Sun Island, Lake Titicaca, Bolivia

Day 46 June 2, 2016

I’m reposting visits to some of my favourite places, today I’m taking you to Lake Titicaca, I stayed on the largest island, Sun Island, it was magical. I was on a 105 day trip to visit the countries still on my ‘want to do’ list, (this is where the name of this blog comes from see ‘105 days’ from the menu for more about this). It was a very busy trip, visiting 14 countries, I wrote about every day of the trip and recorded the number of flights; modes of transport, as they were quite diverse; hotel stays; etc. I took these photos on a very cheap smart phone, so the quality is not always great but hopefully will give you some inspiration.

Countries 6    Hotels 20    Cars 35

Flights 12:flying time 46.52 hours

Rickshaws 4    Buses 4    Elephant 1    Boat 1

Cog-wheel train 2    Cable cars 6    Subway 4    Ferry 2

Minibus 24      Coach 2    Catamaran 1    Funicular 3

Pick up truck 1    Land Cruiser 8    Hydrofoil 2

Llama 1

Early start today for a minibus ride to Lake Titicaca. The lake, which sits on the border of Bolivia and Peru, is the highest navigable lake in the world, 3,810 meters above sea level, with a total area of 8,300 square kilometres and 275 meters at it’s deepest. The lake is believed to be sacred by the indigenous people of the area, as it is from these waters that the sun god commanded his children, Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo, to rise and create the Inca Empire.

When we got to the lake, the hydrofoil was waiting for us as we were the only passengers.  It was very peaceful and still. It took one and a half hours to reach Copacabana, which is a small tourist town, also very popular with local people too.  We had a coffee and visited a church, as I came out of the church a group of women in traditional dress had just left so when their backs were turned I got a photo of them, showing how lovely they look.

We then got a bus back to the hydrofoil where it dropped me and my guide off at Sun Island, which is part of Bolivia. Sun Island is believed to be the birth place of the Inca Empire, known to its early inhabitants as Titi Khar’ka, the ‘rock of the puma’ from which lake Titicaca gets its name. Now there was just a jetty, no other buildings, there are no cars on the island, I was going to have walk up to almost the top of the island to get to our hotel, (I did already know this), however when faced with what looks like a mountain, having had no breakfast, and lunchtime upon us, I was a little daunted.

After five minutes of climbing we met a women with a llama, and a man with oxygen, this is quite normal behaviour on Sun Island.  This is Gerrard, I think he’s rather handsome, and so does he.

You can’t see it in the photos but Gerrard has very big eyes with even bigger eyelashes. Gerrard was here to carry my rucksack up the hill for me.  So not only he is gorgeous he’s also very helpful! The lovely women accompanying Gerrard is Julianna, and Isaac is in charge of the oxygen.  The walk took about an hour and along the way Julianna went to pick some of her broad beans, which she then strapped to her back by blanket, and re-joined us, this meant they were very easy for Gerrard to eat if he kept a few steps behind her, and this is exactly what he did, they did stop and feed him some, and of course I took photos!

The Island is simply beautiful, and the agriculture terracing,  that can be seen in these photos, predates the Incas, is over three thousand years old and still being used by the locals today.

Because of the lack of cars, or any type of vehicles, the island is very quiet, only the occasional braying donkey breaks the silence.

About half way up the hill I was able to see the hotel. Once at the hotel and I’ve had some Coca tea and checked in, we have lunch in the restaurant.  We, my guide Ivar and I, are the only people staying here, so it’s a bit odd with just the two of us sitting in the dining room and the kitchen open just for us.  Everything is freshly cooked here and they have tailored the menu to take account of me!  Only local people are employed at the hotel and they don’t speak English so it’s really useful to have my guide here, as well as having someone to chat to at meal times.

I went for a wander after lunch, watching the many petticoated women harvesting broad beans or tending to their animals.  There’s about five thousand people living on the island, the main village is just above where the hotel is and everything that isn’t grown or produced on the island is brought up by animal; usually llama or donkey, or human.  It was a human, who brought my and the guides, luggage up to the hotel, strapped to his back by what looks like a sheet!

Dinner was another lovely three course meal and on the way back to my room the sky was so clear that it looked as if all the stars were within touching distance.  The final delight of the day, I have an electric blanket on my bed, when the sun goes down here it is freezing, and when I got into bed I had the most deliciously warm, toasty toes.

Just a note on why a llama is being included in the methods of transport at the top of this page, although I didn’t actually ride Gerrard, he did carry my bag and so was a method of transport which means he gets a mention!

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