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Travel Adventure - Backpacking Latin America's Gringo Trail Backpacking Latin America starting in Cuba, then travelling from East to the west coast of Mexico before making our through Central and finishing in South America.

Bolivia hop via Lake Titicaca

PERU | Monday, 31 August 2015 | Views [441]

A bus picked us up from Ollyantambo and we arrived back in Cusco around 10 or11pm. We said our goodbyes and raced back to our hostel in the cold, I was in desperate need of some sleep. It felt like home when we checked back in to Milhouse and even though we hadn't showered in 4 days we just had to jump in to bed.

The next morning I was awake fairly early, probably because we had bee waking fairly early on our trek.  It felt so nice to have a shower and wash my hair. The shower was pretty hot too, I just wanted to stand understand forever. Matt was still sleeping so went upstairs to have breakfast and connect back on to wifi. I learnt some wonderful news that my friend Sophie and Leon got engaged while holidaying in Mexico. Very exciting, and since Matt and I are kind of on the countdown now which is slightly a bit devastating coz I wish I could travel forever and we are just loving this journey so much and seriously on an adventure of a lifetime. I am also excited to see all my friends and family and catch up with everyone. Especially to see this ring of Sophie's and hear how Leon proposed! I will also have lots of new babies to meet including my new nephew Felix :) 
It was also my mums birthday yesterday in Australia. It was 11pm back home and I was so awake and excited to tell her all about the Inca Trail, I tried to catch her on viber while it was still her birthday but she was already in bed. After catching up on Facebook and hanging around our hostel for a bit we gave a load of washing to the laundry mat of all our stinky trekking clothes and booked our overnight bus to Bolivia for that night. We were starting to feel quite exhausted,  I think the last couple. Of days had taken it out of us. So we walked around to find somewhere to eat lunch then treated ourselves and visited the chocolate museum. They gave us free samples of chocolate and cocoa (not coca) tea, then we sat down on their balcony and watched the town below whilst eating a delicious chocolate cheesecake and a yummy hot chocolate with honey and chilli. 
We played some ping pong and pool, hung around the hostel and spoke to mum and dad on viber as it was now morning back home for the afternoon. We really were so tired we just wanted to lounge around on the comfy beanbags. Matt also realised that his ankle had swollen like a balloon. There were these tiny Mosquitos on the 3rd day of our trek and they were little buggers. As soon as they hit you they drew blood and you couldn't get them coz they were so tiny, like sand flies. One of the symptoms was the swelling and it's exactly what matts ankle did. If it didn't go down in a couple of days we'd get something for it. Our laundry was ready at 5pm and it was so nice to have a load of fresh clothes back. We got our bags ready and just shared a veggie burger and fries at our hostel restaurant for dinner coz we weren't that hungry before getting on our bus at 9pm.
The bus arrived in Puno in the morning where we got off and had a pretty shitty breakfast for really cheap. We then went to the jetty on Lake Titicaca where a small boat took us to one of the floating reed islands. I seen photos on the Internet of these and they looked really cool. I read you could do home stays too and see a day in the life of the people who live on these islands. I wanted to do a home stay but Matt didn't. We hadn't met anyone who had done one and reading blogs it was a bit of a hit and miss, so we decided not to. We had also heard that not many people enjoyed the Peru side of Lake Titicaca as they found it full of tourists and a bit set up. I think people who do the home stays would have an authentic experience if they stayed with a nice family but just doing two hours it's going to be a bit set up as this one of the main ways these people make money is through tourists. 
Anyway we arrived pretty early around 7am so we were one of the first people visiting so it wasn't busy with tourists at all for us. Stepping off on to one of the islands was really cool, you were literally walking across spungy reeds and the huts that were the people's homes were also made from dry reeds and were really cool teepee shaped huts. Even their boats were made with reeds a were like a big canoe with swirls up tails at the front and back. They used oars to paddle them. We sat down and listened to the president of this island (apparently each island has its own president) talk to us in his native language (they don't speak Spanish) while the guide translated about how they build the islands with what look like blocks of dry soil and tie the, all together. This is what makes them float on the lake, then they stack the reeds on top in a  Criss cross way to make the ground. The huts and everything are then put on top. Apparently they started living on these islands on the lake as they were slaves and fled from the mainland to the lake. It's quite interesting we had time to have a look at their homes and buy handicrafts from them. We could then get on one of he reed woven boats and be taken to the next island, although we had to go on the normal boat coz Matt forgot the wallet so we didn't have any money to pay them the 1 sole. The next island was much like the last but a bit bigger. We then went back to shore to hop back on the bus to the Bolivian border where the company helped us cross. We ran in to Bridget's Irish friends Connor and Lou which was a coincidence. They were staying a couple of nights at the next stop Copacabana so we didn't really get to chat to them. When we arrived at Copacabana, which is a pretty chilled out town on the shores of Lake Titicaca on the Bolivian side (the lake was much more pretty from this side, I was glistening in the sun and it was so big it looked like an ocean - apparently Lake Titicaca is the highest lake in the world) we hopped on a boat to do a tour of Isla del Sol a small quiet island on the lake. We walked over the hill to the other side of the island. There wasn't much on this island - farmers with sheep and donkeys and a couple of restaurants and hostels but the view from the top looking over the lake and other islands with glaziers in the distance was a really pretty view. You could opt to stay a night on this island which some people we chatted to on our travels recommended to do but coz we hadn't booked any accommodation (which the company would have helped you out with but I didn't have enough convincing power for Matt) we weren't really sure where to stay etc so decided not to. Although when we were there it would have been so nice to have one night on this pretty island to relax, coming off our trek and a night bus and a big day today. But we continued on to La Paz and as we left Lake Titicaca we saw the most beautiful rich sunset over the lake. It was stunning and I imagined me and Matt with a bottle of wine at the top of the hill watching the sunset to finish our day - perfect but instead we watched glimpses of it out the bus window haha. Everything happens for a reason though and if we did stay that night we would have missed saying goodbye to Bridget as she was leaving the next day. Continuing our drive in to Bolivia (they showed Me, Myself and Irene in English! Usually most buses show in Spanish!) we drove through quite an arid but beautiful mountainous landscape with glaziers in the distance and the sun setting on Lake Titicaca behind us. I stared out the window until night fell. 

Tags: bolivia, copacabana, cusco, glaziers, isla del sol, lake titicaca, milhouse, peru, reed islands, scenery

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