Between knitting needles and potatoes
45 km offshore from the city of Puno you find a very interesting little island. The island is named Taquile, but it’s not just an island, it’s a culture. I have visited Taquile Island twice, and I love this unique place on the Titicaca lake. I will try to let you see some of it’s beauty.
About 2,200 people live on the island which is 5,7 square km. The island is known for several reasons. Something unique is that you can´t find dogs at this island. In Peru you find dogs all over the country except for Taquile. Another thing is that they don’t have cars. But the most important thing is the way they do their handwoven textiles. From the age of five years old the boys learn to make hats. You can see on the hat of a person if he is married or not. When a girl is looking for a husband she always looks at his handcraft products before looking at his physics. If he can’t knit beautifully he is not a good man.
A little curiosity about the culture is that when a boy and a girl are in love and want to marry, they have to live two years together with their parents and after these two years their parents evaluate if this will be a good marriage or not. If the answer is no, they have to leave each other.
While the men knit the women are responsible for the wool. On Taquile Island it is prohibited to be lazy, so they also where working all the time.
Taquile is not a flat island. The Lake Titicaca is 3812 meter above sea level, the main village is at 3950 and the top of the island is 4050 meter above sea level. When you can´t use a car, and you don’t have donkeys to help you, you have to use your own back. The people needed to carry a lot of things from the harbor to their houses.
Peru is a country with a strong economic growth. The cities are growing fast, and sometimes without a good plan. I live in one of the big cities, and for me it is like freedom to come to a place like Taquile Island where you can’t find traffic and without barking dogs. I find the island nice, peaceful and lovely. You can’t be in Puno without visiting this beautiful island.
Most of the houses on Taquile Island don’t have electricity. They have to be self-sustained, and they don’t have fridge or freezer. Because of this they have to fish their own fish and grow their own potatoes. Today the people have income from tourism and they can buy things from the mainland, but until some years ago the island was self-sustained. A big part of the island have terraces from the time of the Inca-Empire and these terraces still help the people make their own food.