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Lucy French’s Travel Diary

Monday, 01 Sep 2008

Location: London, UK

MapI'm currently experiencing culture shock, having arrived in the metropolis of London after experiencing the exquisite timelessness of Peru for the past 2 weeks.

The last couple of days in Peru were spent around Lake Titicaca. The region is very different to the area around Cusco and the Sacred Valley, it seems almost ethereal, and other worldly. It's quite an inaccessible region and there are very few Incan or Andean sites, but there are some truly ancient sites that we visited. But first to the reed islands, which are inhabited by about 1500 local indigenous people. These floating islands do not have any electricity or other resources we take for granted and yet they are a beautiful people and their artwork in particular is quite special. It feels quite strange coming off the boat and standing on a reed island that's about six feet thick, with the entire population living in houses made of reeds. Later we took the speed boat out to an island outside of the bay around Puno, the cloest town to Lake Titicaca. The island looked and felt like somthing out of the Mediterranean. Even the local inhabitants wear a costume that could be Greek. When I asked why this was, I was told that when the Spanish conquered Peru they forced the local natives to wear costumes that were more in keeping with Spain and other regions of the Mediterranean. Crazy eh?

The highlight of the trip to the region was a visit to an ancient site that has only recently been discovered. The locals refer to it as a Star gate, a portal to other worlds. It certainly isn't Incan in its architecture, but far more ancient. I'll upload a photo as soon as I can because it is quite remarkable.

I can't remember whether I mentioned the train ride from Machu Picchu to Puno, but this 10 hour journey was amazing as we travelled over the top of the world at 14,000 feet, watching the timelessness of Peru go by.

I can't believe it, I'm sitting in an internet cafe on Marylebone Road and Baker Street in London and the police cars are screaming by. It seems another world here, and I'm certainly not ready for it. I'm catching up with my sister Maggie tonight, who has lived in London for many years, and I'm really looking forward to it, but on the other hand I can't wait to get out of London to the green countryside of somerset and Devon where my other friends live.

Photos coming soon.......