Her name was Lola she was a showgirl ...
Trip Start Sep 03, 2011
54Trip End Jun 04, 2012
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Copacabana is a town on Lake Titicaca. Titi = puma and caca = rock. Puma rock.
this is the start of this episode, so enjoy the photos while I work on this.
Isla del Sol (Island of the Sun) is an island in the southern part of Lake Titicaca. It is part of the modern State of Bolivia and is part of the La Paz Department. Geographically, the terrain is harsh; it is a rocky, hilly island. There are no motor vehicles or paved roads. The main economic activity of the approximately 800 families on the island is farming, with fishing and tourism augmenting the subsistence economy. Of the several villages, Yumani and Cha'llapampa are the largest.
There are over 80 ruins on the island. Most of these date to the Inca period circa the 15th century AD. Archaeologists have discovered evidence that people lived on the island as far back as the third millennium BCE. Many hills on the island contain agricultural terraces, which adapt steep and rocky terrain to agriculture. Among the ruins on the island are the Sacred Rock, a labyrinth-like building called Chicana, Kasa Pata, and Pilco Kaima. In the religion of the Incas, it was believed that the sun god was born here. (Wikipepedia)
The name Isla del Sol should be enough of a warning to the wise. Me on the other hand, forgot to wear any sunscreen. As a result I am burned. I didn't even know you could burn your eyelids but, there you go. I am looking forward to when they start peeling. Mmmm eyelid skin.
We are currently on the way back from The Island and it has turned out to be a gorgeous day. The water is a deep blue-green with the sun glittering to our starboard side. We are surrounded by mountains and rock islands except to the south where the water stretches away towards Peru somewhere over the horizon.
Copacabana is a tourist town on the Bolivian side of the Southern shore of Lake Titicaca. It is a 3 and a half hour drive from La Paz including a short boat ride over a narrow neck in the lake which saves you a full trip around this massive lake.
We were picked up from our hotel after 8am on our last Thursday in La Paz. Once we were out of La Paz, out of the traffic and on the altiplano it wasn't long before we were presented with views of the the impressive Lake. After a couple of hours on the bus we were then herded off the bus at a little town called San Pablo de Tequina where we were to buy tickets to cross on little boats while our bus was taken across this narrow crossing of lake on a bigger boat. The water looked a bluey green velvet colour that invited you to jump in or at least just put your hand in to feel it. Jumping in was in fact the last thing you would have wanted to do, it was a bit of a cold day, but the water did look good. Once our bus was over we were back on the bus headed on the road towards Copacabana. The hills were lined with what looked like ancient Inca rock terraces giving a sense of history and age on one side of the road while on the other side was the Lake in its' massiveness looking like an ocean with parts of it's shores obscured by distance.
We finally arrived in Copacabana around 12 lunch. Andrew had booked us into a place called the EcoLodge Copacabana and they had someone come and pick us up. The EcoLodge was about a kilometre from town right on the water. The bungalows were light, airy, fresh and clean and opened out to views of the lake. They looked newish and well constructed, and after the hostels and hotel in La Paz and Coroico it was refreshing change. Well needless to say we were starving so we walked into town to find food. Along the waterfront in town we were greeted by a long line of food vendors set up with their own sheltered eating areas with tables and chairs offering a variety of meat and trout dishes. We were along the shore of Lake Titicaca and we were hungry, so trout it was. Hannah, Andrew and I had garlic trout, Campbell had the diablo trout and Samuel had chicken ...it was so good, we ate there for the next two days.
