Things we want to eat & drink once we are back 

We have been eating quite well during our trip and especially South America has come as a positive surprise  food wise! I probably got about a hundred comments that I’ll have to starve in South America if I don’t start eating meat. I was really concerned that it might be indeed difficult to find places with vegetarian options or at least places that are willing to keep the meat off my plate. Well, here I am! Well fed, still going strong! I have to say that I’m not the strictest vegetarian in the world. So I didn’t always ask whether the soup was made with chicken stock. Or the pudding with gelatin. And I would fish out pieces of meat hiding in my noodles. And I would eat fish from time to time. 

Still, there are a whole bunch of things we can’t wait to stuff into our mouths once we get back! And the list keeps growing! We would actually have to two separate ones for Germany and France but we’re too lazy. And separate ones for Clément and me. But yeah, we’re also too lazy for that. You could turn this into a little game and guess who of us misses what and from which country?!

  1. Bread. Real bread. That’s not sweet, yellow, really soft or really dry.
  2. Salty butter. 
  3. Cheese. And lots of it. 
  4. Weißbier. 
  5. Latte Macchiato. 
  6. Bratwurst. 
  7. Käsespätzle.
  8. Croissant. No, croissant isn’t the same as bread. 
  9. Any food from MoshMosh.
  10. Nutella.
  11. Veggie BBQ.
  12. Raclette. No. We don’t care that we come back in summer.
  13. CRISPY french fries. 
  14. Balsamico chips. 
  15. Falafel Döner. 
  16. Radler. 
  17. Peanut butter. 

Uhhh, really looking forward to indulging in all of those things again!! Although we’ll probably miss some really yummy things like Sues homemade BBQ bread, fried fish, and Sublime Chocolates! And of course the good prices… 

Lots of love ❤️ from the two Heimkehrer 

Wiebke & Clément

When it’s time to go home… 

Almost ten months of being homeless and unemployed. Instead of working, earning money, and building a house, we traveled. We spent most of our money, made tons of memories, and cherished life on the road. 

But eventually, at some point, sometimes sooner and sometimes later than expected, comes the time to go home. And we both feel like the time has come now. We thought about going home a lot during our volunteering at Munay Wasi, and finally decided that yes, it’s time. So today in Lima we booked our tickets back to Germany, where we’ll land end of THIS week! 

We feel very grateful that we had this opportunity to see a small part of the Southern hemisphere. We are happy that we had the courage to leave our old (pretty decent!) lives behind. And we are very thankful for the support that we had from our families and friends. Some people say they could travel forever. I might have felt like that some years ago but after ten months I can say that we’re really looking forward to go home! 

But why now? Why not yesterday and why not spend two more weeks here in Peru or in Ecuador while in the area? For us, it’s several reasons that the time feels right to book a flight now. Here are, well, most of them.

  1. Our nieces and nephews don’t know what we look like anymore. One of them might have forgotten we ever existed. 
  2. Money is running low. Kind of a no brainer that travel time is up when your bank account is blank.
  3. There is an appartement to find and a job to start. Yes, there is a very high chance that I’ll be working at the University of Heidelberg starting 15th of September! 
  4. There are several important family members present or close the day we arrive by plane. And that’s important of course because someone has to hold all the balloons when we arrive at the airport! 
  5. But most of all: We were getting a little unimpressed with really impressive things. Going on a camping trip and waking up above the clouds? Meh… Feeling this unappreciative of cool and/or beautiful things might be the biggest indicator that time is up. 

We hope you understand our decision! Don’t be too sad that this awesome blog post will be coming to an end now! We still have a few drafts to refine and publish after our return. We’re definitely looking forward to TEN WEEKS of travel around both our home countries and visiting many lovely people on the way! 

Lots, lots, and lots of love ❤️ 

W & C 

Strange stories: Peru edition Part II 🇵🇪

The second part of “Strange stories Peru”! Not all of them are strange, some are funny, some enraging, some heartwarming, and some informative. Hope you enjoy all seven of them! 

1. Most Peruvians think that most people working for the government or the municipalities are lazy. That includes the people cleaning the streets. Therefore, some smart Peruvians throw their trash onto the streets to make those people work harder. 

