I travel not to see a particular place. I travel not to count countries and brag about it. 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.
First stop: Uros, a group of man made floating islands.
On Uros, there are no stores. You can’t buy building materials, boats, furniture or toys for the youngsters. But there 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.
Totora is a miracle plant, the best example of sustainable living: free, renewable and definitely clean.
To earn extra money, the locals take tourists on a tour of their islands. A glimpse into a simple, cheap and happy life.
I left the Man made islands for a God made island – the Amantani Island. And God definitely had more time to work on this one. It was far bigger and far sturdier. However, in terms of modern amenities there was no difference. Here too, there was no electricity. Here too, candlelight dinners were the norm. And here too, the menu was set. Potatoes at all meals. For vegetarians, it was paradise. That’s because no meal was boring or tasteless. Not at all. In fact, any chef in the world should be quite envious on the imagination of the ladies of the house. They were able to cook day after day soups, main courses and desserts solely out of potatoes and always tried to add something a bit different. Something like, a different type of potato perhaps? Who would have thought that out of the five thousand potato varieties worldwide, four thousand are growing in Peru? Coming in countless colors, shapes, texture and taste, the Peruvian world of potatoes is a wonder yet to be discovered by the Western world.
Unfortunately, I’ve only spent one night on the island. But that one was memorable. Tucked under heavy blankets, laying on my hard as stone bed, in pitch dark, I witnessed the most terrifying and beautiful storm.
Listening to the symphony of thunders, despite being a world apart from what I was used to, I felt happy and peaceful, just like the old man. I fell asleep thinking to myself la vita e bella – Benigni was right.
Read the whole story in my book, When Dreams are Calling. The book has been featured in travel magazines in Australia and around the world.