Where The Incas Began

Trip Start Apr 27, 2009
Trip End Apr 27, 2010

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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Wednesday, March 31, 2010

It took one of my more interesting journeys to get to Lake Titicaca and the Isla del Sol to see the Incan staircase and Temple of the Sun. A bus trip along very bumpy roads looked like a luxurious option when we were informed that we needed to get off the bus to cross a narrow section of the lake. They then proceeded to load the bus onto a barge-type contraption fitted with a single outboard motor and slowly ferry it across. We were on a much smaller boat that zipped across the gap quickly (thank goodness!) so I had time to find a bottle of Inca Kola before continuing on the last hour of the journey. The views of the Lake as we wound our way towards Copacabana (I'm pretty sure it's not the one that Barry Manilow was singing about!) were spectacular. After stopping in Copacabana long enough to get a couple of pictures of the Basilica and eat some steak with chips and rice I was back onto another boat - this time with my personal guide for the Isla del Sol!

Crossing over to the island took about an hour and a half but was pretty smooth and the scenery was distracting enough that it didn't feel too bad. One of the first things I saw on arrival at the island's tiny harbour was the donkey pen. As the people who live on the island have to visit the mainland for supplies they use the donkeys to get everything up the steep hill to their homes. As I stopped for a number of rests on the way up the Incan staircase I can certainly see why they don't carry it all themselves! Mind you, the view over the lake was well worth stopping anyway. Once I got to the top of the staircase I washed my face in the fountain of eternal youth - apparently I'm 2 years younger inside now! We carried on up the hill past an area that is used to grow herbal remedies that are used by the locals. The Incans and many of the other indigenous tribes began the tradition of using only natural remedies and this is continued by the islanders today. Once we reached the trail that would lead to the Temple of the Sun and our boat ride back to the mainland I was glad that I'd persevered with the climb. Not only was it a nice, flat section but it had a beautiful view although the snow-capped mountains were hidden by rainclouds.

The Temple of the Sun didn't look like a temple to me - it was a barren building made of rocks but it showed some of the typical Incan features such as the style of the doorways and the hand-cut bricks. However, as it was one of the first Incan buildings the stones are much less precisely square than at sites that were constructed later such as Machu Picchu. After a good look around the temple we headed down to the jetty for the journey back to Copacabana. The sun set as we made our way back to our "ferry" so the crossing was made in the dark. It was definitely not one of my favourite parts of the day but it was the only way I was gonna get back to La Paz so there wasn't really much of a choice! When we reached the city we got stuck in a traffic jam caused by a rally before the regional elections on Easter Sunday so I didn't get back to the hotel until after 11pm - definitely got my value for the full day tour!
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