An early start today to rendevous with a tourist bus from La Paz to Copacabana (Lake Titicaca). For 10.50 US$ you can travel all the way from La Paz (Bolivia) to Puno (Peru) via Copacabana on a tourist bus, it departs La Paz at 7.30am and arrives in Copacabana at 12 noon has a short stop and then travels onto Puno arriving late afternoon. Fortunately you can have a stopover on this ticket which is what we are doing. The bus is full of backpackers and doesn´t have a toilet on board ... well what do you expect for 10 dollars (Jc). It takes us nearly an hour to wind our way back up the canyon and out of the city of La Paz to El Alto (the highest part of the City at 4050 metres - it really does take your breath away, the air is thinner and the dizziness kicks in again). This is also the poorest part of La Paz, we take a short toilet stop at what you could call a service station but it is really just a poorly built one storey building with a tin roof.... the toilet block is not much better with tin doors and brown water, yuk but needs must and when you have a four hour journey ahead of you nature must take its course (thank you to the person who recommended bringing baby wipes on this trip! - there is no running water to wash hands).
The bus journey to Copacabana is quite spectacular as we head out on the Altiplano (miles on miles of flat prairy land), we pass masses of farmers working the fields by hand, there is no modern machinery here. Eventually Lake Titicaca comes into view and we wind our way around the mountains and down to the ferry to cross from one side of the lake to the other (Tiquina Straits). At this point we have to depart the bus and take a motor boat for BS1.50 each to cross the lake, the tour bus follows on a barge! We remember this from watching the Michael Palin films, it really is quite amazing.
On reaching Copacabana we have to check in for our bus the next day... or so we thought, it transpires that the border has been closed for two weeks because of strikes. We cannot cross into Peru by land! The only way out now is by boat which is an 8 hour journey and BS220 each fare. We have to be in Puno tomorrow to meet with our tour guide for the next part of our trip........ this couldn´t have happened to us at a worse time, we are still feeling the affects of the altitute and really do not like boats but there is no option. We spend the afternoon resting in the hotel, Denise has starred again with a lovely hotel overlooking the lake. Copa is a very small little town with a few decent hotels and lots of backpackers hostels. It´s charm is its location on the waterfront (there is not much to do here unless you want to take a boat trip to the Island of the Sun or Moon). After room service for our evening meal (and the best food we have had yet) it´s now time for bed.
Fingers crossed for our boat crossing tomorrow, Denise has ordered two packed lunches from the hotel restaurant as the boat does not sell food! .... on an 8 hour journey... if the next blog is late it is because we have been kidnapped by pirates! Peru here we come (hopefully)!
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