2. We are strolling over the big market in Andahuaylas. There is a woman sitting behind a table. On the table is a blender and an aquarium full of frogs. What on earth did I just see??? (No, the picture below was taken while making nata from the Alfa-Alfa plant, which is full of iron and used as medicine here.)

3. If you draw some pictures with preschool children in Peru, you get the usual stuff: people, trees, houses… However, you also get potatoes and lots of them in various shapes and sizes. 

4. Peru is a machoist country. We learned that when we met up with some Peruvians to play football and they refused to play with or against girls. I for sure wanted to kick their balls! 

5. Yes, you can breastfeed your child while laying in the dentist’s chair and having your teeth checked. Peruvians are awesome!

6. The pre-Inkan and Inkan cultures worshipped mountains and volcanoes. It was common to bring those giants offerings in the form of food, animals, and fine clothes. When the Spanish and their Catholicism arrived, they must have found those habits to die hard. So one of the Catholics saw Jesus appear in front of the volcano that the locals would worship. What a coincidence! And BAM, worshipping it was legit! 

7. To find out whether a scarf or sweater or headband is really made out of alpaca fiber, just take a little part and light it on fire. If it smells of sheep and it turns to ash, it’s natural fiber. If it’s smells of plastic and melts, than its acrylic fiber. I don’t take any responsibility for shops accidentally being set on fire! 

Hope you are all doing well!! 

Hugs and kisses 

Wiebke & Clément 


Volunteering part 4: Munay Wasi 

After Cléments parents had left for Lima, we took the night bus to Andahuaylas. It’s a little city about 9 hours from Cusco. We arrived there early the next morning, much earlier than we expected at 4:30 am! We had agreed with Valentin, the french coordinator in Andahuaylas, that we will arrive around 6:30 at Munay Wasi. So we spent two hours at a cold bus station! The dream!! 

Unlike our volunteering before, this time we didn’t find the project on the platform helpX. We heard about this place from a french couple we met in the Salt Desert of Uyuni about 2 months ago. They spent about a month at Munay Wasi as volunteers and really enjoyed it! So Clément wrote a message to the founder in Nante asking whether it’s possible for us to stay for a week or two. She gave her okay and the next day we were on our way! 

Munay Wasi is Quechua and means something similar to “House which is loved”. It’s quite a big premise with several buildings with a small store, accommodation for the volunteers, a big common room, a library, a sewing workshop, and a preschool in the backyard. There is a big vegetable garden, an orchard, and a greenhouse. The project was started to serve the community here as well as several small communities in the rural areas. 

Usually, the volunteers plan their project that they want to realize here in Andahuaylas at home. They gather information, work out the different steps needed to complete their project, and might raise some money. There are for example a group of dentists here that gathered money for 35 sets of new teeth for elderly people. Two other volunteers are building dry toilets for people in the community that otherwise won’t have access to a toilet. In July, more than 70 volunteers will arrive to help with several construction projects in various communities around Andahuaylas. We on the other hand arrived without any plan or money. By now we know pretty well which jobs we enjoy more and which less, so we decided to just come and see what’s available and what’s needed and lend a hand. 

So far, we did some gardening, some serious cleaning of the kitchen and common areas, and helped out in the library and the little store. Clément is in charge of feeding the animals (chickens, ducks, two alpacas, some bunnies and Guinea pigs) and cleaning their houses. I spent the mornings at the preschool and the afternoons with various other activities. Three times a week some women receive sewing classes in the little workshop here. They learn some basic pattern making so they can sew for example skirts and tshirts. Some of the more advanced students sew tshirts for Munay Wasi’s very own label. I could try out an industrial sewing machine for the first time and was a little overwhelmed by its force… much to the amusement of the other students! 

Joining a project like this works a little differently than staying with people that you found on helpX. On helpX the deal is usually to exchange about four to five hours of work against food and accommodation. Here, we pay about 3 € per day for accommodation and buy and prepare our own food. It’s not a lot and it won’t ruin us for sure. In the end, the money is spent on maintaining and improving the facilities – and there is definitely room for improvement! The facilities are very basic and I have some serious doubts that all the people coming in July can live here comfortably. Sometimes it’s hard to make an effort to keep things clean and in order when everything is old and worn. And it can get a little frustrating to share a kitchen and bathroom when not everybody is willing to put in some effort to keep things in order. Gosh, I feel my age now! I really have little patience for people who don’t clean up after themselves!

