Out of the humid Jungle region finally we passed through a depressing, red-brown , clay city of Juliaca and got off the bus in Puno, a port city on Lake Titicaca. The city itself seemed of little interest so we went immediately to the port to look for ferry tickets to our actual destinations. Though it was late to catch the boat to The floating islands of Urus we figured we would try anyway.
At the foot of the pier a guy approached offering us slightly over priced tickets to Isla Amantani, one of our desired stops. after bargaining we got him to include a stop in Urus. he asked for payment and said he would be back in 15 minutes at the dock with his boat. Neither of us were certain he would return but he did pull up coaxing his boat along with a huge wooden pole as to not contaminate the Puno coast line more. We paid up and hopped on his boat which turns out would be all ours. He was just looking for someone to suppliment his trip back home to The island of Amantani.
Before entering the floating city of Urus you have to stop and pay a toll of about 10 sol. teh city is made by layering reeds over one another in a criss-cross pattern making for a spongy, soggy, but yet dry walking surface.
Fortunately this wasn’t a place offering Fries and burgers there was however a little shop selling overpriced coffee and sodas. The altitude of 3,800 meters at the waters surface will most likely have you feeling a bit out of breath so bring along something to drink so you are not sucked into overspending.
The people here even figured out how to make boats from the reeds and paddle around in their dragon-headed rafts, now giving touristy rides.
The whole Urus experience lasted about 15 minutes. There were too many tourists and I heard that the islands were actually destroyed in a huge storm and the ones we visited were much closer to Puno and made for tourist. Next we pointed the boat for Isla Amantani, asking the boat captain, Lois or Lloyd where we would be staying. Usually the boat captain assigns you to a family where you stay since the island has no hotels or hostals. He said we would be staying in his family’s home with his sister and wife and his daughter.
The path up to the house was steep ans not clearly marked as we cut off the pavement and through recently harvested fields.
In the evening Weronika didn’t feel well enough to climb up to the ruins at the top of the hill but I met some Spaniards who were eager to hike up to 4,000 meters. It was really exhausting but we made it just as the sun was tucking in behind the horizon. I had Weronika’s tiny flashlight but even so it was a tricky walk down in the dark.
The government bought a generator for the island a few years back but for the past two years it has been broken leaving the whole island in the dark after sun set. fortunately my family had a solar panel that gave them a variable 2-3 hours of light after dark. from the port i thought i could find my way up the hill and to the house where dinner was waiting but it turned out that the path was much more difficult in the dark than during the day and every house seemed to look like the one I was trying to find. i had warm enough clothes and water and was prepared to sleep outside until the sun rose but just as I was about to give up Llyde the boat captain came walking down the hill and led me back home.
The whole island is full of subsistence farmers and fishermen. it was a great place to spend two nights relaxing.I havn’t gotten such good sleep ever; there was no light no electronics to keep me awake with everything dead and my Solar panel acting up.