We caught what was supposed to be a direct overnight bus from Cusco to Copacobana (Bolivia), ending up with a 2 hour stop over in Puno at 5.30am. Bolivia is much higher elevation wise than Peru  and the altitude increase, combined with our tiredness made the short 10min walk up hill to our hostel pretty exhausting. After a shower and some disappointing cold food from the hotel restaurant we decided to venture out and explore the town. Climbing up the hill behind the hostel for a view out over the city took a lot more effort than looking at it made us think it would, so we spent a bit of time relaxing at the top getting our breath back.

The view from the top was pretty spectacular but it was really sad to see again that even though it is a local religious point there is little respect for the environment, with plastic bottles and other rubbish thrown over the edge. The long golden sand beach here inspired the Brazilians to name their now much more famous Rio de Janeiro beach after it.

I had a bit of a moment where I still couldn’t believe that we were actually engaged and that Ty really wanted to spend the rest of his life with me, after so many years of complete refusal to discuss the matter. But after a bit of a chat he made me realise that while the word marriage and a wedding are still a bit of a challenge for him, he came to acknowledge that a celebration of the fact that we are going to spend our lives together is more symbolic than anything and that it is something that I needed to understand his commitment to me and the outside world needed to understand what our relationship means. I was glad that we sat down and talked about it as I really wanted to be excited but uncertainty had been holding me back a little bit.
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Ty looking out over Copacobana
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Looking across Lake Titicaca
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Bull costumes
We had heard a lot of fireworks and music from the top of the hill and wandering back into town we went to see what was going on. It turned out there was some kind of festival going on, although we couldn’t find anyone who could explain really what it was for but we think it was for some saint. Lots of locals were dressed in different costumes, dancing and playing instruments and parading through the streets. Arriving at the main cathedral it also seemed like it was some kind of competition as the dancers were performing in front of what looked like a panel of judges. It was really cool to watch and see the time and effort that had gone into some of the costumes. My favourite were the ones who had dressed up as bulls!

The next morning we got up really early to head out to Isla Del Sol, the origin of the Inkan Empire, for the day. We managed to bargain our tickets down to 30 bolivianos return for one of the bigger boats and after a delicious breakfast we headed to the wharf to board. 2 boats were heading out but as per usual on this trip things weren’t quite as expected as our boat ended up being the one with only one (partially working) engine instead of 2 healthy ones, meaning the 2 hour trip became 3 hours of everyone getting high on the petrol fumes. We were really glad when we finally arrived at the North of the island!
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South Village on the island
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Sitting up top this time!
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Snowy hills in the distance
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Ruins and beautiful blue water of Lake Titicaca
We met a really interesting Irish girl called Kate on the boat who we ended up spending the day with. Starting in Tibet, she has spent the last 2 and a half years cycling around the world for charity and had some crazy stories to tell! After checking out the ruins in the North of the Island we did the cross island walk to the South to catch our ferry back to Copacobana (fortunately on the one with 2 engines this time – although we decided to sit on the roof just incase fumes were still an issue!).

Back in Copacobana we picked up our bags from the hostel and headed down to catch a bus onto La Paz. We had asked the day before how much it cost and been told for a local bus it was 15 bolivianos and 25 for the tourist bus. Almost every other bus on this trip we have just rocked up to the station on the day and hopped on, but what we hadn’t realised was that because of the festival the day before there were literally hundreds of people trying to get out of Copacobana and all of the buses were booked out and the companies were taking advantage of the demand by hiking up the prices! Standing around with a few others for about half and hour umming and ahhing about what we would do – we really didn’t want to pay 50B for a collectivo but none of us really wanted to spend one more night either – finally a local lady came up to us and said there was a bus which had space – although we had to pay double the rate at 30B for it we didn’t care and jumped on board before anyone could take our seats as there were plenty of frustrated locals hanging around as well. 

Next stop: La Paz
 





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