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The Lake of The Sun

and beautiful to boot!

sunny

It took about 3 hours to get to Copacabana, the town which sits on the Bolivian side of Lake Titicaca. The weather had been crazy as we left La Paz and in some places there'd been quite a bit of snow, although we hadn't seen any anywhere else in the city.
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Perhaps some residents had had a White Christmas. On the way we'd also had to cross a small estuary and we'd gone on a different boat from our mini bus which had bobbed along on a tiny vessel. I had several visions of it sinking, which of course it didn't.
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Copacabana is smallish town but it has a lot of hostels, and when we arrived we began to search through them trying to find the best deal. Some asked too much money, many didn't have the rooms we needed but finally we found the perfect one. It was right by the lake so had great views and it was dirt cheap as well, only £1.75 per person. After we'd settled in we had a little walk up to the Church which reminded us all more of a Asian temple or mosque. Inside there was a little statue of the Virgin of Candelaria also known as the Dark Virgin of the Lake, one of the patron saints of Bolivia.
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We then walked back down to the lake and went along the front where there were plenty of people about enjoying the last rays of Sunday sun.
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A lot of kids were on bicycles which we then realised were for hire and there were some little llamas you could pet for a fee of course.
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Some of the kids found us interesting including one girl who posed for a photo.
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Then it was back to the hostel where we had a bit of a rest before heading out to watch the sunset which was really lovely, all of the ones we saw at the lake were. The light just seemed to have a magical, pure quality about it.
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For dinner we went for the obvious and delicious choice of a whole trout from one of the little shacks by the lake which they can prepare in a number of different ways.
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Lake Titicaca was sacred to the Incas and remains a pilgrimage destination for many. In particular people come to visit an island which sits in the lake, Isla del Sol. It is the site of the main Inca creation myth. We wanted to go to the island and spend at least one night there but we decided to spend a day in Copacabana first. It was a pretty quiet day really, neither Adam or I was feeling our best. Something about the food since entering Bolivia wasn't sitting quite right with us. We rented a paddle boat for 45 minutes and we took it in turns as only two could cycle at one time.
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It was a relaxing way to spend some time and it was nice to be out on the water.
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We then returned to the hostel and stayed there for most of the rest of the day. Adam didn't even feel up to eating and so I went out with Yuri for a quick bite but it felt weird being out without Adam so I went back pretty sharpish. In the evening Adam couldn't face the thought of trout so we found a restaurant where we could share a pizza and Yuri could still get cheap fish. Then it was early to bed as the boat to Isla del Sol left at 8:30am the following morning.

We had the choice of either going to the South or North of the island. Having heard the North was quieter and more picturesque we decided to go there. Most of the people on the boat were just visiting the island for the day and we would be walking North to South along a well laid out path which takes you past some Inca ruins and then down the spine of this steeply hilled island. Once off the boat we quickly found some good, basic accommodation. We then took in our surroundings which were truly lovely, the tranquillity of the place was instantly soothing.
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The little village we found ourselves in was set next to a small bay which was hugged on either side by hills. There were pigs wandering about and several donkeys which we went up to inspect and I of course had to pet them a bit.
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One was having a bit of a paddy because he was tied up too tight and couldn't munch on any grass so I hand fed him for a little while. Then a lady bought him a bowl of food and I hoped I hadn't interfered.
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We had a bite to eat at a little restaurant and then in the afternoon parted company. Yuri went off to explore some of the hills and we headed in the direction of the ruins. The walk there was really pretty as it climbed up and then skirted along the lake from above. The sun had really come out and the water was a rich, dark blue in its deepest parts and lighter in the shallows.
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It looked more like the ocean than a lake, and it is called an inland sea by some. Just before we reached the ruins there was a little baby donkey running about the place making a racket.
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It was really, really cute and we spent a bit of time trying to coax it near but it was too skittish. The ruins themselves were quite interesting, all the narrow passageways and tiny little doors.
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You can't help but imagine what it would have been like and the people that would have inhabited these rooms. It was however the setting which made it for me, and we had to take time to sit down and gaze at the landscape for a while.
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I also needed a bit of rest before we headed back. I was still getting out of breath very easily because of the altitude, Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world and with the island being quite hilly I was finding it hard work.
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We decided to walk back a different way along the route from North to South which was also lovely the only downside being the descent back into the town was pretty steep. In the first place we'd walked too far and missed the turn off which didn't appear to be marked in any way. We therefore had to pick our way down the steep hillside and then over some rocks before finally zig zagging into the village. My knees were a little sore by the end which scared me a bit and I decided I would be taking it easy for the rest of the day. When we got back to the room Adam and I dropped off to sleep for a bit until Yuri's return woke us. He had also been to the ruins but returned the same way.

Over dinner that evening we all discussed what we planned to do next. After the walk that day I didn't think I wanted to walk to the other end of the island but instead we would take the boat back the following day, spend one night in Copacabana and then move on to Arequipa in Peru on New Years Eve. Yuri planned to do the walk but also return to Copacabana that day, probably on the same boat as us as it would call in at the South, then spend one more night with us before going on to Puno the town on the Peruvian side of the lake where his Dad's old work colleague lived. With plans decided upon we ate up yet more fish, had a beer and then went back to the room where we shared a bottle of wine we'd brought with us.

The following morning we ate breakfast together before saying goodbye to Yuri as he went off on his walk. Adam and I then had a quiet time in the little village, I went out to visit the donkeys again and Adam climbed one of the nearby hills. Soon enough the boat arrived and we were headed back towards the mainland. We stopped at the southern town where we met up with Yuri who had enjoyed his walk, although he looked tired from the exertion. We all boarded the boat once more and apart from one little side trip to see a pretty cheesy replica of a traditional floating island it was an uneventful journey back. We thankfully got rooms at the same hostel as before and then headed out to tie up some loose ends. First order of business was to buy bus tickets for the following morning and we'd all initially be on the same one as we would have to change in Puno. Then conscious that it was New Years Eve, Adam and I went to an internet cafe to book some accommodation in Arequipa. Which took a soul destroying amount of time as the internet was so painfully slow. Thankful that those tasks were completed we returned to hostel just in time to see yet another beautiful sunset.
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Then it was back to the shacks for a fish supper and couple of beers to celebrate the little bit of travelling we had done with Yuri. We would be treading a pretty similar path in Peru though and we all had a feeling we'd see each other again.

More Soon,

Laura & Adam

Posted by LauHot10 17:56 Archived in Bolivia Tagged round_the_world

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