The sunny, windy, cloudy island of the sun.

Trip Start Nov 03, 2012
Trip End Dec 31, 2012

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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Sunday, November 18, 2012

Joel came by early, just as we finished our breakfast, to take us down to the ferry boat that would take us to the isla de sol.
Leaving most of our luggage in storage we took with us enough for an overnight stay on the island.

The boat was one of many that ply the trade off taking visitors to and from the island. In peak season 500 people leave in the morning requiring up to 30 boats the make the hour plus long trip (and then the same to make a trip back of an evening).

Again we were treated to priority service. Being the only people booked on this particular tour we had the boat to ourselves.
We began the trip on the roof. Blustery as it was it really gave us a good view of where we were leaving, where we were headed, and how we were getting there.
After our first stop at the south end of the island where we dropped off our luggage, we came down off the roof to try and get warm in the fuel scented interior. It worked.

We arrived at the north point of the island, where we were greeted by the opportunity to use the toilet for 2BOB and to see what double the standard toilet price can get you.
Turns out, in a monopoly, it gets you no toilet seat, no flushing mechanism and no door.

Onwards and upwards. We began a walk through a small village (large enough to have a school and soccer/basketball combo field) to 'The gate of the sun', one of 3 pre Spanish gates on the island and the only one still standing (the others being destroyed by the Spanish for superstitious reasons or the hunt for gold).
In modern times the gate is used to check that trekkers have paid the 20BOB entrance fee to this section of the island. One of 3 points where you pay.

The walk took us around and up to various points and lookouts where we could see the trail, surrounding islands etc.
At the northern most point we found the birth place of the sun, a rock with what looks to be two melted points, legend tells it is where the sun first stood up.
Further on is the Titicaca rock, the 'grey puma' both the name of the lake and the focal point iof pre inca religion.
Past stones designed for worship and rock strewn paths of ancient importance we came to the maze.
A true maze with dead ends, passages that turn back on themselves and windows that tempt you with your destination.
Each year a petitioner would enter, silent priests lining the walls. If they took one wrong turn they would come to a dead end and be walked back to the beginning, this years attempt to placate the gods and commune with them, failed.
Their memory was vital. Each year they could not afford to make the same wrong turn twice for it would waste another year.

Much of it, apart from the roof in certain spots, had survived.

The trail took us over the top of the island crossing unseen borders where we had to pay further entrance fees of 10 or 5BOB.
We reached a town on the south side early afternoon where we began the walk down to where our lodging and lunch were waiting for us.
Once again the food - a traditional lunch - was simply too much for our altitude/travelling appetite. A blanket of potatoes (by that we literally mean she came to the table with a blanket, put it in the middle of the table and opened it to reveal about 50 potatoes of 4 different varieties.... This for 3 people.) followed by trout, a little fish deep fried, chicken, mini omelettes (a crispy taste sensation if you ignored the oil) and bread.

Joel let us have an afternoon break, which we squandered in our room resting. Before he took us back up the island and to the south west point to see, hopefully, a better sunset.

Though cloudy, it was better than the previous day.

Back to our lodging for dinner and an early night. Tina attempted some castellano and asked Joel "Quisiera vino tinto caliente luego. Es possible, por favor?"  Yes, hot red wine was possible although it was exactly that - a bottle of bolivian wine (well, we weren't going to pay for top shelf) heated in boiling water.  Actually quite tasty and will keep that in mind...

One point of interest was the electric hot water. Unsure of what system was being used to heat the thin stream of water that constituted a shower in the freezing cold bathroom, it was noted that two wires went from the wall into the shower head.
Curiosity entered the room and Alexis, during his shower, touched the shower head. The strong accented swearing echoed off the hill side, which in turn, started the numerous donkeys baying in response.

A cold night is squeaky beds but finally warmly spent.
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Mum (H) on

A big LOL for the shower. "A shocking experience" (Dad).

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