Thursday, 27 November 2008

Lake Titicaca (from all angles!)

Next stop was Copacabana (not the Brazilian one unfortunately) but the Bolivian town on the edge of LakeTiticaca - apparently not quite the highest navigable body of water in the world but close at 3800 metres above sea level. The trip up from La Paz is quite interesting as it involves crossing a small channel of water where boats and passengers are separated for the crossing. At first we were a little apprehensive leaving our bags etc on the bus but were glad we hadn´t stayed on the bus when we saw the floating planks that the buses sat precariously on whilst wobbling their way over!
Copacabana itself is not that amazing (apart from the readily available fresh trout). We, like most others here, were using it as a point to reach the Isla Del Sol on the lake (the Inca´s believe that the Sun and Moon were born in the lake - next to Isla Del Sol is Isla De La Luna). We decided to spend a couple of days on the island which was absolutely stunning. For 3 GBP per room per night we stayed in a hostel with the most incredible views and were treated to world class sunsets every night. We also walked the length of the island to see some Inca ruins at the northern end before catching a boat back to the south. We would have been happy to stay on the island for a week or more but, owing to the fact that it´s fairly remote and we couldn´t access any extra funds and also our 30 day limit in Bolivia was about to expire, we sadly had to leave.
So back to Copacabana for a few hours before crossing an amusing and hectic border by bus into Peru (ie, get off the bus passports in hand, walk down a road with donkeys and llamas everywhere and people trying to sell us all sorts including their donkeys and llamas, into a little hut on Bolivian side, back out on to the hectic street across the ´border´, into another little hut on the Peruvian side, jump back on to the bus!).

Next stop was Puno in Peru, another town on the shores of the lake. From here we visited a restored boat on the lake called the Yavari that was bought by the Peruvian Navy in the 1860´s. The boat was actually built in Birmingham and shipped in kit form around Cape Horn to the Chilean coast before being transported by mule across land to the lake! The boat was rescued from ruin in the 1990´s by an English lady who is overseeing it´s restoration. We were given a guided tour by the slightly crazy captain who, upon finding out our Birmingham connections, excitedly referred to us as ´Birmingham´throughout the rest of the tour!
As part of our wedding present from Alek and Jean Kisley (thank you!) we also visited the floating Uros Islands just off Puno which were impressive (the plan had been to stay overnight here but unfortnately you can´t do this, but we´d already eaten out weight in trout dinners on Isla Del Sol which more than made up for it!). The Islands are made from reeds and it´s a weird sensation walking around feeling the floor flex underneath you!
Next stop is Cusco and the Inca Trail.
Keep in touch!

Lots of love
Jo and Al x x

(ps yes, we couldn´t resist purchasing some ´travellers´ head gear!)

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