And great island paradise

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South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » Copacabana
February 10th 2013
Published: June 21st 2017
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Geo: -16.1699, -69.0792

After a 2 hour bus ride we got on a hydrofoil to cross Lake Titicaca, the highest, navigable Lake in the world at 12,500 ft. The air was very pure, wind was chilly and the sun was incredibly strong, but visibility grew to be fantastic, with snow-covered Andes looming in the distance and calm, clear water. The Bolivian Captain was incongruously dressed in his Naval Uniform and blasted hs horn when he passed the still maintained naval base - all part of the rituals to express Bolivian outrage that they had their coastal access
'stolen' from them by Chile in the Pacific War (1947)
Our first stop was Copocabana { named before the Rio beach), which was mainly a tourist town with the centre of interest being the Cathedral, built by the Spniards on the site of an Inca temple and influenced by Seville's moorish roots. In front of of the market stalls selling flowers and good luck amulets were cars and lorries queuing up, being decorated with all this and then blessed with holy water by priests. This happens several times a day and people seriously believe that this blessing will keep them safe and the car on the road, despite the hige numbers of road accidents being evidence to the contrary. The stalls sell models of cars, exam certificates, baby dolls, a mini suitcase packed with passport and visas for travel - anything that will hepl your dreams come true.
Our next stop was Sun Island, where we were to stay the night in a magical hotel that looked like a primitive red roofed French farm house with familiar flowers - geraniums, Dalihas, Gladiloli and sets of steps leading to rooms. But we and our luggage first had to ascend the steep path for half a mile beginning with a huge flight of steps. We took these slowly although I could feel my heart pounding with the exertion and Peter was rewarded for his efforts by a ride on a mule. Then the bags were piled onto the backs of donkeys, which seemed much more adept at climbing.
We met an interesting young Chilean couple, both lawyers, over lunch and an English couple over supper. We lounged around in the sun in the afternoon and I walked up to the ridge to see the sunset, passing rowa of cheap hostels, not nearly as nice as our hotel. It poured with rain over night, but we had electric blankets and a heater and amazingly hot water in the morning. This was a real island paradise.
We left the next day downthe Inca steps, passed the fountain of eternal youth to lunch -a tasty Lake trout- and departure back to Copacabana and on to the border to enter Peru. Marcello handed us over to another guide and driver. He had looked after us well and explained a lot about Lake Titicaca.

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