Uros and Taquille Islands
We were picked up early (again!) and taken by van down to the harbour. There we were loaded onto a very nice boat (with bus seating) and the harbour is full of these kinds of boats - designed specifically for tourists, I think. Lots of windows, bathroom, etc. Don even went up on the roof after we got underway and he spent most of the travel time up there. First stop was the Uros Islands. These are islands made out of reeds that grow in the lake. The people cut root blocks and fasten them together with rope to create these islands. They also build their houses, boats, etc from the reed and there is even part they eat! Talk about a multi-purpose plant! They live a very simple life, they do have a solar panel which they use to charge car batteries to run their TVs and stereos. Very strange to walk into a reed house 8' x 10' that 2 adults and 2 kids live in, just a platform bed, some shelving and a TV and stereo up on the wall. I think they mostly live outside. Of course, now the tourist industry helps keep their lifestyle going, but they have been living like this for 100s of years.We also had a ride to another island in their catamaran style boat. They sang a song in their language to us as we all climbed on the boat. Don even got to paddle part of the way!
After getting back on the power boat (although a very slow power boat!) we went to Taquille Island. We had to climb up a stone walkway around 2 1/2 km to close to the top of the mountain. The first part was very steep, but then it got more gradual although we were climbing all the time. Once we made it up to the community, we were fed lunch on the patio of a house, with a beautiful view over the lake. There were a couple of groups of musicians and dancers who came by while we were eating. It is Festival time here and apparently they are having a competition tomorrow and so were practicing. Very colorful outfits but I can't say it sounded very musical too me!
Then we had the long walk back down by a different route, shorter but steeper. I'm sure glad we didn't have to come up that way, but on our way down we met many of the islanders carrying big loads on their backs up the path from the dock.