Beautiful weather again. Chilly morning.
I got up early, had a cold shower and did some work while I had reliable internet. Jean got up and had a hot shower. Figures. We went to breakfast about 7:00. The breakfast buffet was mainly cold dishes. It did have scrambled eggs as the hot dish, but lunch meats, fruit, beads, etc. A woman and gentleman who sat at the next struck up a conservation with Jean. They were from Hong Kong, and were telling her about their trips to the US. When I sat, Jean went to the breakfast buffet, and I talked with the gentleman from Hong Kong. After listening to where he had been, I mentioned that they should visit Jamestown-Colonial Williamsburg-Yorktown, having just been to Colonial Williamsburg last month. We then wished them well and returned to the room for our bags.
We had to have our overnight bags in the lobby by 8:10 and be on the bus at 8:20. The bus took us down to the lake shore and across to the pier where we walked out to our private boat that was taking us out to Sun Island. The boat had a real nice interior. The cabin was enclosed, and has the same comfy seats you would find on a luxury bus, the cabin had curtains on the windows. There were decorations hanging similar to those we had seen on the automobiles outside the basilica yesterday. When I inquired, Wendy confirmed that the boat had been blessed.
On the way out to the island, Wendy talked about how the island was found by the Incas. The island today has about 3,000 residents among the 5 villages on the island.
The lake itself was formed when from this point to the coast of Chile was all underwater in ancient times. When the mountains were form, it isolated and land-locked the region causing Lake Titicaca and the Salt Lake. Titicaca itself is a little salty.
Titicaca was originally the name given to the island by the Incas. When the Spanish came, they noticed that the people would go out on the lake. When asked where they were going, the pointed out into the lake and said Titicaca. The Spanish misunderstood and started calling the lake Titicaca. Once they found the island, they named it the Island of the Sun.
Jacque Cousteau had brought a submersible to explore Lake Titicaca. In their exploration of the lake, they found a giant frog species, many fish species, and some ancient ruins which indicates that the level of the lake had been lower. She then showed video clips of the documentary that was made of Cousteau's visit.
After we docked and disembarked, Richard, Margie, Jean and I climbed up to the Inca ruins. Kippy and Lily stayed on the boat. The boat left and went over to where we would meet it later after our hike.
The Inca actually built over the buildings that were there before them. Our first stop was the Palace of the King. In 1100 AD, it was used as a temple. Then the Incas around 1315 turned it into the palace. Apparently, one of the Inca rulers had come from the region. We saw statues of the ruler and his wife in a park and down by the lakeshore yesterday. What was the altar room aligned with the tallest mountain, and on the winter solstice, June 21, the room would have the sunlight spotlight the altar.
We then went up to the Inca trail that runs about 150 ft below the top of the mountain. We hiked along the trail, and Wendy would identify plants. She broke off a piece and had us smell it. Very similar to mint. She also showed us one of the bean pods. We stop frequently to catch our breathe before moving on. At one stop, we discussed women's health, the size of families then and now, and farming. I mentioned that farming was big business. Margie said maybe on the East coast. Her family has had a farm for over 140 years, when they farmstead acreage out in Kansas.
At a rest stop along the trail, we took a group shot. A little further down the trail, we had a traffic jam with two burros eating and blocking the trail. We climbed above them to continue on. Only on the Inca trail. We passed many people going in the other direction. Two of the people were the couple from Pittsburgh and Westchester. As we neared the village, we started to see local vendors selling souvenirs, clothing, etc. We then descended down through the village towards the docks and our boat below.
Along the descent, we stopped at the Inca fountain. A natural flow of ground water coming out in three pipes. They use it to irrigate the Inca gardens below. We finally got to the lakeshore where we rejoined with Kippy and Lily about 11:30. A quick trip on the boat further along the coast, we docked about 11:45 and walked up to a small hotel and restaurant. We sat outdoors under umbrellas. The view of the lake and the mountains in the distance was great. it was like the life style you would find along the Italian coast.
We were served a lunch buffet. Staring with cheese, followed by a blanket filled with two different potatoes, large kernel sweet corn, and plantains. Then in bowels, they served trout pieces, chicken pieces, omelet (which were like fritters), and boiled eggs. A treat of a lunch, everything was delicious, especially the omelet. Then, dessert was bananas and mandarin oranges, which we took with us.
We used the WC, before heading back to the boat for our return trip to Copacabana. We talked with Richard and Margie on the quiet return trip. Back on shore about 2:00, we hopped on the bus to ride back to the Rosario hotel to use the WC before our long trip back to La Paz.
We arrived at the ferry point in San Pedro to cross the strait again about 3:00. We used the public motorboat, sharing it with another tour group. We waited on the San Palo side for the bus to arrive on the barge.
Once back onboard the bus, I rested for the majority of the trip. When we arrived in El Alto, Wendy told us about Bolivia and some famous/infamous personalities, such as the last Nazi and Butch Cassidy & the Sunshine Kid. She also talked about Che Guevara and his view of socialism impact on Bolivia. There is a large statue of Che made of recycled products that we passed.
Traffic was heavy in the city. We did not arrive at the hotel until 6:00. We got our key and went to our room (we had the same room number). Our stored luggage had already been placed in the room. We did not feel hungry, especially Jean who was still under the weather. We unpacked our overnight bag and repacked items into our regular luggage. Back to unreliable internet, oh yeah.
There was a band and dance group that was practicing in the park below. Very noisy. They did not stop until 10:00. I took a hot shower to feel better. I turned the heat on in the room to make it more comfortable. Jean washed out some underwear. Then we had some snacks from the airplane and the banana. I worked on the blog and Jean went to sleep about 9:30 after watching some TV.