February 6th & 7th: Day 8 and 9
At 9:30 Friday evening, Alicia, Mike, Alvaro, and I loaded in a taxi and headed to the bus station, where at 10:30 we left for Lake Titicaca. Saturday morning, around 5 a.m., we landed in Puno and shortly after hopped on a boat. First stop: a floating island. The island was indescribable. It was the size of the first floor of a house, yet around 5 huts with different families all lived there. They basically built the island off of reeds, which are also their main source of food. After the floating island, we headed to Amantani. There, we participated in an incredible hike full of traditions. At the beginning we had to pick up three stones to lighten the weight of the island and make hiking easier. About half way up, we had to leave the 3 stone at a little temple in order to release our negative energy and pick up positive energy. At the end of the path, the hike splits to the left (Pachatata, which is Father Earth), and to the right (Pachamama, which is Mother Earth). We had to follow our hearts, which personally lead me to Pachamama. At the temple of Mother Earth, we had to circle the temple 3 times, then make a prayer to Pachamama, which she grants in 6 months. The hike was draining, especially due to the altitude. Although the exhausting trek made the view at the top, overlooking the entire lake, one of the most rewarding moments I’ve ever had. Sitting on the edge of the cliff in perfect silence was amazing.
After we hiked down the trail, we met our host family. Victor, our host dad, made us fresh dinner straight from crops outside the house such as quinoa, herbs, rice, coca leaves, and freshly made bread. After dinner, Victor leant us all traditional clothes for the evening Pina dance. In brightly colored skirts, patterned shirts, and thick head-scarves, we danced the night away with around 50 people both living and visiting the island.