For our trip to Amantani Island in Lake Titicaca, we had one of our dear friends, Morgan travel with us. This story is from her perspective about our time on the Island and all the hassles getting there.

The clock struck 10:01, exactly one minute past our scheduled bus departure. It was a historic moment, confetti rained, trumpets blared, our hearts beat swiftly, and our breath came in gasps as we ran through the Cusco bus station trying desperately to catch the bus as it pulled out of the station; the first ever Peruvian bus to leave on time. With remarkable luck, we just made the bus. For the 10 hours that followed, I fail as a narrator; out of necessity, I have completely forgotten the most cramped and sticky bus ride of my life.

Memory comes back after we arrived in Puno when I recall suddenly appearing in front of Incas Rest, the hostel we stayed at for the night. It had a fantastic rooftop garden and all sorts of quirky hangout spots that we utterly failed to take advantage of, preferring a much-needed nap after the harrowing journey.

The next day we immediately set off to explore the lake.
Lake Titicaca is the largest navigatable lake in the world. It stretches for 8,372 square kilometers and holds within its depth ruins of discarded floating islands and hundreds of lost tourist hats.

With a locally run tour company, we chartered a multi-day trip to several islands for $10 USD per person. The first stop was a floating island that despite its Disney land vibe was quite enjoyable. We learned about the history of floating islands and the process required to construct them. A well-made island will last for up to 30 years and house around three families.

If you creep right up to the edge, you can see the water gently rocking the island. Below the water tall reeds wave in the currents while small flags of algae suggest vibrant life hidden in the deep lake.

After a brief visit to the floating island, we enjoyed a three-hour boat ride filled with napping and reading and more napping (plus lots of snacks). Finally, we arrived at Amantani Island. Amantani Island has about 4,000 residents, at least five donkeys, two small towns, and one big sunset.

We stayed with Aurelia, a kind-hearted woman and an immensely skillful cook. She told us the story of her life and her daughter showed us all over the island. Well, she showed Danielle and Oscar, I opted for lazy time. Amanti Island is famous for its temples, its views and its pastoral way of life, but what it should be known for is a magic phenomenon: every place you sit on the island is a damn good spot to read a book.

Aurelia’s house was situated on a lovely spot in the middle of two quinoa fields that overlooked the endless blue lake. As we lounged on springy grass, the shrieks of little girls splashing on the shore were carried by the wind and swept through tall eucalyptus trees that grew on the rocky bank. The peaceful sounds of a quiet life gently met our ears, occasionally pierced by a fit of braying from an agitated donkey.

For two days we read and ate and walked and slept. It was a time of complete serenity filled with continual awe at the beauty that surrounded us. Our host provided us with a cooking lesson, which was just free labor chopping veggies on our part, but we had a great time taking pictures and gulping down Muna tea.

If there were one flavor that would encapsulate this entire adventure, it would be Muna. The herb grows wild in the mountainous regions of Peru; locals use it as tea, and it brews into a heady mint flavor with warm hints of vanilla. My life’s greatest discovery was the addition of Muna to hot chocolate. I still dream of that perfect cup of coco our hostess made on our last night.

After two full days, our idle island adventure had to end. There are no showers on Amantani island, so absconding to the island is quite impractical.

On our final morning, the tour boat picked us up, and we continued our journey to another Disneyland island. A so-called “Unesco world heritage site” for weaving, we were very excited to watch the process take place. In the end, we were disappointed; there was no actual weaving, just mounds of finished products with steeply marked up prices.

Coming back to the “real world” just made the memory of Amanti, with its peaceful shores and kind people all the sweeter. Whenever I look out my garden window at home, at my beautiful, illegally transported Muna plants, I will always remember the Island, the excellent food, and all the terrific spots to read.

The breeze carried with sounds of children splashing in the little waves that kissed at ankles with a biting tongue and polished rocks to never ending collectability

Some islands have magic in their bones. Mermaids, fairies and the occasional miracle. The magic of our island is that every spot you sit is a damn good place to read.

On our patch of grass, claimed by foreigners (I never considered the implications of imperialism) we lounged and slept and laughed and watched slowly as a bee flew by.

Searching among the many blooms for his lost ladylove, or perhaps he himself was lost and found all at once. The bee thought us lazy. Did not consider the at all our assumptions

The sunset was cold fire. With a passion of performance it the sky in streaks of electricity and slowly burned up the world while my hands froze into stillness.

You walked for ages to find eternal youth, and brought it back in plastic bottles for me to share. I appreciated it. Although it made you late for collecting stones

We held the round ones in our palms and valued the weight, till we threw them across the water and wove them with string to our hearts where it hung heavy and serious, till it broke

I dare you, like children we jumped then climbing clinging to the hot Plexiglas like lizards on a rock. The sun burned me just a bit, but it was my fault for being topless.

Too soon they asked for us to climb down, back to the mainland, our only solace excellent bread from the lady on the corner. Which you can’t even eat, but that we enjoyed.

At the bus station we were overburdened with audios and extra large princess bags. But in these words is our island; in your hearts is our peace.