On our way from Juliaca airport to Puno, the main city on Lake Titicaca, we decided to detour to visit the Great Cemetery of Hatum Colla – the Tombs of Sillustani. This is a woman tending to her sheep along the roadside.
We stopped to say hello to a local woman and she let us enter her home to see how she lived. They all build these stone “compounds” that are like a mini walled fortresses of stone which house multiple homes for their family members and animals.
She had about a dozen Alpacas in her yard and it was the first up close and personal encounter we had on our trip with these cute animals.
Everywhere we went in Lake Titicaca, people had these little ceramic stone bulls on their rooftops. They were always in a pair and they are there to bless and protect people’s homes.
I was in LOVE with this woman’s hat. I love how the women can never have too many layers of colorful throws, sweaters and knitted blankets tied around them.
I loved checking out all of the potatoes, herbs and different foods that I have never seen before. All of the women use rocks to grind their food and herbs outside on a stone slab.
Decorations for the outside of their mud-brick home.
This is a glimpse of the “master bedroom” inside of her home.
We constantly had to battle herds of cattle and sheep crossing the road as we were driving. We definitely weren’t in Lima anymore.
This is our first glimpse of the Tombs of Sillustani high up on the hilltops. We were traveling high into the Peruvian hills to the ancient burial ground of Hatum Colla. There lie the remains of the inhabitants and mummified high priests that once called the area around Lake Titicaca home, before being conquered by the Incas.
This little girl was ADORABLE and she had her hands full and seemed to be “on the go” with her lamb always tucked underneath her arm.
One of my favorite photos to take are the ones of women carrying their babies tucked warmly and comfortably in their woven blankets and wool caps that are tied around their necks.
This is a view of one of the cylindrical tombs of Sillustani and just how perfect the stone work was done back then. You can’t even put a piece of paper in between the cracks.
The entire hillside had ruins of stone walls and terraces around the cylinder tombs.
All of a sudden the land just drops off on a sheer cliff overlooking Lake Titicaca, it was our first view of the Lake and it was stunning. I loved the way the puffy clouds were reflected in the water. I don’t recommend this pose for someone who is afraid of heights (ie, my boyfriend Jason)!
Sarah enjoying the breeze and the view. At this point I was REALLY starting to feel the altitude and I was sitting down and trying to breathe after hiking up this hill.
This is an example of a really OLD tomb, predating the large ones with the perfect stonework. The openings of the tombs faced where the sun rises during the Winter Solstice, so the mummified bodies can be “reborn” into the next dimension.
A young couple having a romantic moment on the bluffs overlooking Lake Titicaca.
A woman and her alpaca. She was living in a little hut on the top of the Cliffside.
I love how the women were ALWAYS weaving something. There was never a moment where you would see a woman walking or just sitting without idly weaving a piece of clothing or preparing the wool for weaving.
Sarah petting the baby alpaca.
SO random, it brought up the age-old question of “Why did the Chicken cross the road?” In this case it was to see a hen on the other side:)
A private moment with a woman and her lamb.
All of the buildings were made with mud bricks and this woman just rested in the shade of a doorway. Most people you will find spend their time sitting in their doorways watching the action on the street. I loved all of the different shades of red in this scene.
A little girl shyly peers at me from behind her mother’s skirt.
Our first meeting with Juan, who was taking us into his home for the day.
This is Juan’s home. “Sumaq Wuasi” Means “Casa Linda or Pretty House” in Quechua.
This is a portrait of Juan and his wife Juana in their early twenties.
This is the typical woven hat worn by married women in this region of Llachon.
Sarah trying on the typical dress of a married woman. We soon learned our mistake and had to change the hat she was wearing to signify she was “Soltera”, or single:)
Family portrait with the men of the home.
I LOVED our outfits that we wore. The skirts feel like heavy blankets and are one size fits all. They are actually really comfortable, just thick and heavy. I still don’t understand how they are able to dye their clothing with such neon colors and it is all natural dyes!
I don’t know the reason why they use pom-poms on their hat, but they love decorating their hats and the ends of their braids with brightly colored pom-poms.
Juan preparing the dining room table while Juana cooks in the kitchen.
Juan y Juana…they are SO cute and have three grown children. They love bringing foreign guests into their home to show them how their people live.
Tea Time self-portrait in the traditional Quechua dress.
Tea Time portrait of Sarah in the traditional Quechua dress.
They finally switched my hat to a “soltera” hat made for single women. It looks like a sleeping /stocking cap.
Sarah showing the men that she is very single:)
Juan y Juana posing in the doorway of their house…and local shepherds walking their sheep.
Juana peeking out the doorway of her home.
The “black sheep” of the flock.
Portrait of a lone man looking out on Lake Titicaca.
Juan was determined to take Sarah and I sailing on the Lake.
Juana came down to send us off. Of course she was walking and weaving at the same time.
Juan was rowing until we were ready to set sail. All of the oars and sails were hand carved pieces of wood.
I loved the boats that littered the shores of the lake and all of the grass reeds. We had no idea that the next day we would be sleeping on a floating island made of these same reeds!
Juan took a portrait of Sarah and I on the boat.
Juan finally hoisted the sails made out of silk. They were paper thin.
These are all of the tourist boats that would take us out from Puno to the floating islands the next day….a little bit of foreshadowing.