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Isla del Sol, Copacabana - Day 32

A real floating island, a faux one and an amazing sunset...

23 °C

Today we took a boat ride to Isla del Sol, which is in Lake Titicaca. We bought the tickets yesterday, which includes drop off and pick up on the island and a trip to the floating islands in Lake Titicaca before heading back to Copacabana. We'd never heard of the floating islands here, but we figured as we missed the islands in Uros it was worth a try.

At 8.30am we were on our way, on a packed, super slow boat. It takes 2 hours to get there, which is unbelievable given I can see the island. I started to feel sick towards the end.

Isla del Sol is stunning. Over the street where the boat docks was a small beach with people camping for £1 a night. I'm not suggesting they were all like this, but we saw a group of proper travellers in hippy clothes (for want of a better description), juggling and playing the accordion!

The next part of the island was lush and green, with a neat path and lovely views across the water. There were crops in the gardens as well as pigs and donkeys. It was really peaceful and pretty.

Out in the lake then, I saw the strangest thing. It was another much smaller island that looks like its floating on the water. See what you think...

This part of Isla del Sol was more barren, with stone paths and bare rock, which led us to the ruins. I think the pictures speak for themselves, but it was so tranquille and beautiful we could have stayed there for hours.

Back at the pick up point we had some lunch. I was still full from dinner the night before, so just had a sandwich, but Andrew had what seems to be a common snack in Copacabana, chopped up hot dogs, chips, ketchup and mayo?! Apparently it was nice!

There were much fewer people on the boat on the way back, which was much better for the heat and sea sickness. I actually laid down and fell asleep for an hour, waking up just before we got to the 'floating islands'. This must have been a joke! It was like Copacabana's version of Lapland UK. The 'floating islands' were wooden rafts, made to float by plastic barrels, and part covered in reeds and straw. There were three or four rafts with a couple of huts, and a couple of reed creations, one a miniature traditional boat that they had the cheek to ask you to pay to take a picture of! They certainly weren't lived on, just there for us tourists, but they didn't fool anyone. We sat with an Australian couple, laughed about the 'floating islands' and then chatted about our travels. There were fish being farmed on there too, so Andrew paid for some fish food and fed them, which was about the best bit!

Returning on the boat...

Back on Copacabana, we decided to walk up the mountain for sunset. This was the hardest walk we'd done yet, I thought my lungs were going to burst!! It was a steep walk up but once again, worth it. The view was amazing and only almost spoiled by a drunk Bolivian man rambling at us and then taking my picture without asking.

Posted by staceywaugh 05:40 Archived in Bolivia Tagged landscapes sunsets_and_sunrises mountains lakes beaches animals Comments (0)

Copacabana - Day 31

The day I saw a lady walking uphill, carrying a coffee table on her back...

20 °C

You can tell we're now in a hotel. Breakfast was great - tea, coffee, orange juice, fruit salad, yoghurt, pancakes, egg, ham, tomato and bread - and all served to you. Makes a nice change. And more good news, the view from our room is beautiful -large_IMG_1537.jpglarge_IMG_1538.jpg

The weather was lovely, compared to Puno, and we went for a walk around the small town, looking at the shops and stalls. We walked down a steep hill and saw a not-so-young lady, wearing traditional clothes, walking uphill with a wooden coffee table strapped to her back?! I swear the women here are superhuman! At the bottom we realised we were in the residential area with chickens and pigs roaming around.

Back at the top there was a gleaming white church, Basilica de Nuestra Señora de Copacabana, with tiled roofs and inside, as well as the usual ornate gold leaf, some of the walls and ceiling were painted bright colours. We weren't allowed to take photos inside but Andrew got one...

From there we walked down the hill to the lake, and it really it beautiful in the daytime too. You forget that it's a lake as it's so enormous.

After a quick walk back to the hotel to get changed - it was too hot - we sat down for dinner on the lake. We had the menu of the day, which consisted of quinoa and vegetable soup to start, steak, rice, chips and vegetables for main and chocolate coated banana for dessert, all for princely sum of £2 sterling each! We also ordered a large bottle of sprite to share and so the waiter nipped over the road to the shop to buy it before charging us double ;) As we were eating the clouds rolled in and the weather was much colder, luckily Andrew had just purchased some leg warmers (for under his trousers, which is permissible...i think?) so he put them on with his shorts! Great look...shame I didn't take a pic!

