Copacabana and Isla del Sol
20.03.2008 - 24.03.2008 35 °C
On returning from the pampas we met up with a fit and healthy Christina and Andreas again. This time we agreed to go on a slightly less strenuous trip to Copacabana and Isla del Sol for the Easter weekend. Easter here is massive with well over 90% of the population being catholic.
The bus over to Copacabana was an amazingly beautiful journey. As we approached our destination we passed literally thousands of pilgrims making their way to Copacabana to celebrate Good Friday. In order to shorten the journey we hoped on and off a small ferry across part of Lake Titicaca.
We arrived at our somewhat basic accommodation early Thursday evening. As we had left it so late to decide to come here very little was left for us to choose from. In fact, we were probably lucky to get anything at all as hundreds of people were setting up camp around the town as we arrived.
Copacabana itself was very busy with all the festivities. The streets were lined with stalls, small shops, bbq´s and gambling games. I couldn´t help myself and ended up playing a variety of games and coming away with a nice 8 fold profit, albeit that didn´t exactly amount to a great deal. But as all good accountants know - a profit´s a profit!!
On Good Friday we awoke to find the town in celebration. The town is surrounded by several small(ish) hills. On top of one the pilgrims were all congregating so we headed up to see what all the fuss was about. As we climbed the hill we met thousands of people coming down from an early mass. The stations of the cross were all placed alongside a path leading to the top. On the top itself there were many stalls selling small models of items such as cars, shops, passports, mobiles, money, passports etc etc. Basically people bought a model of what they were striving towards and then had it blessed. It was all very interesting to watch. The 4 of us became a bit of an attraction too as they took photographs of us. It seemed quite strange but one could hardly complain given the photographs we were taking ourselves. As the day progressed many more processions took place and in the evening we went to the church to see the service which itself was very odd albeit enjoyable to see.
On Saturday morning we packed up and started the 4 hour trek along the coast where we would hopefully find someone to take us by boat to Isla del Sol. The day was beautiful and we soon came across a football match which we watched for a while but it seemed that arguing was call of the day rather than actually playing the game. Soon after we found that a dog was following us and in turn he became our new adopted pet as he ended up following us all the way. I´m pretty sure he had made that walk many times before however. Hopefully he made it home ok!! After around 3.5 hours we met a man with a small boat, just big enough for the 4 of us, our bags and him to drive. A further 90 minutes later and we arrived on the island and made our way up the long winding path. We were met by a young kid who took us to some accommodation. Without a doubt this provided us with one of the best views of our trip. On the downside the beds also provided us with sore backs but to every upside there is a down I guess!!
Isla del Sol is a very important island for the Inca´s. They beleived it was where the Sun itself was born, and likewise there is another island (Isla del Luna) where the moon was born nearby.
The island was stunning and Ali and I used it to do a lot of walking to prepare for our upcoming Inca Trail which was little under a week away now. The inca paths over the island were definately heavy going. At over 3,000 meters it´s not hard top see why. The island is on Lake Titicaca which is one of the highest navigational lakes in the world, only beaten by another in Peru and one in Chile I think. However, neither of these lakes are nearly as big as Titicaca. After our treks we took a small ferry back to Copacabana where we spent what would be our final night in Bolivia.