Alan's Assorted Travels
Sucre. The rest of our time in Sucre was spent in lazy relaxation. It was a great little city to do this in and was probably my favourite in Bolivia. We walked up to the cemetery on the hill on our last day there which reminded me of the one in Recoleta, Buenos Aires but with a lot more greenery and much more space between the mausoleums. There were also apartment style blocks for those who couldn´t afford their own separate family plots. La Paz. That evening we taxied our way to the bus terminal for our bus to La Paz. It was to be a 12-18 hour journey (Bolivian roads are unpredictable) in a semi-cama bus (standard type seats for the rest of the world, flash for Bolivia). Surprisingly the ride was very comfortable and I even managed to get a decent night´s sleep before our (early) arrival in La Paz at around 7am. The first glimpse of the city was unimpressive to say the least. The city seemed to be built entirely of plain brick down the sides of a valley. It does however have a certain charm to it which I discovered over the next couple of days. Looking at the map it wasn´t too far to the hostel so we shouldered packs and hoofed it the twelve or so blocks from the bus station. After some confusion we ended up in Wild Rover, apparently Bolivia´s best hostel according to all the awards displayed in the reception. After checking in we went out for a bit of a walk and some lunch. Now I´m a little ashamed of my eating in La Paz, it was not very adventurous. The first lunch was Burger King, that dinner was (bad) Indian and the next day both meals were from the hostel, including a very good sunday roast chicken. I guess it had just been too long. After the BK lunch we went for a wander and ended up in the Witches Market. This was an area full of nifty craft stalls and the place where you could find some truly strange things. Love potions, charms and dried llama foetuses were all available alongside the usual woolen tourist clothes, tablecloths and cheap jewelery. Moving on from the Witches Market we came to an area full of cheap knock off western goods. Honda bike jackets, Gucci belts, Lacoste wallets and endless displays of sunglasses were just a few of the things available there (all terrible quality of course). We walked through various markets for several hours until we found our way back to one for the main squares in La Paz only a few blocks from the hostel. The next day was not very eventful though I did manage to pick up the cool llama jersey I had my eye on the day before and have a bit more of a walk around the city. Despite the efforts of some of the new friends we´d made the night before we decided to stay in and have a quiet one. Copacabana. The 7:00am start the next day was much easier due to our restraint and by 8:00 we were on the bus on our way to Copacabana on Lake Titicaca. La Paz was an amazing crazy city with some unique experiences that I could definitely come back to but at the same time I was glad to be moving on. The bus to Copa was a relaxed three or so hours, half of which was along the shores Lake Titicaca or its southern lagoon. At one point we had to get a ferry across a stretch of lake in order to avoid a long detour into Peru. Copacabana is a fairly touristy town but it does have some nice elements and the lake is beautiful. The first night here we climbed one of the 3900m peaks around the town where we watched the sunset over the lake. Lunch that day was very respectable as well. Soup, salad and fresh trout from the lake for about NZ$3. On our second day here we took a boat out to the Isla de Sol, once one of the Inca´s most important religious sites. On the trip out there we passed some of the traditional fishing craft with the triangular sail. The island itself was still covered with old inca terraced fields that have fallen into disuse since the fall of the old empire. We were clearly getting into the real inca lands. On landing we were promptly charged 10 bolivanos to go up the hill to the old inca ruins. This was well worth it as the ruins were amazing. I could walk (hunched over a bit) through an old temple complex of some kind. The walk across the island was not so great as twice more we were accosted and told we needed another ticket for the next part of the island, which was a good walk but didn´t have much else and we needed to pay to get to the boat landing. Leaving me with a slightly bitter taste due to the lack of warning we got to the landing for our trip back to Copa. Here we booked our bus to Arequipa in Peru for tomorrow morning and feeling like I should get onto the blog I dragged myself to an Internet cafe for a final Bolivia update.