Published: August 20th 2012August 17th 2012
We are now in La Paz, Bolivia, a city (3660m above sea level) that has surprised us through its location and vibrancy. It is located in a series of valleys and is approached through its twin city of El Alto situated on the plains 400m above. As you travel down into the valley, you are immediately struck by cliff hanging houses rising in levels above the city centre. What is more surprising is when visting the Moon Valley in the south of La Paz, as here you feel as if you could be on the moon with its barren and rocky landscape. Amazingly, houses are build around this unstable landscape.
It was a pleasant change to travel to Bolivia by train and boat rather than flying. A 10 hour train ride found us in Puno (3800m) on the shore of Lake Titicaca Puno s a small, quaint town compared with the bustling Juliaca, the major city we passed through some 45km before arriving in Puno. The train runs through the middle of a very extensive market almost touching the amazing array of stalls which stretch for at least 2km. This is where the towns population does its shopping for food
to motor vehicle spare parts,fridges and rope etc,etc.
The highlight of Puno was a visit to the floating Islands of Uros on Lake Titicaca, just a 20 minute boat ride away. The inhabitants construct these islands from natural materials found in the lake, finishing with a thick layer of reeds that grow naturally in the water. Travel between island communities was by hand crafted reed rafts, a trip we enjoyed to see the nearby school and "supermarket".
A two hour bus trip from Puno found us at the Peru / Bolivia border. After passing through Peruvian immigration, we walked across the border into Bolivia! The next two days were spent sailing on Lake Titicaca in a cataraman visiting sites on Sun Island, believed to be the spiritual home of the Incas. This was a fascinating experience particularly when being rowed by two local fishermen to a site on the island, when the oar broke and there wasn't a spare! We were saved by local ingenuity - a rope from a passing boat used to lash the oar back together. Our treking days were not finished as we spent much of the two days exploring the Sun Island on
foot. The lake and mountain views were stunning from the Inca sites we visited as well from some high points and villages on the island. A blessing from the local 'diety' should ensure our safety for the remainder of our travels.
At this time of our travel, we have been on the highest lake in the world, have seen the highest golf course and soccerfield and are about to fly from the highest airport (with the longest runway). We can feel nothing else but high!