Postcard from Taquile Island

by Anevay Darlington / Sep 12, 2013 /

The dark blue waves with their ribbons of turquoise flew through each other. The sky, so clear, enveloped the water. The potato farmers and their sheep stared at us tourists; the breeze blew, while the sun pushed at my back. My aching feet walked up a stone path as I looked at my surroundings again: the plots of potatoes, the crisp smell of fresh air, and the sounds of fellow tourists huffing as we hiked along. Old men wearing colorful, pointy hats that they had woven themselves sped past us with huge packs on their backs, making me feel slow. Beside me, the water was so perfect it could have been plastic. We were on the island of Taquile.

 

Postcard from Taquile Island, Lake Titicaca

 

Taquile is on the Peruvian side of Lake Titicaca, which is the highest navigable lake in the world at an elevation of 12,507 feet. The lake is more than 120 miles long and 50 miles wide. It was a perfect day to visit the island: sunny, breezy, and a little cold, which was appreciated because walking up the hill (with the highest point on the Island being approximately 13,300 feet above sea level) to the main square of the town made me very hot. From the main square, set on a plateau, I was able to see the water that went on for miles and miles - all the way to Bolivia. Around me was a little church, where a wedding was taking place; the bride wore 30 colorful, wool skirts overlapping each other. Each of the women in the wedding had their hair styled in two, tight braids, while the men wore hats. The groom wore a brand new hat showing that he was married. When the men of the Island are married they wear red and white hats, when they’re single they have red hats, and the leader of the island has a rainbow colored hat. The wedding party (which was made up of about 10 people) walked out of the church single file, with no smile on any of their faces, and then disappeared into the streets to find their way to the wedding feast.

 

We hiked up the hill a little more and hit a restaurant, where we sat outdoors. A waiter served me creamy, piping hot quinoa soup and buttery, lemony trout with thick potato fries on the side. Looking down below, I could see the island spread out, with different shades of brown grasses separating the fields of potatoes, and small houses, with roofs the same orange color as the lake trout I was eating. Our meal ended just as the wedding feast was starting down below. I inhaled the smells of potatoes and grilled sheep meat. What a feast!

 

Satiated, we hiked back down to the boat and climbed aboard. I closed my eyes, still seeing the vibrant colors of the islanders’ clothing; the island got smaller and smaller as the boat sped away.

 

 

 

 

Anevay Darlington is a member of the Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program

 

Photo courtesy and copyright Anevay Darlington

 

 

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