Oh yeah, since Munay Wasi was found by a french person, all volunteers here are french. That’s makes it a little difficult for me as I now like to mix French and Spanish to an extent that I’m understood neither by the French nor by the Peruvians. Also, as the French all speak or learn Spanish, having to speak English with me really confuses them. I understand that and really appreciate the ones that try anyway! 

We will stay until Monday and then catch a flight to Lima! This week there is a huge strike against corruption which means the schools are closed, people don’t go to work, and there is little transportation. Let’s hope we’ll make it to the airport! 

Lots of love 



Et finalement: Machu Picchu ❤️

We arrived by train the night before. The train ride to Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu Pueblo) is very picturesque but as it was dark we would have to wait for the ride back to Ollantaytambo to be sure. We had bought some snacks for the train so once we arrived, all we needed to do was find the way to our accommodation (which was quite hard) and fall asleep (which was even harder). Aguas Calientes must be one of the least attractive cities I’ve ever visited. The only good thing about it, is it’s proximity to MaPi. There are millions of hotels, hostels, pubs, and restaurants (with waiters that can be really aggressive in their advances to convince you to eat at their place), fluorescent advertisements, loud music… Nothing there to build up our excitement for the magical place we were about to see! 

Our hotel was located on the busiest streets, with music playing until midnight and people shouting. In the end, we got some hours of sleep and woke up ready to catch the first bus to Mach Picchu. Too bad though, that about 200 others had the same idea! So we got in line, dreading the potential waiting time, while Clément went to buy our tickets. The busses started to move not long after, filling up with excited tourist to make their way up the mountain to the famous ruins. The queue moved astonishingly fast and after only about 30 minutes we were on board of bus #16! We went up the narrow windy road and enjoyed the amazing view over the beautiful mountains and valleys. 

Of course, once we arrived we had to join another queue to enter the premises but we were lucky and got into a fast moving line. The people working at the entrance at supposed to check the bags for forbidden substances which is basically everything except for water (in a glass bottle) and fruits. We had left most of our stuff in one of the lockers next to the entrance but we shouldn’t have bothered. The lady in our line didn’t check a single bag as far as we could see. 

So at about 7:15 am we were making our first steps onto Machu Picchu! I had to keep myself from overtaking people or pushing them out of the way on the first narrow path towards the site! That’s how excited I was! We went straight up to the caretakers hut (as recommended in every guidebook and travel blog ever written on Machu Picchu) to catch a first glimpse of the Inka capital before it’s swarming with tourists. 

It was simply spectacular! The sun was shining through the misty clouds, making everything glow. We heard that people break down in tears at first sight of MaPi – well, I can understand that although it didn’t happen to us. This city in the middle of nowhere, all those remains of a once powerful empire! The thought that all this has been built from nothing and is still here for us to see and admire… absolutely overwhelming! 

We took our time, sat down on a little wall (a guard whistled at us because apparently you can sit in the wall but not have your feet dangling down) to wait for the sun to break through the clouds. At that point we were really happy that we didn’t get a guide at the entrance. All around we heard people being reminded to walk on, that they were in a hurry, that they had to move on. No times for a moment of admiration or a picture. Finally, the masses moved on and the sun broke through creating a whole new Machu Picchu. Again, absolutely beautiful! 

From the caretakers hut, we walked towards the Inka Bridge. It’s a 20 minute walk to the bridge along a narrow but easy path. There are not a lot of people in the morning so it’s calm and quiet! The path offers a view over a different part of the valleys surrounding Machu Picchu, down on the river, the railway, and Hydroelectrica. It’s not possible to access the bridge (stupid me thought we could walk across) but I guess few people would like to anyway. It looks like an ancient access or escape route from the city with a collapsible bridge to keep enemies away. From the end of the path you can catch a glimpse on how the path continues or used to continue. It looks absolutely mad!! Only an absolute emergency would make you take this road! 

To stay away from the crowds roaming the ruins and to take advantage of the cooler morning, we aimed for the Sun Gate next. To get up there took us about 45 minutes, including several breaks to catch our breaths. There are two lookouts on the way that already offer quite spectacular views over MaPi and the surrounding mountains. Some people turned around here but we continued our quest to the Sun Gate. It’s were the people hiking the Inka Trail arrive so – since we didn’t do any hike to earn Machu Picchu – in a way we felt like we had to walk at least this small part of the trail. 

