After a night’s rest following our Inca Trail achievement, we set off on an early morning tourist bus to Puno that visited some “slightly” less impressive Inca ruins en route. We immediately realise we should have taken the direct bus and the “fascinating” detours which include a church, museum and a half built mud house fail to top Machu Picchu somewhat. Cat unfortunately missed these delightful interruptions to our journey due to the fact that she was quite ill and was somehow managing to be sick silently into numerous plastic bags (all but one of which had no holes in!). After 10 long hours we arrive in Puno and catch our first glimpse of the lake. Puno itself is no idyllic lakeside setting, but the sheer size of the lake makes an impressive vista.
That night my immune system gives in and I get what Cat had all day, but this time it’s man flu and much worse of course!! After a rather interrupted nights sleep I wake up absolutely drained and can not leave the hostel. The name of the town, Pu-no, now seems quite ironic considering what has just passed. We spend a day in bed recovering and
watching American comedy series on Warner TV.
By the following morning we had recovered and set off on a trip to the floating Uros Islands on Lake Titicaca. These are islands made completely of reeds that local tribes live on all year round. It's strange having the floor move when you walk around and you keep expecting to fall through at any moment. The islands have houses, shops and restaurants and are a little touristy, and we are offered a once in a lifetime boat ride on a dragon ship made of reeds; however after being pre-warned by Matt and Nat we decline. The ship was traditionally paddled off by a local with everyone else aboard that had paid the £5 fee, but 30 seconds into the ride a motorboat appeared from the other side of the Island and rear ended the dragon boat, continuing to push it around the lake on its time-honoured magical journey.
The following day we took a bus around the lake into Bolivia and to Copacabana (Note: this is not the place Barry Manilow sang about... our hostel cost £4 per night and on lying, well actually falling through the bed, we can
tell why music and passion were certainly not in fashion that night). From here, we caught a boat to the nearby Isla Del Sol (Island of the Sun) where, legend has it, the Inca race was born.
After climbing up 700 steps from the harbour (the Incas loved stairs!), we made it to our hostel for the night which turned out to be a cave with a door and a bed. To make up for this, we treat ourselves to a three course meal and bottle of Bolivian wine while watching the sunset over the lake, which was truly stunning. Despite being surrounded by a lake, the island has no water source and everyday water was shipped over from the mainland and carried to the hostel by donkeys and llamas. We got up early the follow morning and hiked to the other end of the 8km Island to see the birthplace of the first Incas, Manco Capac and his sister-wife Mama Ocllo… obviously there was no issue with incest back then! The views over the blue lake and to the surrounding snow-topped peaks of the Cordillera Real mountains were really beautiful. We catch the afternoon boat back to the
mainland and spend another night in Copacabana before we leave Lake Titicaca and take a bus to La Paz (the highest capital city in the world).
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