We left the Uros Floating Islands and headed east across the lake, rounding a peninsula and stopping at Amantani Island. Here we passengers split into pairs; each pair went to eat and stay with a family. In the afternoon, a lot of us played football (soccer) with some of the natives. Then we climbed to the top of the island to watch the sunset. The next morning after breakfast, it was off to Taquile Island and back to Puno.
Unlike the Uros, Amantani has rock and soil -- and animals and crops. Fresh fruit and vegatables are scarce, though, so families appreciate visitors who bring those as gifts.
Here we're heading into the reeds near the Uros Islands:
Soon we were in deeper water with no reeds. We passed a large peninsula with a path leading up. As it turned out, that looked a fair amount like the view of Amantani from near its harbor -- which is a good thing because I didn't get a picture like this of Amantani:
Here's the front of our home:
Our room was upstairs, in the taller part to the left. From there we could look down on the front gate -- in the picture below:
My roommate and I had simple meals served by our host "mother" in a dark stone-walled room with a fireplace in one corner -- the photo below shows the doorway to the room. Meals had a variety of soup, cheese, lots of kinds of potatoes (there are over 100, I hear), quinoa (a grain grown in the Andes), pancakes, and a couple of other vegatables. I thought it was all delicious. (Some people had different things to say about their meals, though.)
Views toward the lake from the front of our home as the sun sank lower in the sky:
We were headed up to watch the sun set from the top of the island:
The crest of the island has two hills. Each is topped by a temple: one to Pachamama, the Earth Mother; the other to Pachatata, the Earth Father. A lot of us were breathless (from the climb), awed (by the view), and frozen (by the wind -- we were at an altitude of something over 4000 meters, and there were no trees up there to stop it). Still, what a place it was:
After dark, the women of the island dressed us in native costume and held a dance (down the hill, in a building...). The next morning after breakfast, we got back into the boat and headed for Puno -- with a stop on Taquile Island. The trip felt like a week instead of two days, and we'd all become friends. (Not including lunch on Taquile, the whole tour cost... about US $15.)
(These photographs are Copyright © 2004 by Jerry Peek. Much higher-resolution versions of most images, and many other images too, are available at Jerry Peek Photography. Photos are available at reduced prices, or free, for non-commercial use.)