After exhausting ourselves on the two hikes, we headed for the exit to eat and to use the bathroom. We learned that most pathways are one way streets so to reach the exit, we had to take quite a detour. You have to know that there are no toilets on the premises so if you happen to have to go, you better hurry. And pray to not encounter any group of asian tourists blocking the narrow pathways trying to get the perfect shot. 

For lunch, there are three options: First, eat in a restaurant that offers a lunch buffet for 30 US$. Second, buy a sandwich for prices (and quality) common in german theme parks. Third, bring your own. That’s what we did. We brought some bread, avocados, cream cheese, and chips, and enjoyed lunch in the sun surrounded by some stray dogs. The money we saved, we spent right away for coffee though, because, well, we really needed one!

After lunch, we went into the ruins themselves to explore the buildings and temples that have been built there. It hit us again how amazing this place is! Someone a long time ago must have dreamed up and planned this whole endeavor! And to put the plan into reality took hundreds of helping hands and endless hours of work. We could have spent hours imagining how life must have looked like… for the kings, for the servants, for the children… 

After 3 pm most people had left and we were very thankful for the advice to book two nights and not just one in Aguas Calientes for not having to worry about taking the bus in time to get back to Cusco on the same day. How ever dreadful Aguas Calientes may be, it’s definitely worth to stay another night! We spent this time at our favorite spot: around the caretakers hut. The sun was shining warm from the sky and the llamas and alpacas came down from the upper terraces to enjoy the view over their Machu Picchu. We enjoyed the view of the llamas in front of Machu Picchu and took a thousand of the iconic llama-in-front-of-the-ruins-pictures. 

We really appreciated those last moments with magical light shining onto this magical place! A lot is about to change for the visitors of Machu Picchu (visit for 6 hours max. and only accompanied by a tour guide). I hope it doesn’t decrease the visitors experience and still let’s them appreciate the magic of this otherworldly place! 

We took the bus back to Aguas Calientes at 4:30 pm, exhausted from the long day but really happy! I don’t think we could’ve hoped for more! After this beautiful day, even the craziness of ugly Aguas Calientes could not bother us much… 

Lots of love 



The Sacred Valley (aka the place of the many beautifully arranged stones) 

The presence of Cléments parents is both good and bad for our budget. On the one hand, we do a lot more expensive stuff (and a lot more stuff in general). On the other hand – with them being the caring people that they are plus them being on total vacation mode – we do save a lot on lunch and dinner. So when discussing how to visit the Sacred Valley on our way to Machu Picchu, it was definitely the two of them who made the decision to hire a private driver and tour guide. Our guide Isaias was also the owner of our Airbnb-flat in Cusco. He speaks perfect English and even a little French. And he drives a Peugeot. So in many ways he was the perfect match for us. 

He picked us up at 9 am in the morning and drove us to Chinchero. It’s a little town known for its market, its textile manufacturing, and of course its beautifully arranged stones. We took our time wandering through the archeological site. Isaias directed our attention to the fantastic walls and enigmatic carvings. There is so much we don’t understand about the way the Inkas and pre-Inkas did things. The by far most appealing theory states that they might simply chewed up too many coca leaves. After this 90-minute walk, we went to eat in a cosy little restaurant to regain the strength for the next part of the tour. 

On the way to our next destination we stopped at two view points. At both of them camped some souvenir sellers and kids trying to convince you to get a picture with their llamas. They were really amazed by the phone and requested that I take a video of them which we then watched three times before I had to leave. Super cute! 

Next stop: the salt pans in Moray! The road to the Salineras was very windy and Alain and Dominique cringed every now and then when the car took turn of a 270 degree… The view over the many pools with the water having dried up to various degrees was quite amazing! A little stream of water provides the salt. The percentage of salt in the water is several times higher than the Pacific Ocean so when you put your hand into the lukewarm stream and let the water dry off, your hand in cover in a white layer of salt. The pools are only leased to people from the surrounding villages to provide a secure income in addition to what they make with farming. 

Time was flying so we only had a quick stop in Maras to see the terrraces. The terraces were built into three sinkholes of different sizes. There is some evidence that the indigenous tribes used the differences in temperature between the different terraces to find out under which conditions which crop grows best. 

