Adventure / South America / Travel / Uncategorized

At the Copa, Copacobana… not in Havana but in Bolivia!

Copacobana was easy to get to from Puno – just a direct three hour bus ride.  We didn’t have any accommodation booked – the place I wanted to stay in Hotel Las Olas www.hotellasolas.com – a feature in the trusty Lonely Planet, wrote back to me saying they were full, but to come anyway and there might be a cancellation.

Hubs wanted her own room – a good thing for both of us and why not? we were in a cheap part of the world and could afford it.  We walked up the hill with all our stuff (in high altitude too) to Las Olas where I put my name down in the hope of getting a cancelled room. It was right next door to La Cupola, where Hubs stayed four years ago.  I also put my name down at La Cupola, hedging our bets.   It was a very nervous 1.5 hour wait for me – until 2pm when La Cupola would give away rooms reserved if guests had not yet arrived.  If you were a guest arriving late, it’s a pretty stiff policy – but for us, waiting for the rooms to get released, it worked well in our favour!!  Hubs got two nights in a nice big double room with a kitchen at La Cupola, and I had one night in big suite at Las Olas.  One night was not enough, but I was confident I’d either get a second night there or a night at La Cupola.

After organising ourselves with tickets to Isla del Sol and a bus ticket to La Paz in a couple of days’ time, we went to our own rooms at our own hotels and spent the afternoon chilling.

La Olas was magnificent! Designer built, quirky, and a bit out there, but magnificent!  At US$32 per night, I had not one complaint.  I stayed in ‘Tartuga’, a two-story domed shaped suite that had huge floor to ceiling windows offering unbroken views to Lake Titikaka, and doubling as a warm greenhouse as the sun hit the glass in the afternoon.

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The bed downstairs was round and massive.  Upstairs, the single bed was in the shape of a boat, and there were two hammocks hanging inside. There were plants growing inside directly out of the ground, and the floor was tiled with big slices tree trunk.  The kitchen sinks were made of wood, the bench was a length ways sliced tree trunk, the shower was snail-shell circular and had no need for a door or a curtain, and I had three hot water bottles in my room, along with a small selection of different teas, and a kettle.  It was stoked!

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I spent the afternoon basking in the high altitude sun, firstly in a sun chair, then in a hammock.  Aaaahhhh, sheer peaceful bliss.

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Hubs and I met for dinner at the restaurant at La Cupola and both had nice meals.   We didn’t linger too long after dinner – I was keen to get tucked up into that big round bed with hot water bottles for company and read my book.  Yep, moments like this I feel I’ve turned old, but I don’t care, it was just so lovely!

The next morning, Hubs and I went to the Isla del Sol.  She got grumpy on the way to the Island so we spent the day doing our own thing.  No stress,  I was not going to let anything spoil my day at the beautiful Isla del Sol!

Isla del Sol is where the Incas believe their Sun God was born, and where the notion of the Sun God first came to be.   The Island dates back to pre-Inca times and the ruins on the island near the north end were over 3200 years old.  The Island is hilly and has magnificent views of Lake Titikaka – which always looks more like an ocean than a lake it is so big.  It is the highest altitude lake in the world.   Near the ruins is the “puma rock” a famous rock in the Inca belief system – it is said to have a lot of energy.  The Incas used to offer the Gods sacrifices in that place, including human sacrifices.  I’m told that it was an honur for a girl to be picked to become a sacrifice for the Gods along with the promise of a wonderful afterlife.

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The walk from the north port of Isla del Sol to the ruins was about 50 minutes, up and down hills.   Hubs didn’t join the group that followed a guide there.  I immediately met five really lovely Irish girls in their mid-twenties. They were good fun.  We walked together to the ruins, I was their official photographer, and they would take turns in being mine. It was fun.  Then I looked at my watch.  FARK!  I’ve got less than 3 hours to do the three-hour walk to the southern port to catch my boat back to Copacobana!!  I announced this to the Irish girls and one of them, Claire, walked with me.

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We kept a cracking pace for 2.5 hours and chatted about everything along the way.  She was lovely company and is a great girl. I hope we’ll get to meet up when we travel into Mendoza, the Argentinean wine region.  We hardly stopped, despite the high altitude and steepness of the hills.  Occasionally Claire would stop mid way through a story and say, “I’ll tell you the rest after we get to the top of that hill!”.  It was a challenging walk, and doubly challenging because I had a deadline to meet!  Which we did with 15 minutes to spare!  Yay!

Hubs was no where to be seen, and again I explained to the boat boy that my friend had my ticket. He asked for the name and Hubs had given him the ticket for me and she went back early.  When I got back, I was glad that I was allocated a small unremarkable room at La Cupola – but that didn’t worry me, I was just grateful I had a room!

There was no time for lunch on the island, so by the time I got back at 5.30pm, I was starving!  I went to the restaurant at 6.15pm, got a table for one and had an early dinner – fillet mignon, yum!   The restaurant was packed – they had to keep turning people away or asking them to come back an hour or so later.  I was thankful I was starving and got there early!  After dinner I didn’t feel like sitting in my little poky room so early, so I hung out in the TV room.  I was thrilled when I found ‘Ashes to Ashes’ on TV – one of the episodes I’d missed during the series – yay!  After that was finished, while channel surfing looking for something else to watch, a South African lady called  Viv walked in.  We spent the next hour and half chatting and discovered that there’s a few things in common we’d like to do – a hike in Sorata, stay in Corioco, etc.  So we swapped email addresses and said we’d keep in touch.

I spent the next morning having breakfast in Copacobana town and looking around. The blessing of the cars was happening at the church.  Cars are decorated with streamers and fresh flowers, and they queue outside the church where the priests bless them by sprinkling holy water over the cars and their owners.  I had a chance to chill out in the sun before meeting Hubs and catching a bus to La Paz.

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