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Colin and Sue’s Travel Diary

Tuesday, 24 Oct 2006

Location: Copacabana, Bolivia

MapSunday afternoon was just like a day at the seaside in England - fish and chips in a shack overlooking the lake (ok it was trout not cod and came with rice as well), kayaking for an hour in the bay followed by open air table football on the beach, could even have had a donkey ride - the only thing missing was an ice cream.

After that we went to the cathedral and walked up the very steep hill to the cross overlooking the lake. Copacabana is a big pilgrimage place, people come here on Sundays to get models of cars, houses etc blessed in the hope of getting the real thing - lifesize cars are also decorated with garlands of flowers and blessed.

We then braved another boat trip to the Isla del Sol but stopped short of staying overnight this time. The crossing was much smoother, but freezing cold. We joined up with some people we met on the bus to Copacabana who had arranged a guide and visited what will probably be our last Inca ruins. In Inca mythology, Manco Capac and Mama 0cllo, children of the Sun, emerged from the depths of Lake Titicaca to found the Inca empire. The island is full of pre-Inca (Tihuanaca) terraces and the lake gives the whole area a micro-climate enabling crops such as potatoes, beans and maize to be grown despite the altitude (3850m) - although apparently the Tihuanaca people, who were agricultural experts, achieved much better productivity than today.

We had a lovely walk along the ridge to the south of the island with beautiful views of both coasts then down some final Inca steps to catch the boat back. Nobody on the boat took up the option to visit yet more ruins on the way back - all ruined out by now like us.

Had dinner with Max and Toni and then watched a lightning storm over the lake. Off to La Paz this morning, braving a local bus rather than the recommended tourist bus, which doesn't go until this afternoon.