We're in Puno, set on the shores of Lake Titicaca, the worlds highest navigable lake. (Must google what makes a lake "navigable") Visited the Reed Islands. Interesting to be sure but very touristy. We then take a 3 hours boat ride to the Island of Alananti where we stay in the homes of local families. Ruth and I are hosted by a lovely girl called Francisca and the rest of her family. They have a humble home with an outside loo, and a separate mud brick kitchen befit with a small, wood-fire stove. Our room sits above the family's house. It's clean with comfortable beds. The food served is all vegetarian largely consisting of starches and veggies. They provide all of our meals and they are delicious. As a thank you we give the family a gift package of fruits, nuts, sweets and some rice. They are so grateful. Fruit is a rare commodity on the island
During the afternoon we play football against the locals at an altitude of over 4000 meters. If I'm going to chunder anywhere in Peru this would the spot. Thankfully I avoid that embarrassment.
In the late afternoon we walk up to the highest point of the island to take in the panoramic view. The lake is big and spreads out like a mercury blanket. In the distance we can see the Rio Mountain range of Bolivia. Our guide tells us they are over 6000 meters high.
That night we a have a bit of song and dance in the "town hall". Our hosts dress us up in the traditional garb and a band plays local Peruvian music. It's all a bit Scottish if you know what I mean, and fun is had by all.
Later, while lying in bed the heavens open. It sounds as if all the rain in the world is falling on this one island. Thankfully the weather calms beautifully and by morning we are greeted by a cool but clear day. After a breakfast of pancakes and mint tea we say goodbye to our host family. I ask God's blessing on them.
We take another 1 hour boat trip to another island, its name escapes me. Here we take a walk to the island's town square where we are shown the products of manly knitting. Apparently only the men knit on this island. One of the more interesting facts about this island is that they have no dogs. I can confirm no dogs were seen.
We have a tasty lunch of soup followed by grilled trout and chips (Peruvian fish&chips) and then climb down to the boat which has met us on the other side of the island. As a last hoorah we change into our swim suits and dive into the icy clutches of Lake Titikaka. Cold, cold and very cold. I'm out as quick as I was in.
We arrive back in Puno by late afternoon to find it in the midst of its annual carnival. (Not planned) At every turn and corner we find marching bands and dancers dressed in strange and colourful regalia. It seems an endless procession. Nearly everyone is drinking beer, so much so that more beer is drunk in Puno on this one weekend than is drunk in its entire year. In that spirit we all go out for for drinks to celebrate our time in Peru.
Walking back to our hotel we get taken in by the mass of the carnival. At one stage Ruth is dancing amongst a group of revellers, while I avoid being swatted in the face by feathers and panpipes. This seems a fitting way to say goodbye to Peru, a beautiful and diverse country full of life and character. Its certainly one of my favourite countries I have ever visited. Tomorrow we're off to Bolivia.