As kids, I'm sure we all grew up tittering at this lake's name. We learned that it is from the indigenous language, Quecha, and means "grey puma" (titi = puma). Pumas are revered animals and represent the earth, while condors represent the sky and snakes represent below the earth.
When we arrived in the bus terminal Sat. night, Steve talked to a "very nice lady" while I was going to the bathroom. This turned out to be a fortuitous meeting, as she said she had a travel company that offered tours to the islands in the lake that I was interested in seeing, but had written off, because it was too expensive from the hotel, and had to be arranged ahead of time. It turns out that she offered the exact trip the hotel did at less than 1/2 the cost! When she told me the price, I accepted on the spot. It included transportation to and from our hotel, as well as an English speaking guide, and the "speedboat" (a large tourist ferry that did move quickly).
Our first stop was to the Uros islands which are floating islands built on several meters of reeds and holding 6 or 7 families per island. They keep adding reeds to the top, as the lower levels gradually rot in the water.
There were numerous islands, with most being the size of the one we visited. The "huts" shown are their houses - room enough for a bed, a little standing room, and a stool. They hang their clothes around from the support beams for the roof.
The second Island we went to was solid and much bigger. Taquille island is home to ~2200 people and was picturesque and quite simple. It is very hilly, and climbing stairs and paths up while at 12,500 ft elevation, was just a bit of a struggle. I felt I acquitted myself rather well, passing some younger people, and definitely breathing easier than the very overweight Brazilians about our age. (I'm feeling better again about Machu Picchu...)
We have now arrived safely in Cusco, the starting point of our Machu Picchu trek on Wed. This is the main reason we came to Peru now in our travels, and we're finally here! I'll post tomorrow about Cusco (just an intro), and then I won't be back on until after the trek, because the WiFi is essentially nonexistant where we'll be hiking.