This was our last super leisurely morning for a while. Slowly got up and ready to check out. The checkout seemed to be rather informal and unorganized. And our boat out wasn’t until 12 so we just left our bags in the lobby and decided to walk up the big hill on the island. Right at the gate to start the trail were a small herd of alpacas. We took their pictures and debated how safe it would be to just walk past them. After a few minutes we decided to go for it and just plowed through them. They mostly scattered though one stopped and looked at me, chewing it’s vegetation, and I realized we were the same height and looking face to face. I just moved along and so did it. A little ways up the trail we found another small herd of wild vicuñas grazing on the hill. They were not as cool with us as the alpacas had been. Two of them looked very irritated and stared us down the entire time we were walking past and gave us angry eyes even after we were well past. I still took their pictures. We made it up the hill in about 20 minutes and enjoyed the 360 degree view of the lake. I believe the hotel leads walks up there for sunset viewing every evening, but we never went. It was always too cloudy to be worth it when the view from the main grounds was already very nice.
On our walk back down the hill we didn’t see the vicuñas grazing anymore. I hypothesized they might be napping in the grass and we wouldn’t be able to see them laying down. That turned out to be spot on as we rounded a corner and suddenly 5 of them popped up from the ground and started running away from us making loud hoofed stampede noises on the way. I told them if they were really hiding from predators they might have done better to stay hidden. By the time we got back to the gate the alpacas were gone, probably wandered off in search of better food. We attempted to check out again and were able to settle up this time. This stay was definitely the single most expensive part of our trip, but it was a cool experience.
We walked back down to the pier, saying goodbye to most of the staff on the way, and thanking Martha, the owner, for our stay. On the transfer boat they gave us little bag lunches and bottled water since we would be on the water all through lunch time. The bag contained a pineapple juice box, some kind of orange citrus fruit, a chocolate bar with peanuts, and a very odd sandwich. This sandwich was wrapped in paper and appeared square like a whole sandwich would be. When we opened it, however, we saw it was actually 2 large triangle sandwiches put together and they were each different. They were also both made with 3 pieces of bread and 2 layers of filling. One triangle had bread, a slice of ham, another bread, a slice of cheese, and a final bread. I took off the top bread, gave Eric my ham slice, and ate the cheese sandwich. It was good. The other double decker sandwich was completely unidentifiable. It was some sort of salad like mixture. Definitely not egg, but a toss up if it was a fish or a chicken. I tasted it and it really didn’t taste like chicken so I ate it. It was very good. I told myself it was probably some kind of fish paste and Eric probably told himself it was a chicken paste. In reality it had no distinctive characteristics at all, and made a fine sandwich. I took Eric’s piece of fruit and his peanut filled chocolate to keep in my purse for later since he wouldn’t eat them anyway.
The ride back to Puno took 2 hours and 45 minutes and was significantly smoother than the choppy waters we had on the way out. When we got to the port we picked up our luggage and walked a ways up to the street where we could get a taxi. Our guide was sweet enough to help us find one and check the price before we agreed. The taxi took us back to the same hotel in town where we had arrived at the lake and we spent some time reorganizing ourselves and deciding what to do with the late afternoon.
I had broken the only hair clip I brought with me right before we went to the island. So I went to the front desk and asked her if there was anywhere nearby that might sell something similar. She pointed us down the main drag where we had eaten dinner a few days earlier and sure enough I found a shop called Glitter that was basically a tiny Claire’s. I bought two hair clips similar to the one I broke and went away very happy. The altitude was sort of killing my appetite though. I felt hunger but really didn’t want any food. We wandered around a long time trying to see if there was a market where we could buy a few small things, but there wasn’t any within a couple block radius. We noticed there was a plethora of pizza places and thought maybe getting a small pizza to take back to the hotel would be a good solution. We picked a place down a small side street that had some people inside already and ordered a small cheese pizza which we brought back to eat when we felt like it.
I took a shower again in what was still my most favorite shower during the trip so far. This hotel may not look like much with its tiny urban street front and space heater room, but goodness did they have the best shower. I ate my pizza slices, and crawled into bed at a crazy early time. We were just kind of tired and were facing the schedule of early morning wake ups again.