Isla Taquile, in Lake Titicaca, is a UNESCO world heritage site for obvious reasons. You couldn’t allow anything to spoil this- it’s just too perfect. It’s a privilege to watch the shy inhabitants of the island in symbolic traditional dress going about their daily lives. The three rules of the island are “don’t steal, don’t lie and don’t be lazy”. The latter of these is evident when you see an old lady walking up a steep path spinning yarn as she walks, or small boys walking along together chatting and knitting simultaneously.
The ladies on the island weave and the men knit. You may have heard of an island of knitting men; this is it! They make beautiful tapestries, accessories and items of clothing out of wool. Peru is fascinating for its textiles, as they are used not simply as decoration, but for more meaningful purposes of communication and recording. We can arrange tours that focus on the textiles of Peru, which sounds fascinating; after learning bits and pieces on this trip, I’d love to come back and find out more one day.
The view from the beautiful stone path which winds its way around the island is simply breathtaking. Looking down over the island you have the pretty terraced farmland, growing vegetables and flowers, among which you must keep your eyes peeled for the gorgeous giant hummingbird. Looking across the water you can see the Bolivian side of Lake Titicaca – its snow-capped mountain range with clouds hovering above, moving forwards from the rainforest behind.
I had the most wonderful guide, a young man called Blady, who was so knowledgeable on the island and the people; I never asked a question he couldn’t answer. We went for a delicious lunch of bread and salsa, traditional vegetable soup and melt-in-your-mouth trout from the lake, in a beautiful silent restaurant on the hillside, before going for a walk from one pier to the next. We whiled away a thoroughly enjoyable hour taking photographs (he’d point out the best views and spot birds for me) and teaching each other Spanish and English idioms. The peaceful silence of the island is something I’ll never forget.
N.B. Top tip – due to being so near the equator and the reflections from the water, the sun will destroy you before you’ve got time to say “I’ll just put on some sun cream” so apply before you leave the boat and reapply all the way around. I am the embarrassed bearer of a seriously pink forehead!