Hola, Shelly writing today.
After La Paz, our next stop was Copacabana, on the shores of Lake Titicaca. This lake is massive, the biggest in South America, and is roughly half owned by Bolivia, half by Peru. I have no idea how they know exactly where Bolivia ends and Peru begins but I bet they have fishing disputes like Guernsey does with France...
Arriving in Copacabana, the sun was shining, the scenery was beautiful, the lake was all sparkly, and we just knew we we were going to like it here.
I managed to get my best photos here of local ladies in typical dress. We have been trying since we arrived in Bolivia but its like a covert operation. The local ladies dont like having their picture taken and they arent afraid of letting you know. Here, they are the head of the family, the main breadwinner and they are not to be messed with. And they have eyes in the back of their head. One guy we met told us how he tried taking a discreet photo of a lady at the market, but she saw him, and threw a pineapple at his head. He still had the scratches to prove it. So im very proud of my photos because I remain uninjured.
Our hostal was so cute, up a hill with great views of the lake.Its warm in the day and freezing at night, but the hostal had heating and hot water bottles so I survived. The Wi-Fi was slow as usual. Bolivia is really not the place to be writing a travel blog and we nearly gave up on the blog completely out of sheer frustration at spending hours trying to upload our photos.
The centre of Copacabana is quite touristy but one day we walked for miles, passing little villages and ended up in a remote village basically untouched by tourism, then got a lift back in a van with the locals. We also got burned to a crisp that day.
The highlight though, by far, was visiting Isla del Sol, the small neighbouring island. I was actually blown away by how beautiful this island is. No cars, so many Inca ruins, amazing scenery. We arrived by boat in the south of the island, found ourselves a basic hostel but with the most amazing views, then walked to the highest point of the island to watch the sunset. We could see snowy mountains and the coast of Peru, it was amazing , and the photos dont do the view justice.
On the way back we stopped at a small family run restaurant, and had an amazing 3 course meal including freshly caught trout from the lake and a bottle of wine (which the owner ran to the little shop next door to buy), all for a tenner. The owner and his family still speak Aymara, the indigenous language before the Spanish invasion. We have learnt that many South American people have obviously adopted the Spanish language, but still speak their native language within their family and community.
On the way back from the restaurant, it was dark, there is no lighting, we got a bit lost in the forest! Trying to get home, it was funny as we were tipsy/drunk but scary as we didn't know if there were any wild animals around we should worry about . There are snakes on this island. But we made it in the end, in one piece. Freezing.
The next day we got up early to walk to the north of the island and visited all the ancient ruins. Our guide ...was a dog. This stray dog took it upon himself to escort us the whole way, for 4 hours, he was so cute, we just wanted to take him home with us. The walk there was amazing. Uuntouched landscape, lots of llamas and alpacas, not even any bins spoiling the landscape.
We returned by boat to Copacabana for another night and we bumped into the girls from our salt flats tour for THE THIRD TIME during our travels in Bolivia. In a country as big as France and Spain put together how is this even possible? ??
Next day we left Copacabana by bus and less than half hour later we had crossed the border into Peru. Another easy border crossing with no hassles. I dont want to get complacent. But the border crossings so far have been really easy! We are planning on crossing the border into Colombia via the Amazon River later on in the trip. Maybe I wont be so smug then.
Anyway we continue by bus and about 10 hours later, we arrive in Cusco. This charming city is a World Heritage Site, filled with historical buildings and lined with cobble stone streets. We were busy planning a 4 day tour to Machu Pichu but we managed to squeeze in sight seeing and a free walking tour, which was funny. Rather than showing us the historical buildings etc, the crazy tour guide showed us round his mates' restaurants and bars, promoting happy hours etc. We even visited a sushi cafe; how Peruvian is that? ?? But we got to try lots of food and drink for free. Bargain.
We are very excited about our upcoming tour to Machu Pichu and hope to report back on what we hope will be an activity packed 4 days....