We only had one day rest in La Paz before we were catching the bus to Lake Titicaca. We did some more wandering and posted two packages of present's home. We nearly fainted when the Correos (post office) lady told us that two, reasonably small packages would set us back a mere £70! Those of you lucky enough to get something had better appreciate it, if the package makes it of course. We found an Indian in La Paz, which is something we have been craving since leaving the UK, it did not disappoint and James had the speciality, llama curry.
The next day we got a bus for a short four hours to Copacabana where we were met with crowds of Bolivians and Peruvians who were celebrating the start of independence week. The people at the hostel gave us lots of reminders to be careful with our belongings around this time of year. I found a yellow flower and put it in Lake Titicaca to remember. James had spotted a big hill that looked as if it would have some good views so we took a steep stroll to the top. It turned out that this was an area for pilgrims and there were thousands of South Americans praying and leaving candles, model cars and houses for the Virgin of Copacabana. We felt a bit intrusive but impressed with the old and slightly overweight people who had made it to the top. On our way to another, less crowded hill we saw three European walkers with the full hiking gear on, it was so embarrassing, there were women with children on their backs and no shoes making less of a fuss! We enjoyed the sunset from the peace of the other hill, away from firecrackers and the smashing of alcohol bottles that was part of the celebrations. In the morning we had the greatest breakfast we have had in Bolivia so far and walked to the jetty with our small backpacks to catch the boat.
The next two days were to be spent on Isla del Sol. We got the slow boat across and chatted to a nice couple from Wales. The lake is beautiful but you can appreciate its glory when you are on the Island, the views are breath taking. All around you there is the sparkle of bright blue glistening in the sun, small islands only a few 100 metres away and in the distance you can see snow-capped mountains. At every point we were stopping to take pictures and admire how beautiful the scenery was. We got talking to two girls, one from Barcelona (yes Chris we told them how much you LOVE Barca!) and the other from Buenos Aires. They took some great pictures of us on their posh cameras but at one point a few policeman had decided to stop everyone from going to the Inca ruins unless they showed their passports, we had left ours at the hostel so snuck through. The girls had to head back to the boat and we never saw them again! The Inca ruins were pretty impressive it was like a little maze. I did struggle to fit through the doorways, I thought modern Bolivians are small, Incas were tiny (Dad you are going to be a GIANT in Peru). After a short chat with the Welsh, they left for the South and we went to a gorgeous secluded beach. There was a little jetty and James showed me how skilful he is at skimming stones. We chilled out for a bit, taking some silly photos and enjoying the warmish sun. We wandered back and rested on the main beach where we watched a group of boys playing in the water and practicing handstands. When the sun was going in we went to the hostel to wrap up warm, it gets freezing at night due to the altitude. We found a shack that was serving food and ordered the trout, a Lake Titicaca speciality. The only drink they served was red wine so of course we had a bottle. The fish was great and the wine was OK.
I was rudely awoken to the sound of a very loud Donkey (Burro) and then a 10 year old girl knocking on the door 'Disculpa, disculpa'. Eventually we got up and she was at the door again, asking whether we wanted an American or Continental breakfast. We said 'one of each, please' and got exactly the same. However, it included egg which is always a treat in Bolivia so we started our walk to the South full and happy. The walk to the Inca ruins were even more pleasant in the morning as there wasn't another person in sight. We couldn't believe we had the whole of Isla do Sol to ourselves! We weren't alone for long; with Mr Dog Whisperer around it was only a matter of time before we picked up another furry friend. This one was called Denise and she followed us for about three hours on our walk down the Island. The views along the ridge were just as amazing, I don't think we would ever get bored of the views here. I did have a worrying 'episode' at just over half way where my arm got pins and needles and then it spread to one side of my face! No idea what it was but I was fine after an apple, reassurance from James and a short rest.
Our hostel in the South had the most amazing views across the lake so we sat on the balcony for a while and then walked down the steep hill to see where to catch the boat in the morning. We went out for tea to a pizzeria, as there are more per capita here than in Rome! We were served by an 8 year old girl and a 7 year old boy, they were very sweet but it felt wrong that they were giving us beer.
The next two days we were back in Copacabana, and due to the Independence week we had to move hostels each night. One of the hostels housed a delicious restaurant which we went to both evenings and James, having seen it the previous night, had a lovely lasagne and I had stuffed trout with mash potatoes and vegetables in a garlic and tomato sauce, yummy yum yum. We didn't do much else in Copacabana as the hostel prices had shot up, we didn't want to stretch the budget. We did walk around the stalls that the Bolivians had put out for the festival and saw our first Guinea Pig! You had to bet which numbered cardboard box it would scurry into, no doubt we'll see more of that in Peru. The festival got a bit crazy as people were blessing their cars and setting off more firecrackers. On the night of the 5th was when it all kicked off and we could hear fireworks, firecrackers and music until gone 3am, and we were near the top of the hill!
Lake Titicaca is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. We are so pleased we get to see the Peruvian side in 2 months and enjoy it with the Mansfield folks!