Homestay on Amantani Island on Lake Titicaca
At the moment we are at a wonderful homestay – we just had one of the best vegetarian lunches I’ve ever had – there was Andean soup with vegetables and reeds and quinoa. There were also other root vegetables like potatoes, (harder than what we’re used to), carrot, tomatoes and some kind of vegetable I’ve never heard of – it was delicious and tasted like a mix of Potato and carrot. There was also some grilled goats cheese or alpaca cheese I think.
We are on an island in lake Titicaca and its called Isla Amantani. To get to this destination we came from Puno city and got on a motor boat.
First we stopped at Uros islands which are floating islands and each island isn’t bigger than about 50metres long. Each island had a president of their own and their own and about 5-7 families living there.
The islands are made up of reeds and there’s the first metre which is reed roots which floats incredibly well even when it’s full of water. Then they top it up by cutting down reeds and putting them flat – a layer in one direction then you change directions. The first layer is about 35cm of layered fresh reeds and then put more dried reeds on top till they’ve put on so many reeds that it’s about 1 metre high. To make a real floating island like that it takes about a year to build it. They last about 20 years and then they need to build a new one. The houses have to be about 30-50cm higher of reeds so that the dampness of the outside reeds doesn’t make them wet when it rains.
On the second day we got woken up at 6.30am for breakfast which some kind of pancake biscuit sort of thing. Then we met our guide at the port and sailed for an hour until we got to another island called Taquile Island.
We had another hike and our guide taught us about Taquile culture and we stopped a lot to look at plants that cure stomach aches and many other things. He even showed us a plant that he and hIs dad harvested a lot once and made a big bonfire. The next day they collected the ash and used it for gunpowder to make fireworks.
At the square of the town we met a guy from Peterborough in Canada and he knew some Servas people that we knew. Isn’t if funny that we met someone in Peru who knew someone we knew inc and ad – what a small world.
Lunch we went to a small outdoor Restraunt and had soup and omelette and there was grilled fish and all sorts of things. The guy who owned the Restraunt showed us how to make detergent or shampoo out of a plant so that its natural.
He took some dirty sheep wool and washed it in the detergent. Once he took it our it was as white as snow.
We met a lady called Chris From Florida and we talked to her a lot. We told her a lot of jokes and talked to her about some of the funny things that we’ve done. She was awesome to talk to. I hope we see her again one day.
Kiki’s Lake tales…….
We went to a lake named Titicaca by boat and we went to a floating island. The people of the island showed us how to make a floating island. First there’s big chunks of reed roots then you put layers and layers of reeds – pointing in one direction then the other direction and so on. Then you add more on top where the houses are going to go because the houses are aLways higher so they don’t get wet. It took five minutes to build a doll size island but to build a real island it takes about a year and lasts 20years.
Then they add the houses which are only one room which all they have is clothing and a bed. In the middle of the floating island there was a hole with a net in the water and they caught fish to eat. It was very noisy walking on the island because all of the dried reeds made a loud sound. Apparently they eat the reeds and put some on their heads if they have a headache. After the small island we went to another island where there was also shops. We got there in a boat that was made out of reeds. It was like two canoes stuck together with a platform on top.
Our next stop was the island Amantani that we were going to stay at. The name of our host lady is Ilda. That evening we walked up to 4140m above sea level to see the sunset. It was amazing. In all the photos we took it looked like the clouds were on fire.
The walk was a tiny bit hard because at high altitudes it’s harder to breathe than it is at sea level and down lower. When we got back home we had dinner then we went to a party at 8pm.
We only stayed for 2 or 3 dances cause we were tired and we had to get up early at 6.30am to have breakfast and get back on the boat.
In the morning we had these pancake things which were hard and sugary and also the Titicacan mint tea which we had at every meal.
It was fun staying with the local people and seeing how they lived cause it was just so different to what I’m used to. Ilda grew up on the island and she has only ever gone to Puno but has never travelled anywhere else. Her two sons go to school in Puno. We got back onto our boat and went to a different island called Taquile Island.
We did a walk up a small hill and when we stopped at an archway where the road went flat or downhill until we stopped at the square where we had a rest. We got some mango at the square and it was delicious.
Lunch was really delicious – I had fresh grilled trout with rice, veggies and chips and some lime on top.
Then we walked down to our boat and we were talking to with a friend that we made called Chris. It was really fun because I got to talk to her the whole way down about all kinds of stuff. The boat road back to Puno was 3 hours and we didn’t sleep – we talked to Chris and some other Australians who came from Sydney – the whole way back.
Christos, Kiki and Toby went on an overnight tour/homestay. I needed to stopped and do nothing. Yasi, and the little kids joined me. Our first morning was quite gorgeous. The hostel was nothing to write home about- three bunks with about 50 cm around each, and a toilet that was tricky to manoeuvre around to get to the crappy shower, let alone when you stood up from the toilet you hit the wall and almost fell into the loo! Anyway, all that aside, I organised washing while Yasi and the littles played LEGO, dog games and made cubby houses out of the bunk for most of the day. I was prepared to do almost nothing for the time the others were away, but there was a picture of kayaking to the Uros Islands at the hostel counter. The kids got excited. And nature adventure does not tire them as much as tours or buildings…
So off we went. Flat lake, little breeze, Yasi and Emilio in one kayak (When Emilio put his skirt (water protective layer that connects to the kayak) he danced around claiming this was the first time he had worn a tutu!) Zoi and I in the other. We paddled the lanes made by reeds, saw ducks and birds and enjoyed the relative quiet of the lake.
After a while Yasi and Emilio hitched a ride with our support dude, and we made it to the floating islands of Uros.
It was fascinating to say the least.
I went kayaking with my mum Sandy and it was so much fun. We went to a little Island and we had some food and me and Yasi was struggling getting out on to the island. We paddled hard and the guys pulled us along for a little bit and we went back to the island and had lunch then my baba and Kalika and Toby came home from their trip. It was so exciting to see them.
My favourite thing about the island was when I picked reeds and started weaving a little nest with dried reeds. When we got to the island we went to a little cafe and got some Picorini, which are like donuts with fruit and honey. Then we didn’t kayak back – we took the boat and also on the way to the floating island we were getting tired and the man helped to pull us along cause it was a long way. Then we took a fast boat back. The island had reeds that were floating and they had more than two thousand reeds on the island. We forgot to get an ice cream on the way back so I played LEGO and excitingly the others came back.
Love from Emilio.