We took the short, 4 hour, drive from La Paz to Copacobana and the beautiful Lake Titicaca. Our crew did not have much good to say about Copacobana so we were pleasantly suprised to find a very nice little town with freindly people. The food was excellent and cheap too as long as you like trout! you can have trout with whatever you want and most of the resteraunts have at least 20 different trout dishes (no trout in alomnds though Dad- a niche for you perhaps!)
In the afternoon we visited the amazing church with a gold altar from floor to ceiling truely amazing and the climbed the rock/ hill/ mountain above the town to look at the view. Thankfully there were the 14 stations of the cross to stop at as we climbed as at 4000M it was hard going, however once at the top we had fantastic views of the lake and the town below (see photos) we just sat there and relaxed for over an hour in awe.
The following day we went out to the Isle de Sol on Lake Titicaca to visit some Inca ruins and to do an 11km walk from one end of the island to the other. We viewed this as excellent training for the Inca trail and enjoyed a good bit of excersize, however some of the group struggled so I am not sure how they will find the climb to Maccu Piccu!
Next we drove into Peru to the port of Puno on the other side of Lake Titicaca to visit the reed islands (islands made out of reeds- obvious I know but I did not get it at first!). In the 1500`s Puno was taken over and many of the people decided that they did not want to live under a brutal regime in Puno so they built floating Islands on the lake out of reeds! There are still 42 islands today with approx 1,200 people living on them. We were transported to the boat in peddled tuc tuc`s which clearly become a race as soon as we got under way as we goaded our drive to go as fast as he could peddle. However after a couple of sharp corners our rather crest fallen driver had to pull over as we had a flat tire, after a quick pit stop we finally we got there, last, and set off for a good trip to 2 of these islands.
It was pure tourist city and whilst our guide told us about the poeple etc the markets were set up behind us as they did their best to sell us all sorts of stuff. The jury is out on whether this was a good trip, it was certainly good to learn about these amazingly hardy people (it goes to -20 in the winter with 3M waves and everything is made from reeds!), however it did seem a bit tacky and an opportunity to trap you on an island and sell you stuff! You can`t blame them.
We soon got back to the hotel and were freezing cold so we were praying for hot water, a luxury in these parts! As soon as I got into the room I checked for hot water and was so suprised to find some I jumped straight in. After about 30 seconds I noticed the smell of petrol and the water was brown!!! As my skin started to burn I got out only to have a freezing shower to get the stuff off! This seemed to be the same in all the rooms so I decided to point this out in my near fluent Spanish to the owner of the hotel. Her reply was... "It`s only petrol in the water tank!" and she seemed to think that this was not a propblem at all! In my long list of shower stories, that I now have and will nt bore you with, this has gone straight in at number 1, lucky I am not a smoker!!!
Anyway that is enough for now, we have just arrived in Cusco and start the Ince trail on Monday which is very exciting. So if we survive it we will be back on the blog in a week or so.
I hope that you are all well, keep your messages coming. All the best