All advice was that the best of Lake Titicaca was to be experienced over the border in Bolivia
. We had booked our seats on a bus to Copacabana leaving Puno just after lunch time. Our first experience of a non air conditioned bus. However having a sliding, opening window to sit beside was actually very good. Lake Titicaca is up at over 13,000ft (that's 4 times higher than anywhere on England). The landscape forever changing with glimpses of distant snow covered mountains and remote collections of houses along the way. After 3 hours we arrived at the Peru / Bolivia border. An experience in itself. Off the bus and the gringos sheepishly walk into the Peruvian immigration. They take our entry documentation off us and stamp our passport. Out we go walking lonely up the road, under the archway that marks the border and on towards the Bolivian immigration office. We hand in our passports, and our entry documentation (hoping that we have completed it correctly). They look us up and down, check the form and stamp our passports and the entry documentation. We get our slip to keep, along with our passports, and we leave the office and walk further on past all the street vendors to our coach which appears to have crossed the border and is waiting for us.
Back on the bus and then the remaining 5 miles into Copacabana. Its around 5:30 (sorry 6:30 Bolivian time), the streets appear to be all but deserted, no cars and a few people. Now about that currency that we should have changed at the border (another useful suggestion from Annie) why didn't we? Alone with a backpack, no money, and no idea where our hotel is we wandered up the road
. We pass a small travel office and ask for directions - they have little English and we have a similar amount of Spanish. A lot of gestures, finger pointing and scribbles on a town plan and we are off. Crossing their Plaza del Armas it sounds as if there is a brass band competition in the municipal hall. Onwards to our hotel up a steep hill and steps to find our room for the night. An awesome view across Lake Titicaca awaits us from the grounds.
After relieving ourselves of our luggage, a quick chat with the owner we are led to believe that there is a single ATM to be found. So off we go and eventually find it. From the bank to the harbour is the main street which along which are endless restaurant and 'shops' / stalls selling everything you could imagine. This is clearly a holiday destination. We look at the menu for a number of places and settle on what appears to be one with more of a Mexican theme but which had easy jazz music playing. A pleasant meal and an introduction to yet another alcoholic beverage. A glass of local wine? The first we had cold, the second we opted for a hot one as it was for all intents and purposes a mulled wine.
After a decent night's sleep we left our luggage in reception as we ventured down to the harbour. So this is Copcabana - Bolivian style
. The road along the seafront more like a compressed mud road (I think we are getting used to this!). Halfway along we come across a stray pig searching for anything to eat. Behind us the lake with all the front awash with landing stages, pedaloes, rowing boats and larger craft. What strikes you is the continuing lack of vehicles. The odd car passing by. We head back towards the main harbour area, take a seat at one of the many bars and set about people watching as we listen to a Rolling Stones CD, sharing a fruit pancake, a local beer and a coca cola, whilst we let the time slip by as we await out 1:30 boat across to Sun Island (you hopefully have already read Annie's blog on that).While we were waiting a German registered motorhome draws up..we know it was Peter as it was printed on his van and on the back was a map of the world showing where he travelled so far...everywhere...!! his website is peterontheroad and he has visited all 5 continents (with the motorhome....us perhaps one day..!)
At 1pm I venture back to the hotel to collect our backpack (we leave the suitcase there for the next couple of nights), and wander down to join Annie for our crossing. An awesome one and a half hours on the top of a boat along with what appears to be a United Nations of travellers as we venture on to the next part of our Great Adventure.
Have we really only been 2 weeks on this 9 month adventure?
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We stayed overnight in Puno on Lake Titicaca in a decent hotel just off the Plaza del Armas. (This is the main town square. Every village, town and city seems to have one and they tend to put the rest of the location to shame.) After our earlier stay in Colca Canyon (no electricity, flooring, furniture - well anything that we have all become used to) we had a room with a jacuzzi (a first for me - what a contrast). As we check our emails and update our blog I suggest to Annie 'have you checked out Skype?' She does so and to our surprise her sons in the U.S. and Australia are both online and we have a 3 way conversation - Pheonix Arizona, Sydney Australia and Lake Titicaca Peru. When technology works it is awesome. Then we settle back into our jacuzzi thinking about all we have done, the weather back home and work (or rather the lack of it).