We reached our final destination, Ollantaytambo, only st 5 pm, which is exactly the time the guards close to gates to the archeological site there. Isaias managed to convince the guards to let us in so we were able to catch a glimpse of this great place! We were not allowed to climb up the terraces (the guards had a hard time making sure everyone was on their way down) but the view from below was quite impressive as well. 

Last stop: train station! From Ollantaytambo, we caught the train to Aguas Calientes to visit Machu Picchu the next day!!! 

Lots of love ❤️ 

W. & the crew 

Cusco – Cusquo – Qosqo

To call it “The gathering of all the tourists visiting Peru and all available tour and souvenir seller” would be more accurate. But it might be bad for business. Don’t get me wrong, the city is really beautiful and has definitely a lot to offer. But whenever we wanted to explore all the interesting sights, we were almost constantly targeted by people selling panoramas, bus tours through Cusco, trips to the Sacred Valley, llama pullovers, alpaca scarfs, acrylic hats, photos with baby goats, and massages. In contrast to Cusco, Arequipeñaen and Punoñean sellers were really polite and shy. In Cusco, some sellers would complain loudly about our lack of interest or almost pin us against the wall trying to force a baby goat into our arms. Well, sorry, but after 10 people wanting to sell us a massage and four beautiful looking women with goats, llamas, and alpacas chasing us, we got a little tired… and the fact is that we had just taken pictures with a fluffy llama! 

On the upside, we had a very cute little flat to ourselves! There are quite some flats on AirBnB in Peru but many can’t compete with the prices or locations of hostels or Bed and Breakfasts. So Cusco was the first place where we found something suitable for the four of us. And after 8 days in hotels and eating in various restaurants of various quality, we enjoyed to prepare our own food (at least for breakfast and dinner). I mostly enjoyed eating breakfast in my pyjamas and having a water boiler at my disposal! 

One great thing about Cusco are the many museums, tours, and attractions in the area. Everything we did in Cusco and around was really interesting. On the first day, we signed up for another Free Walking Tour and although it was not as entertaining as we would have liked it to be, we learned a lot about the history of Cusco. It was definitely great to get a feeling for the city with its amazing Inkan walls and buildings merged with the architecture of the Spanish colonizers. We learned about the famous craftsmanship of the Inkas. They built walls in a way that they wouldn’t crumble in an earthquake. The walls are slightly leaning inwards and the stones are shaped that they fit together like puzzle pieces. There are no gaps between them and no mortar to hold them in place. Really astonishing! The Spaniards liked to build their mansions on top of those walls because it would mean that in an earthquake only the upper part (the one they built themselves) would be destroyed. 

We also learnt that the city center was shaped like a puma, which was a sacred animal in Inkan times. And, to our disappointment, we were told that the rainbow 🌈 flag has nothing to do with gay pride or tolerance for LBGT. Peru still doesn’t show much tolerance regarding this matter. The rainbow stands for the indigenous tribes of Peru which is probably not too bad knowing how they were treated in the past. After the tour, we just strolled around and had coffee and the most amazing cinnamon rolls in a little French bakery. Yes, I know, we should try the local stuff! But you didn’t see those cinnamon rolls in the window!! They looked and tasted so darn good! 

On our second day, we visited the Machu Picchu Museum to prepare ourselves a little before visiting the World Wonder itself. We learned a lot about its re-discovery in 1911 and the excursion of various researchers and students from Yale university one year later in 1912. There is a lot of guesswork about this place, what its purpose was and how the people there had actually lived. I would say that 50% were really interesting and informative. The rest was mostly ceramics and plates and jewelry which became a little boring after a while. 

During a Skype-call with Cléments sister, his nephew asked about Peruvian food. After telling him that they eat Guinea pigs on special occasions, we were kind of forced to try it ourselves. Well, Clément and I ended up nibbling on a tiny piece of it – just to be able to say that we tried – but his parents truly went for it and ordered and finished half a Guinea pig between them. It was hard to watch them eat even though I don’t value guinea pigs over normal pigs or cows.

Because they shared it they were still a little hungry afterwards (a Guinea pig isn’t that big after all) so we went to the coffee museum to have a coffee and dessert. They have a little exhibition on coffee production in Peru. It was nicely done and – we like to save some money whenever we can – for free! The chocolate museum, where we went to next, was a little less informative but also for free – so whatever! Here, Cléments parents managed to spend almost our whole daily budget on chocolate. We don’t complain of course as we definitely benefit from those shopping trips!  