On the way back to the hotel there were some very strange shaped houses, including a snail's shell shape that was under construction. I think they may be Eco houses as that seems to be quite fashionable around here too.

In the evening we went for dinner at La Orilla, a recommendation from tripadvisor. We had a bowl of spicy chilli con carne with garlic bread and a couple of beers, all for £10. We could get use to the prices here!

Posted by staceywaugh 05:18 Archived in Bolivia Comments (2)

Puno to Copacabana - Day 30

Another day, another country...

21 °C

As you can probably gather, we're really happy to be leaving Puno. Next stop is a new country entirely though - Bolivia - so as well as our bus journey from Puno to Copacabana we also have a border to cross.

The scenery was beautiful, which gave me hope for a better a town on the other side!

The journey was only a few hours including the border crossing, which was really simple and the staff with the Titicaca bus company were really helpful. We got some money changed on the Peru side (Nuevo Sol into Bolivianos) and as he wouldn't exchange coins, we got that changed with an old lady on the Bolivian side of the border - definitely go with the old lady as she has a much better exchange rate!

Bolivia is a lot cheaper than the other three countries we've visited so far, our double room here in Hotel Utama is only £20 a night in comparison to around £40 in Rio. The hotel is dated (or maybe it's just the way they like here?) but clean and the room is large with a painted mural on one wall.

Copacabana seems lovely so far. Lake Titicaca is beautiful from Bolivia...

We went out for dinner on the main road through Copacabana, ordering a large bottle of beer to share and a main course each of trout, rice, chips and salad for only £11! So cheap and so delicious.

As well as realising how cheap everything was in Bolivia, this was the beginning of our understanding that everything here comes with chips and it's called salad never mind what vegetables are included (e.g. cauliflower, broccoli...) as long as they're cold.

Posted by staceywaugh 16:31 Archived in Bolivia Comments (0)

Puno - Day 29

Just, Puno...

18 °C

Well, it's confirmed. There really isn't much going on in Puno at all. We probably should have took a punt on the Floating Islands trip rather than stay in the town.

We walked from the hostel down to the lake. From here, I wonder why everyone raves about Lake Titicaca? The lake is filled with algae and there are decrepit but colourful (which kind of adds to the sadness) pedallos creaking their way around the water. There is a jetty full of souvenir stalls and cafes that no one seems to be in, maybe this is due to time of year. The busiest part was around the lighthouse, where someone had put large characters from the animated film Ice Age there so people could have their photo taken. At the end of the jetty the water looked nicer.

Turning back to face the town, the hills are filled with half built houses (much like a lot of the more rural Peru it seems), bare bricked and not very attractive. There seems to be the opportunity to turn this place into a cute 'seaside' town - paint the houses pretty colours, bring the main street of restaurants and bars to the lake side, clean the lake - but I guess there isn't the money or necessity.

And so at 11.30am, we we're done. Puno was explored! We found a massive supermarket and this is the highlight of Puno for us ;) We bought lots of food and headed back to the hostel to plan, upload and generally chill out for the rest of the day. A trip out later in the evening left us feeling the the same and we ended up back in our room watching Austin Powers 2 with spanish subtitles!

Posted by staceywaugh 06:33 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Cusco to Puno - Day 28

Journey to Puno

18 °C

Andrew felt better this morning, which was particularly good news as we had a 7 hour bus journey to Puno. The scenery on the bus journey was generally more of the same that we've seen in Peru, but some snow capped mountains too.

We'd heard mixed things about Puno, which is located on Lake Titicaca on the Peruvian side. Before we started travelling it was mainly good things about the floating islands of Uros on the lake, but since then we've met a lot of people who were less than impressed by them, so we decided to just use Puno as a days stopover and rest and save our money for other trips. As for what we'd heard about Puno itself, as we pulled in on the bus, it seemed everyone was right - there didn't seem to be much to shout about.

Quechas Backpackers hostel was our bed for 2 nights and it seemed fine - a small room but clean enough and based centrally. We had a walk out before dinner and there is a main street with lots of shops and restaurants on but it's tiny and set back from the lake, which is strange when you think it's the town's main feature aside from the lake. Needless to say to we didn't get up to much this evening!

Posted by staceywaugh 06:31 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

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