Published: November 9th 2008October 8th 2008
Finally we decided to leave Peru and head over into Bolivia. Was a pretty tricky decision whether we would come over here or not as theres been a few protests and political disputes but after chatting to other travellers and checking the foreign office website we took the plunge and decided to stick to the westside and avoid the regions of Santa cruz and Beni where most of the troubles seemed to be.
So we took our 'direct' bus (which involved a 2.5hr wait in the cold at 5am for a change of busses - clearly what we thought 'direct' meant!). The departure from Cuzco was pretty ropey because as soon as we left the bus terminal there were just hundreds of people on the side of the road trying to stop the bus and force open the doors in order to hitch a lift. As there was no security on the bus all we could do was look out the window and keep fingers crossed that the doors would hold closed. At one point the crowds managed to prise them open, but luckily for us the traffic lights turned green and the bus driver sped off, in this process
a couple of people were knocked down, but that didn't appear to be a reason to stop the bus so off we went...
We arrived in Copacobana looking forward to the ace hotel we booked (decided it was time for a splurge...) but due to our Amazonian bus adventure we were a day late and unsure if the booking would still work. So we asked the receptionist who did a sterling impression of Little Britian - "comptuter says no". Anyway, found replacement nice hotel (with great showers) and went for a stroll around Lake Titicaca. The trout here is meant to be amazing so we ordered lunch at a cosy romantic restaurant by the shore. All very chilled out and calm until a little girl of about 6 years old came over and asked San in spanish "why are you brown?" to which we replied "because of the sun". She then told San to wear a hat and decided to pull up a chair and join us for lunch. Dang, there goes the quiet, romantic time replaced by a child and her pet dog for the next hour...
The following day we decided to take a hike around
the edge of Lake Titicaca which would lead us to the penninsula. The hike to Yampupata was 17km and every turn was stunning. A new view of the lake, some floating islands, beautiful scenery. Towards the end of the hike we found a local guy in a village with a small motorboat who agreed to take us over to Isla del Sol where we wanted to spend the night. He pointed out where the boats were moored and headed off to get something from his house. While we were waiting a small kid was looking at us and said in Spanish" If you taking a boat you want that one, as this one is full of water". Of course we got in the boat full of water. What else.
After slowly making our way over to Isla del Sol he stopped the boat next to some rocks, far away from the pier or village and told us this is where to get out. We wanted to pay him for the lift but he didn't have any change, so we would have had to lose out on about 30 bolivianos. We searched through our pockets and bags to see if
we could make up the right amount, we were pretty much there, just about 3 bolivianos short (about 15p short) but he refused to take it so Magnus had to hardcore trek round the island to find change... all for 15p. Blimey, maybe we should have just given his the extra 30 and be done with it.
Isla del Sol is a legendary Inca site and as the name suggests is the birthplace of the sun in Inca mythology. We arrived in the south of the island and spend the night here (bargain price of 3 pound for a double room). We did go to a "restaurant" for dinner but when we walked in were told we could either eat pancake or spagetti. Hmmmm, one of each then. Again we were joined by a 6 year old girl who played "here we go round the mulberry bush" and other classics on her cd player over and over and over again. Maybe this is standard in Bolivia - with each meal you get a free small child for entertainment?
The next day we hiked up to the north of the island, again really stunning views across the lake over
to snowcapped mountains behind. Just beautiful. We did get lost a few times, but luckily for us make it to the north just in time for the ferry back to Copacopbana (seriously, we were lucky, there is just one ferry a day and we had no idea what time it left. Still can't believe we just made it!)
There are more photos below