiped ourselves with some real outdoor hats. Also a Peruvian classic.
Then we went on a lengthy journey in direction of Machu Picchu.