A day in Puno
Guess what, no need to get up early today! A leisurely breakfast and a free day ahead. However Richard and Dawn have some complimentary options if they may be of interest. And it proves most guests are interested! We leave the hotel at a very comfortable 10am and drive a short distance to visit the steamship Yavari. This ship has a very interesting history. In 1861 the Peruvian Government commissioned the James Watt Foundry in England to build two small cargo-passenger "gun boats" for use on Lake Titicaca. The ships were built in kit form and sailed aboard the "Mayola" from the UK all the way to the Peruvian port of Arica. The Peruvian Navy then had the daunting task of transporting over 2,500 pieces over 350 kms to Lake Titicaca where the ships would be built and launched. Due to the complicated journey and intervening problems it took far longer than planned to get all the pieces to Lake Titicaca. However Yavari was eventually launched on Christmas Day in 1870. She enjoyed a busy life but sadly fell into disuse and disrepair. Thankfully a charitable project was started in the 1980's to restore the ship and you can now visit Yavari and explore the history for yourself. In fact visitors can even stay in the cabins on a bed and breakfast basis! We enjoy our visit and Cathy, the ship's local guide answers questions and shows us around. The engine room is beautifully polished and a few guests remark that a regular Furlongs guest called Bernard would thoroughly enjoy this tour. If you know Bernard you will know what we mean. If you don't know Bernard, suffice to say every nut and bolt would have been investigated and we would have been 2 hours late leaving!
From the Yavari we continue into the town of Puno. With the help of our local guide we explore a busy Saturday market. It is a huge market with every conceivable fruit and vegetable, fish, meat and many other products too. There are permanent market stalls under cover and hundreds of other stalls set up temporarily in the road. It is colourful, busy and full of happy stall holders and shoppers. Everyone is very friendly and we are clearly the only tourists to have visited this local market for a long time!
Our final stop is the main square or "Plaza de Armes". Here we scatter in various directions for shopping and a lunch snack. During our free time we experience two weddings and a baptism!
This afternoon we enjoy a rest at our hotel. We are ideally situated on a private island with wonderful views of Lake Titicaca. It is a magnificent view that we won't forget for a very long time.