01/05/2008 - 05/05/2008 10 °C
So, what happened after Machu Picchu? (btw if you pronounce that wrong it apparently means 'old penis' so get it right!)
Well, we headed from Cusco to Puno which was...well, cold basically. It is on Lake Titicaca and is good place to visit several groups of islands - but i got a really bad cold and barely slept the first night we were there, so we settled for a short afternoon trip to visit just the Floating Islands. These islands are - yes, clue's in the title - floating islands, made from reeds which grow on the lake. they were originally made for the local people to escape the invading Incas, and there is still a thriving community living there today.
They make the islands by first taking the roots of the reeds, which grow in large clumps, and tying many pieces together to make a base. they then take the reeds themselves, and layer them over the top - many layers, in alternating directions. every month they add a new layer, because they rot from the bottom upwards and must be constantly replenished.
Then they build their houses, furniture, canoes, crafts, hats, and many other things.....all out of these reeds. it's really quite impressive the number of things you can make from one little plant!
So, that was the floating islands.
We didn't stay long in Puno because it was cold, and i was too ill to see more islands. so we got a bus the next day to Copacabana (not the famous one, just a little town near the border in Bolivia) which is another place on the lake to visit islands from, but on the Bolivia side. Lake Titicaca is about 60 percent Peruvian and 40 percent Bolivian. We just stayed one night there then got the bus to La Paz, where we stayed in Wild Rover, the Irish Hostel.
As soon as we settled in, Ian booked to do the mountain biking down the Death Road, or 'World's Most Dangerous Road' , which is one of the top tourist activities in La Paz. Basically you mountain bike down the road, which is closed to most other traffic in the mornings, just bikes, and then you stop somewhere for lunch and a much-needed shower, and then come back in the minibus via the new, safer road. Needless to say, i wasn't really up for the death-defying cycling (hell, when am i ever up for any kind of cycling??) so i stayed behind and explored La Paz a little by myself. Ian returned safe and sound, and really enjoyed himself, so all was well! I have to say i was a little jealous because the photos of the scenery looked amazing - Bolivia is truly beautiful!
Tune in for the next episode, in which Erica and Ian go to the jungle and get eaten by sandflies and mosquitos.....