By Motorboat Across to Copacabana
Once we got close, I didn’t realize we had to take a motorboat across the water to get to the town itself. The guide said you could drive around but that would take hours. It was a covered boat but unfortunately, we sat in the last seats which were closest to the motor and had fumes blowing in our faces. Thank goodness it was a short ride. The car went by barge. When we returned we stayed in the car and went back on the barge – much easier. We walked around the square – all the little snack shops were selling trout and lots of people enjoying their lunches.
Arriving in Copacabana
After we found the driver and the car, we still had a ways to go. Finally we arrived! You can’t see it here but most of the town is dominated by the Basilica of Our Lady of Copacabana. Our Lady of Copacabana is the patron saint of Bolivia. The town has about 6,000 inhabitants. Its religious celebrations (I saw one – the blessing of vehicles in front of the church), cultural patrimony and traditional festivals are well know through out Bolivia.
After checking in, we went to a local restaurant for lunch. The meal was set up in advance with the tour company but when we got there, the waiter didn’t know anything about it. Marisol got it all straightened out. It was a set menu with asparagus soup but I knew it would be cream based but they said they would take out the milk or cream but when it arrived, it was exactly the same as the one Marisol got. I then had trout and French fries.The only fish I have seen in restaurants is trout. Being a traveling pescatarian or vegetarian is very difficult in Bolivia. I saw soy milk only once in a vegetarian restaurant. Lots of oil, lots of butter, vegetables hardly cooked and bread as hard as a rock seemed to characterize most of the restaurant food I had sampled. It is a meat country and mostly beef. Surprisingly, my next guide did not eat meat and had a semi vegetarian life style but more about that later.
Trip to the Island of the Sun
As soon as lunch was over, we walked through the main street past many little hand-made craft shops to get to the shore of lake Titicaca. We were on our way to see the Incan ruins on the Island of the Sun. Marisol found the boat owner and we were off. The boat was covered and we were the only passengers. Later, I saw other boats packed with tourists so I felt quite lucky to have my own boat. I think my guide enjoyed a short nap. I looked out on the water and saw some small islands in the distance. It took about an hour to get there.
The Island of the Sun is the legendary birthplace of the sun and the creation of the god Viracocha and the first Incas. There are more than 80 ruins and approximately 800 families and 3500 total inhabitants. Our first stop was Chincana, ruins of a roofless building with a labyrinth of rooms. It is located on the north end of the Island. It has an altitude of about 4,000 meters.
We arrived back in Copacabana and had a long walk to my hotel. Nice to have a short rest and then I would meet Marisol for dinner. She knew a good place with a good view. I decided not to take my camera but took my ipad to show Marisol some of my photos. I was so mad at myself as the sunset was gorgeous but I had my Ipad camera so used it to take a few photos. It was an adorable restaurant with Moorish characteristics. I had a lentil dish which was so huge that I took it back to La Paz and had it for dinner. So nice to have a kitchen. It was better the second time. I enjoyed the ambiance and Marisol and I got to know each other a bit more. She enjoyed my photos and I promised to send any of her. I took a taxi by myself back to the hotel as Marisol was staying close to the restaurant. I heard the driver yelling about something but I didn’t pay any attention until he was running down the stairs to hand me my lentil leftovers. I thought that was very considerate. The day was over. I had started out at about 6am that morning and I was ready for bed!