Living like locals at Lake Titicaca

We left Cusco behind and jumped on to a 8 hour long bus ride to Puno and Lake Titicaca. Since many places in Peru is named in the indigenous language Quechua, we have learnt that if you pronounce it in a western way, the outcome can be something totally different. For example, if you say “caca” in Lake Titicaca wrong, you end up with Puma poo instead of The mount of the Puma (which is the actual meaning of Lake Titicaca). It is the same with Machu Picchu, as it means Old Penis instead of the true meaning Old Mountain when we say it in our western style.

Lake Titicaca is the highest lake in the world of its size, and our first stop on this massive water hole was the Uros floating islands with approximately 2000 inhabitants. The local people build their islands, as well as their houses and boats, with a common grass species in the lake, namely papyrus. One of their most important tasks is knitting, especially for men as they are considered worthless if they aren’t good knitters.

Cathing a bike taxi down to the port. Inhabitants of the Uros welcome us to their island and their home. Lunch walk at the beautiful island of Taquile.

After lunch the boat took us to one of the lake’s peninsulas. Here, our team was divided into groups of two or three and invited to the different families living on this peninsula where we would spend the night. It really was a great experience and added knowledge about how the life of a local farmer could look like in Peru at an altitude of almost 4000 m. After playing an exhausted game of soccer together with the locals, we helped our new “mama” cook food for tonight’s dinner, including chopping the potatoes and pealing beans/peas. Excluding celebrations, they are vegetarians and grow everything themselves, which means that everything we ate came straight from their garden!

Playing soccer at 4000 m was not so easy for the lungs! Our peaceful view for the night. Viktor helping mama by chopping some potatoes.

Thankfully, we didn’t have to wake up at 5 am like the rest of the family, but was instead asked to help our with breakfast two hours lates, which felt more reasonable! So at 7 am, Minna was there to assist in the bread making. When the breakfast was finished and the plates washed, the real work begun. First, the sheep were released in the meadow, then a neighbour needed help to load her donkey with hay, after that it was time to milk the cow and then we chopped grass with a hack and carried it to the house where it was used for the roofs. Puh! Being a farmer is not an easy job. To round off these very special days, we dressed up in traditional Peruvian clothes and danced together with our families – a typical thing they do when celebrating carnivals this time of year. With that, we say thank you Peru for three amazing weeks! The history and way of living in this country is definitely something special. Next up, Bolivia!

Minna baking bread for breakfast. Viktor chopping grass (and getting blisters on this hands by doing it…). Milking the cow was more difficult than milking the yak in Mongolia according to Minna. Dressing up in traditional Peruvian clothes. Pro Peruvian dancer right there! The team we’re traveling with and some of the families we stayed with.