Next stop: The Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu! 

Lots of love ❤️ 

the French-German-connection ❤️

All the things we don’t even notice anymore… 

The presence of Cléments parents make us realize how many things we don’t even notice anymore. Well, “not notice” might be a little too strong and not a 100% true. But we definitely don’t feel very affected by them or like they need to be acknowledged. It may be the age difference or it may be the fact that we have been traveling for nine months by now… who knows… 😊 Here are some examples of all the things we have become quite blasé about! 

1. Noises. TVs blaring at us in restaurants. The people in the adjacent room in our hostel. The taxis honking constantly. The thousands of souvenir vendors advertising their products. We got pretty good at blocking out noises by now. Well, except for fireworks. That still make me jump. 

2. Smells of sweat or canalization (= all bad human odors), smoke, weird food, or smog. We learned to breathe through the mouth only, cover our mouths with our t-shirts, or to hold our breath all together at the slightest sign of one of the above. Today, Dominique mentioned how the smog afffects her hair… this kind of stuff completely evades me by now. 

3. Hotness or coldness. It’s five degrees outside but the door of the restaurant is open? Just keep your jacket on while eating. No radiator in the freezing cold bedroom? Cuddle under the blanket once you enter the room. No ventilation in the bus? Take off everything you can and hang your arm outside the window. 

4. Mad traffic. Or mad drivers. What we regard as pretty decent driving skills, makes Cléments parents cringe with fear. Alain actually made an attempt to teach a driver in Cusco to respect the pedestrian crosswalk by jumping in front of the car and smacking its hood. 

5. Holes in the sidewalk (for example due to missing manhole covers). Or small overflowings. Or missing plates (someone obviously needed one). I just gave up wearing sandals to walk around. Trainers are much better equipment for the kind of fitness trails that they call sidewalks. We truly wish the Inkas would have built all sidewalks in Peru and Bolivia and Argentina. Just like their impeccable earthquake-prove walls, those sidewalks would last an eternity. 

6. Bad service and miscommunication (and lies?). It has just happened too often that we place an order in a restaurant or bought a bus ticket, and are assured that there is really no meat in the soup and that the bus does not stop on the way… and it turns out that, well, there is a big piece of chicken floating in the soup and the bus stops about 38 times during the journey. What would make us go absolutely mad at home, doesn’t provoke more than a small shrug here. 

7. Spontaneous creation and change of plans. It’s raining? It’s too hot? The bus goes every day except today? The internet stopped working and we can’t buy certain tickets? The guide doesn’t show up? We have learned to have several alternatives ready in case our original plan falls to pieces for various reasons. We try to not get to attached to our plans so the disappointment isn’t too big to handle. 

8. Realistic expectations. The menu shows pictures of really jummy looking food? The bus driver says we’ll arrive in 30 minutes? The pictures on Google of a certain historic place look amazing? Better not get your hopes up too high. We know better now. And I say that without meaning that we turned into grumpy pessimists. We just try to approach everything with a healthy dose of humorous realism. 

Well, we definitely acquired a pretty high tolerance level. Of course there are some days where you just can’t stand the noise or the smell or the everyday craziness on the streets. But those days became less and less over the last months. I hope we can keep this high level of easygoing-chaos-tolerance once we return to our lives in Germany. 

Lots of love 



Sillustani – an ancient cemetery

We had plans to spend our second day at Lake Titicaca on the Capachica peninsula. But the prospect of spending two hours in several colectivos and taxis wasn’t really appealing – especially with the six hour long bus drive to Cusco coming up. Instead we went to see the Inkan and pre-Inkan ruins in Sillustani. The journey took only about 40 minutes although it took us about 30 minutes to figure out where the colectivos going in this direction depart from. After asking about eight people where to go and getting eight different answers, we finally found a bus that was going the right direction. The bus driver dropped us off where the colectivos going to Sillustani were waiting. We ended up in a 5-seater car, sharing with four other people sitting in the trunk. Oh, I really wish it wouldn’t be so awkward taking pictures of all those experiences we have here! 