That afternoon Andrew and I hired the lodge bikes and went for a bike ride, lucky I didn't ride down to Coroico, my butt was sore from a gentle 45 min ride, what an old woman! In the evening we decided to follow the loud music that was pounding forth from Copacabana. It was the Feista de la Virgen Candelaria, music, dancing, drinking and feasting. It was quite the sight, people in various stages of intoxication wandering around, most of them in the main square dancing and staggering to their left and to their right and two live bands playing within 50 metres of each other. With the men in their suits and the normally demure and reserved "Chollitas" in their traditional dress accompanied with plastic cups and bottles of Bolivian brew assisting their celebrations and dancing you couldn't help but smiling at the scene and singing ... "at the Copa, Copacabana ... Music and passion were always the fashion , at the Copa , they fell in love...." it was infectious. The twirling "Chollitas" the loud thumping music, the waving of woohoo hands in the air like you just don't care and the overall atmosphere of celebration, grabbed Hannah, Campbell and I to join in the festivities of dancing with the drunken revellers for a couple of songs. Such fun!
The next day we were up and off about 8.00am to find a boat with about 100 other tourists to Isla Del Sol. There were a couple of operators to choose from and we found one at a reasonable price, Titicaca Tours for 20 Bolivianos each. It began as a grey overcast day and as we piled onto the boats one going to the north and the other to the south of the island it started to rain. We were in the seats undercover, they were old steel framed dining room chairs nailed to a raised platform, not the most comfortable lake faring seating but hey we were in the middle of Lake Titicaca off to see ancient Inca ruins in the centre of the Inca universe and where they believe the world began. Our boat was full and we had people on the top of the boat so when the rain began they were off loaded onto the other boat to get out of the rain, then one of the two engines on our boat wouldn't start back up so our already slow going, fume affected journey took even longer, but it was more time to take in the scenery.
We made a stop at the southern end to pick up passengers and the sun began to come out. It was like we were out on the ocean at times where you would look out over the water to the horizon, unable to see the other side of the lake. The water was again very inviting but not quite warm enough to jump in and I don't think the boat operator would have appreciated me putting my hands in the water near the out board motors. We finally arrived at the North end of the island. We still hadn't decided whether we would walk along the ridge at the top of the island back to the South end which was a "3 hour moderately strenuous" walk or just catch the boat back to the South. Our slow boat ride out cut our time down plus being 4000 meters up still affected me so we just managed to trek up to the sacred rock and the ruins up there then manage to roll back down to make the boat back at 1.30pm, we got there at 1.37pm panicking big time but luckily we are in South America, they hadn't left yet! The walk was decidedly worth the huffing and puffing as per usual. When we got up there we had to figure out what was sacred and what was constructed for recreational use. We found a tourist and her children sitting and eating their lunch on a rock table that was actually an ancient altar, whoops. Blue skies, blue lake and coves sacred rocks and ancient ruins very memorable.
We finally left the North side of the island half an hour later and by this stage the sun was fully out and had begun roasting our unscreened family. At the South side of the Island at the top of another set of steps was an ancient spring, the fountain of life or fountain of youth. We also found up there a little chappie having his photo taken with some other tourists. Next thing we know he is sitting with us with his crackers and piece of rope, he was very cute and in our photos.
Our ride back seemed to take forever, we were tired, hungry, uncomfortable and burnt and we were all looking forward to trout when we got back. We all found a spot on the crowded boat to survive the ride back, Andrew slept on the floor at the back of the boat, I was mesmerized by the glistening water and an old lady spinning her llama yarn and Hannah and Samuel continued their roasting on the front of the boat while Campbell was squashed up against the port side of the boat by two Argentinian tourists.
We enjoyed our trout meal when we got back then later on after a small rest Andrew and I headed back into town to buy our tickets to return back to LaPaz and find Samuel some gifts for his 14th birthday. Like any good responsible parents we got him a chess set, wallet, firecrackers and matches. That night we ate popcorn and watched "Babe" on the iPad as a pre birthday bash, just what every 13 year old wants to do on the eve of their 14th birthday. "lalala, lalala, lalala-lala.... A pig that thinks it's a dog", very nostalgic!
Saturday we packed up and made our way into town to catch our bus and to savour in one more trout meal. Enjoyed, and then we merrily made our way back to La Paz.
Copacabana it was fun and what a gorgeous spot we had at the EcoLodge. Thanks Lake Titicaca!