Well I made it to dawn! I had an internal struggle with my conscious (while cosily pinned down under 6 layers of bedding that weigh enough to trap the less than fully able-bodied) which I lost, so I got up!
Turns out it's not that cold and after a short but breathless clamber up a few terraces I find a path to the summit. It is pitch black at 05.55, but a merest hint of dawn arrives soon and within 35 minutes it's light and the warmth of the day to come is perceptible. There's a certain perceptible smugness at breakfast too, according to some, but I can't see it myself!
We retraced our steps back to the dock in order to return to La Paz via Copacabana on the eve of Independence Day, chugging back across Lake Titicaca on a fully laden boat that would raise the eyebrows of many a plimsoll line inspector!
We finished lunch (paying in dollars due to the queue for the ATMs in downtown Copacabana, at a barely disadvantageous rate) and strolled to where we had been dropped off 3 days earlier to find a sea of buses of all sizes, shapes, colours and roadworthiness, but not a vicuña tour bus in sight!
All of a sudden we are led 200 yards up the main drag out of Copacabana, shown a steep incline with a moving bus at the top and told to run and pay 130 bolivianos for the privilege. Sarah refused to run, I refused to pay and after some harrumphing and a couple of terse phone called we boarded the bus to La Paz.
I shall see to it personally vicuña tours are marked down on trip advisor for this ineptitude.
The return to La Paz through El Alto is simply astonishing! The road that is but 2 lanes wide swells at the only traffic lights to have 9 streams of traffic in 3 different directions interleaved with each other. The cause of this mayhem is the closure of one lane of the road for an independence march!
After 15 minutes of understandable standstill, the coach driver has a moment of inspiration and throws a U-turn!
The maniac! I am astonished by his audacity, but somehow he pulls it off and the coach barrels along El Alto backstreets, rejoining the main drag after the end of the march for the descent into La Paz.
After the hotel-hopping of the outward journey, we are hugely relieved to be dropped off at our hotel first and check into the suite we left previously in time for a handsome meal downtown at La Casona having unexpectedly purchased a hundred quid plus worth's of alpaca jumpers for Jude and Alfie en route!