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Published: June 25th 2017
Geo: -16.1699, -69.0792
Today's adventure is to cross the island to the south to Yumani then catch a ferry back to Copacabana on the mainland. By 7:45 we were winding our way through Challampa village toward the Inca ruins on the north end. The ticket booth is supposed to charge about $1 but it was not open yet. The reconstructed ruins were larger than I expected. The weather appeared to be turning for the worse and we considered sticking around to take shelter from the wind, sleet and rain in the ruins. Despite the wall of rain in the far distance, we pressed on and upward toward the unprotected rocky ridge. Not much further, in the windblown rain, a older man with glasses walking the other way said we had to buy a $2 ticket to use the trail. We knew this in advance so we paid and went along our way. He seemed unconcerned and said the trail was another 2 hours long. A little further along, but no warmer, we came upon a closed hut with a man standing next to it out of the wind. The rain looked a lot closer but he said there wouldn't be any rain
today. He said the road was about 2 hours more. After warming up a bit, we pressed on. After a while we came to a big banner with "ticket booth" written on it in Spanish. We met another man selling tickets who said the road was another 2 hours further. Along the road was a cottage under construction. It looked designed to house two couples with bedroom views of the lake.
The temperature was rising now and we were able to hike the rest of the way without gloves and a hat. The path was made of rock and well kept, supposedly dating to the Inca times. At the far south of the island is the larger village of Yumani. There seem to be a dozen or more restaurants and another dozen or more accommodations draped along the terraced hillside. We randomly picked one of several "pizza" places at the top. An older man and woman cooked up a fairly tasty pizza for us and lunch was had.
We walked down the hill towards the dock to catch a ferry. By my earlier computations, the first ferry should have left two and a half hours before, so we didn't rush.
Near the bottom we saw a boat preparing to leave. Just about when we got there (12:30pm) it left and we found out it was the first ferry, late of course (10:30am). We bought tickets for the 3:30pm ferry and effectively sat around watching life at the marina. At one point a fairly athletic young South American woman stripped down to a bikini and began swimming in the 55 degree water. I guess that's warmer than I thought it would be.
The ferry eventually showed up and we spent the next two hours dozing on the boat as we slowly trawled back to the mainland. We weren't really in the mood to bus all the way back to the La Paz cemetary in the dark, so we bought tickets for the 9am bus, found a good place to stay ($7 for my own room with bathroom). We had dinner across the street, which wasn't that great, but at least they had wifi so we were able to check email for the first time in a day or two. There was a big thunderstorm that evening, I regret not going up on the roof to watch.
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