Once in Sillustani, we bought our entrance tickets and walked down the 500 meters of pedestrian street. About twenty to thirty souvenir shops left and right and the occasional alpaca baby to photograph lining the street all the way to the entrance of the ruins. The street looked better than any other street we have seen so far. It became pretty clear that some serious investments have been made to foster tourism. 

The peninsula of Sillustani had been used by pre-Inkan and Inkan tribes for burying their kings. There are different kinds of tombs. Some of them are so impressive that e couldn’t help but wonder how on earth they were able to build those magnificent structures. You have to keep in mind that they didn’t have any metal to use as tools to shape the stones. 

We were really lucky because the weather was great and the view over the adjacent lakes crystal clear. We saw some awesome reflections of the surrounding mountains on the water and the algae painted some beautiful patterns in the shallow waters near the shore. 

It took us about two hours to walk the marked path and to see all the structures. By the time we were back in the center, Clément was starving! Luckily, we found a small restaurant that could provide us with some fried trout, veggie sandwiches, and homemade lemonade. 

After a quick coffee (yes, we really spoil ourselves since Dominique and Alain are here), we waited at the street leading back to the main road for a colectivo to arrive. The driver of the minibus that showed up some ten minutes later, somehow managed to squeeze all people that waited (us four, three adults, and four kids, and himself of course) into the small space. The children were on the way home from school so they got off not long after our departure. Instead a guy came onboard with two buckets full of fish which were put into the trunk, filling the car with a not very subtle odeur… Out of the one colectivo and onto the next: another minibus with five rows of seats. Alain counted some 18 people (the two buckets with fish were put on the roof) traveling like this with us back to Puno. 

Well, we were kind of proud that we managed to visit this beautiful place independently. We definitely stepped up our traveling game!! Very little money and lots of cultural experience (and some racing hearts watching the drivers crazy maneuvers). 

Lots of love ❤️ 

from the four of us ❤️

Puno – Lake Titicaca & the floating islands of Uros

Clément and I already spent a few days in the Bolivian side of this beautiful lake. Still, we were excited to see the lake again and explore the city of Puno. After Arequipa this city may seem a little… well, ugly?! Uncomfortable?! Probably. Still, it has some cool experiences to offer! One of the first things we did was climb the hundreds of stairs to the condor lookout. The weather wasn’t great but once we were up there (huffing and puffing with a racing heart, the altitude is 3800 m), we really enjoyed the view over the city and the lake. 

We took two of those little motor taxis down to the port. It was definitely an adventure but Alain truly thought we won’t make it to the shore alive. Overtaking and being overtaken left, right, and center… I thought it was great! 

Once at the port, a guy immediately tried to sell us a boat tour to the floating islands of Uros. We thought we would grab something to eat first but he told us that it’s possible to have lunch in a restaurant on the islands. So we just went along and got a boat all to ourselves and a private tour to the islands! We learned that people have lived in these islands since pre-Inkan times. Some years ago, the president of Peru offered the families to move their floating homes closer to Puno to earn some money with tourism. Blessing or curse? That’s one hard question to answer.

We had some amazing trout and grilled cheese for lunch. Afterwards we visited one of the families that live on such a floating island. Every island is home to about 10 to 20 people and is held in place by several anchors. If the family wants to move, they could just unfasten the anchors and row away. On the island we learned how the island are constructed. The base is made from blocks of roots of some kind of water place. The blocks are connected by sticks driven through the blocks that are then connected by ropes. On top of this float are several layers of reed. Those layers have to be renewed every three weeks. 

The family on the island charges a small amount of money from each visitor (about 2.50 €). For that, they let you come onto their property and show you their little homes. Of course, they try to make as much money as possible with every visitor. They sell souvenirs and offer boat rides in their traditional boats. We spent quite some money there, feeling a little forced to buy some head bands and pillowcases that are probably half the price on the main land. It’s hard to get worked up about that considering how long it takes them to make those really cute things and how little money they ask for. Still, when they sang “Alle meine Entchen” and “Sur le pont d’Avignon” when we got in the boat, it got a little overwhelming. 

It was definitely nice to go and see this very special life of the people living on the floating islands but it was not at all what I expected. In the end we were quite happy we didn’t join a bigger group as they visit up to four families. I don’t think I could have taken it… 

Gros bisous 😘

Wiebke & Clément & Dominique & Alain