Peru is well known for alpacas and llamas, as well as the slightly less common guanacos and vicuñas. Alpacas and llamas are now domesticated, and their wool used to make clothing. Vicuñas have the softest wool in the world, and as all vicuñas are wild and not allowed to be bred or kept in captivity, clothing made from vicuña wool is rare and expensive. This morning we visited Mundo Alpaca, a museum and design house where we learnt about the process of making the wool, from sorting fleeces to ending up with coloured wool ready to make garments with. A local woman demonstrated the process of weaving a blanket, an intricate and time consuming task. Downstairs in the museum there were a number of machines that now take over the processes of spinning and preparing the wool.
The tour ended in the showroom which was full of beautifully soft scarves, jackets and shawls in a varying designs and colours. It was here that you could really feel the difference between vicuña, baby alpaca, and alpaca wool. Miraculously, Dawn left the shop without incurring any expense, as Richard breathed a sigh of relief! However, many Furlongs Travel guests decided to make purchases!
Our next stop was a traditional market selling a huge variety of fruit and vegetables, as well as meat, fish, cheese and some clothing. Interestingly, the roof covering the market was designed by Gustav Eiffel, and this market was recently voted one of the best in Peru.
Following some free time to look around the city, we were treated to a delicious meal at the hotel, in preparation for our early start tomorrow as we head to Puno.