Carol Vorvain

Paradise Found: Titicaca Lake

 I travel not to see a particular place. I travel because I love change, diversity, people and because when I travel I feel life is beautiful. I travel for the sake of travelling.
So, if you are like me, a citizen of the world, join me in a glimpse over the Titicaca Lake, a 3 million years old lake in Peru sitting 3,810 m above sea level: a gate to remote, unspoiled and serene Peruvian islands.
Our first stop was Uros, a group of man made floating islands.

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On Uros, there are no stores to buy boats, building materials, furniture or toys for the youngsters. The one and only source is the lake where the totora reeds grow abundantly and people make everything they need out of it, including the islands themselves. Even the tender stems are used, this time in salads. In my eyes, it looks like a miracle plant, the best example of sustainable living: free, renewable and definitely clean. To top things up, the inhabitants earn extra money by taking tourists on a tour of their islands: a paradise of simple, cheap and happy life. A living proof of that was a 95 years old man still rowing a boat for around 8 people. On his face you could see everything that most people look for and do not easily find in nowadays society: peace. He belonged to the place in the same way the place belonged to him.

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I left the Man made islands to go to a God made island – the Amantani Island. God definitely had more time to work on it as it was far bigger and far sturdier. However, in terms of modern amenities there was not too much difference and the lack of electricity was one of the highlights. Here, a romantic dinner surrounded by candlelight was the norm. For vegetarians, it was a paradise, as all the meals seemed to be made out of potatoes. But do not worry, they were not by far boring or tasteless and I bet that any chef in the world would be quite envious on the imagination of the ladies of the house when cooking day after day soups, main courses and desserts out of potatoes. Who would have thought that out of the five thousand potato varieties worldwide, four thousand are growing in Peru and come in countless colors and shapes.
During my one and only night on this island I have experienced the most terrifying and beautiful storm. In the pitch dark, I was laying on my hard as stone bed, still shivering despite the weight of the blankets, listening to the symphony of thunders. I was a world apart from what I was used to.

However, I was so happy and peaceful, just like the old man. I fell asleep thinking to myself la vita e bella – Benigni was, after all, right.

You can read more on my adventures in Australia in my book, When Dreams are Calling. The book has been featured in numerous travel magazines in Australia and around the world.

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