Moon Island and Huatajata

Trip Start Jul 01, 2011
Trip End Jul 14, 2011

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Flag of Bolivia  , La Paz,
Tuesday, July 5, 2011

We have a quiet morning, with an optional hike. I opt to rest in the room and catch up on some work. We leave the Sun Island hotel at 11:30am, hiking down the Inca "Grand Stairs" to a sacred fountain whose waters are believed to give eternal youth and happiness. Lunch is in a spectacular setting looking out over the lake.

Our hydrofoil arrives and whisks us off to Moon Island, where we visit the Temple of the Sun Virgins. Next we skim over to an example of the floating islands which on the Peruvian side of the lake hold entire towns. At this point the lake is so shallow that we have to transfer from our hydrofoil onto a smaller vessel for the trip to the floating island. We are greeted by the head of the family, and shown their handicrafts.

Finally our hydrofoil whisks us back to our starting point at Huatajata and we get settled into our fantastic hotel at the shore of the lake. The owners are keen to preserve the culture, and have several museums on the property. One is dedicated to the Natural Healers of Bolivia, the Kallawayas, and contains examples of the herbal remedies and descriptions of their uses. I know my daughter would love to have seen this exhibit.

At dinner we finally get to eat the 4th of July cake that met an untimely demise yesterday. It was worth the wait. But the true dessert was a performance by a five-man band playing the pipes, guitars and drums and singing in beautiful harmony. One young man danced with wild abandon, which is truly difficult to do at this altitude!

Finally a few of us went to the working observatory at this hotel and had a slide presentation about how the Inca interpreted our familiar constellations like Gemini and Orion. After the show, the roof magically rolled back to expose the brilliant night sky. A telescope had been set to allow us a spectacular view of Saturn. I have never actually seen it so clearly with all its rings. Then the operator swung the telescope and quickly focused on Alpha Centauri, which was also mind-boggling to see in such detail. Of course we could also see the Southern Cross with our naked eyes. A brilliant end to a spectacular day!
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bruce on

i have always missed a lot

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