After our tour, we were driven into Puno, which is good 45 minutes from Sillustani. We checked into the Eco Inn Hotel, which was on the outskirts of town. I purposely chose this hotel because of the location. It was my hopes not to have disco night interruptions on this trip. The hotel was very clean and we had a room with a great view of Lake Titicaca. Also, they served coca tea, which is a good remedy for altitude sickness. It has minimal amount of cocaine in it and the locals either drink the tea or chew on the leaves for energy.
Once settled in the hotel, we ventured into Puno. This is a city built on a hill. Like most Peruvian cities, it has a “Plaza de Armas” square in the center of town. This square is dominated by a cathedral built in the 17th century. We visited the cathedral and it was very dark and spartan, very unlike the cathedrals we have visited in Lima.
For the most part, we just walked around the streets of Puno, visiting the various markets – fruit and vegetable, clothing, hardware, office supplies, etc. All the while, we are still struggling with altitude sickness. At this point, I seemed to be struggling more than David. Rather than walk uphill to the center of town, we took one of the several motor-taxis and cyclos to get around the city in.
Lunch was at a Restaurant International which was recommended in our guide book and has been open for 25 years. So, our “Thanksgiving dinner” was grilled trout and spaghetti with tomato sauce….not your traditional turkey, but still very tasty.
After lunch, we hopped a micros or small van, quite full of people; and had a 30 minute ride to the village of Chucuito, which used to be the one time capital of the whole province. I so enjoyed this quiet, small village compared to the hustle and bustle of Puno. Our main purpose for visiting this village was the Inca Uyo which I had read about in our travel book. Inca Uyo is a walled enclosure next to the Santo Domingo church, one of the two churches located in Chucuito. At first glance, you might think that you are looking at a bunch of mushrooms made out of stone. In reality, they are stone penises, pointing up at the sky – theory has it toward Inti, the Inca sun god. The others that are in the ground, are toward Pachamama, the Inca Mother Earth goddess. Inca Uyo is obviously a fertility temple. It is said that sometimes, even today, that women sneak in and sit on-top of these statues with the hopes of becoming pregnant shortly after. We had a cute little seven year old girl, Rosie, who acted as our guide and showed us around. She pointed out a relief of the lizard and serpent that were also at this fertility temple. Also, she claimed that there was “cosmic energy” if you stood in a couple of special places within the temple. I took her word for it, I didn’t want to do anything that might make me become pregnant!!!!