We awoke Sunday May 4th better refreshed and ready to start our first day of excursions in the surrounding areas of Lake Titicaca.
Our first stop was the barter market in Acora. In the Peruvian altiplano trade is still an important method of paying for goods that one needs for their households. On Saturday mornings, villagers need to barter livestock and Sunday they engage in a lively barter market with other goods. Livestock, as well as potatoes, quinoa and chuno, an Andean dried potato product, are inspected and traded. We had a quick visit on Sunday to observe the bartering of fresh produce, vegetables and other goods as well as the bartering process carried out mainly by the women dressed in traditional costumes of the local Highland people. Fascinating.
Following this, we traveled to the impressive Chullpas of Molloco. These are tremendous funerary relics jutting out from a vibrant green field. They are impressive stone structures expertly made and previously housed approximately 3 to 4 mummies of well-to-do families. They always had a small opening facing east. The structures were either conical or cubical depending on the sex of those interred. Amazing structures.
We then proceeded along the Archaeological Aymara Route with a visit to Amaru Muro. This is located in a series of red coloured rock hills very reminiscent of the southwest USA. It involved a longer hike than expected with a few tricky sections trying to get up some relatively slick rock. It led to an absolutely stunning viewpoint with Lake Titicaca in the distance. Anna watched as I ventured out onto the viewpoint as there was a very narrow section with precipitous drops on either side that did not appeal to her (funny that). We then descended by an alternative route and came upon a most amazing site. This was the doorway of Amaru Muro, an absolutely massive structure, believed to be an inter-dimensional portal by local shamans. In the middle of the doorway at the base is a kneeling area where you can place your forehead into a small depression in the doorway as well as your hands on the sides. Anna was able to get a picture of me in this pose but I was not able to pass into the next dimension (thankfully). While we were there, there were two locals who were performing an ancient Andean ceremony at the site. It was a privilege to observe this very special ceremony. Even though most of the population is Roman Catholic, many of the locals still practice the ancient Aymara religion.
On our way back to the resort we attempted to stop in to see a local traditional weaver in the community of Copamaya. Unfortunately, he was not in. However, his sheep were (they were not weaving in his absence). We were also able to visit his home despite his absence. He apparently makes many of the textile products that are proudly used in the resort that we were staying in. The resort tries to support local communities and artisans which is admirable. Just prior to the resort we stopped at an outlook to view a beautiful castle-like structure at a resort that has been built by a prominent Belgian. We then returned to the resort for lunch.
That afternoon Anna enjoyed a relaxing half day spa with a massage and I went for a mountain-bike through the fields of Plateria. That evening we enjoyed an absolutely spectacular meal (all of the meals at this resort were world-class) and simply enjoyed the ambience of this beautiful resort.