Isla del sol and Copacabana on the way from Bolivia to Peru

Note: This post is from my travel in June, 2013

Copacabana is the main Bolivian town on the shore of Lake Titicaca. It’s a quite a touristic town, very small but filled with restaurants, small shops and backpackers. Copacabana has a cool subtropical highland climate which I was very happy about, since I came from the cold mountains in Bolivia and had freezed my ass of for weeks. It was so sweet to feel the warming sun and sit without jacket there :)

I traveled during early morning and arrived in Copacabana by bus and a small ferry boat, took about 4-5 hours. I went down to the harbour to get the tickets for the first boat to cross over to Isla del Sol which leaves at 8. I costed 25 bolivianos. Then I hunted down a nice place to where to eat breakfast. :)

 

Where I enjoyed my first meal in Copacabana

Where I enjoyed my first meal in Copacabana

Easy to get boat tickets over to Isla del Sol

Easy to get boat tickets over to Isla del Sol for 25 bolivianos

 

Isla del Sol (Island of the Sun) is the largest island in Lake Titicaca. It’s an ancient holy site of the Inca, mostly known because the Incas believed that the God of the Sun was born here. Inca legend says that Viracocha, the bearded God who created the universe, emerged from the waters of Lake Titicaca and created the sun at this location.

On the boat over I started talking to a girl from Spain, Maider and a man from England, Anthony, and since we were all three traveling alone, we joined forces :) We decided to walk south to north, and take back the boat from the other side the next day.

The boat over to Copacabana was easy, it took about 1,5 hours, but when we arrived.. buff! Apparently all the houses and the society is on top of the island, there’s nothing by the lake except for the bridge. And there are quite stiff inca-steps to walk up with all your backpack at altitude! It’s recommended to leave your backpack in your hostel in Copacabana, but I just went straight from La Paz, so I thought… How hard can it be? Haha. Well… hard!

The place we stayed in Yumani during that night costed like 15 bolivians or something, and it was with breakfast included. But it was freezing inside and there was not a how shower (anywhere on the island, almost).

The house were we slept, with the familys kids playing in front

The house were we slept, with the familys kids playing in front (and my backpack!:)

View over some archeological sites from our house

View over some archeological sites from our house

We went out for a walk around to see some of the archeological sites in the area. There are over 80 ruins on the island. Most of these date to the Inca period circa the 15th century AD. We saw a few that were close by and then we climbed up to the highest top of the island to see the sunset. It was absolutely fantastic! All the people from around gathered there to watch it together.

Anthony enjoying the island and the sunset!

Anthony and Maider enjoying the island and the sunset from yet another ruin!

The beautiful sunset!!

The beautiful sunset!!

And me :)

And me :)

We also encountered two llamas having some fun and enjoying themselves, for a veery long time. I took plenty of photos, I just found the situation so funny, and they made this particularly funny sounds… Yes, I have it on video also… Haha. And it was a fantaastic location! :)

Beautiful scenery...

Beautiful scenery…

Beautiful llamas...

Beautiful llamas…

They are reaally enjoying themselves...

They are reaally enjoying themselves…

We then wen’t around ”in town” to find a place where we could eat dinner.The life in the island is tranquil, there is no noise, no motorized traffic and no rubbish on the streets, only animals and nature.

After the sunset it got really dark, and there were no lights on the streets! We survived not falling thanks to our head torches. We found a great little house who served dinner to us, we were the only guests, and I was so happy about having candle lights – its so cozy and totally missing from every other restaurant in south america, haha. The dinner was about 35 bolivianos and totally worth it. Then we went back to our cold beds to catch the sunrise early.

Our view while we ate breakfast :)

Our view while we ate breakfast :) (and the other swedish traveleres we met who were stupid)

We had breakfast outside our home to a view over the Lake Titicaca. Beautiful.
Geographically the terrain is harsh, it’s rocky and not so much growth, but it’s has beautiful views from wherever you are since you are above on a hill.

There are about 800 families on the whole island, and their main economic activity is farming, fishing and some tourism. Archaeologists have discovered evidence that people lived on the island as far back as the third millennium before christ!

Wherever you go on the island, you find a new archeological site. And there is no one else but you there. It’s free to walk and sit wherever you want. I walked around imagining how it was like over a thousands years ago.

So cute with all the colorful fabrics :)

So cute with all the colorful fabrics :)

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Enjoying ourselves in our ruin house ;)

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Me and Anthony :)

Actually, at the most famous place on the island, there were a couple of ”guides” there, one was about 6 years old and the other about 10. They explained the story about the mythology and the archeology and you can give them a small tip to show our appreciation. Actually, without them, we would not have seen what it was that was ”so famous” about that.. haha.

We watched the The Rock of the Puma, or Titi Kharka, after which the lake is named, which is a large formation of a rock that looks like a Puma (sort of… but the guide showed us ;)

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The Puma….. Its there somewhere, I swear!

Then there was a Inca table that was used for human sacrifices..

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And us chilling at the Inca table :) No sacrifices here!

And the most important, the Footsteps of the Sun – there are like some ”supernatural” marks in a rock, where it is said that it was there the God of the Sun took his first steps.

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The ”magical” footsteps of the sun…

Well. Maybe that wasn’t to much to brag about, the archeological sites and the scenery around is much nicer! :)

While getting closer to the north of the island, I noticed there’s like a special harmony there, you can feel it all over your body. I felt so good there, good vibrations, I don’t know what it was…. but it was something special about this place. I could have easily spent a week or so there just doing nothing, just feeling and breathing and being happy.

 

Panoramic over the walk

Panoramic over the walk

Beautiful lake!

Beautiful lake!

Terraces and blue sky

Terraces and blue sky

Walking around the island!

Walking around the island!

Some pigs and other animals by the beach :)

Some pigs and other animals by the beach :)

There are many agricultural terraces and llamas, donkeys, and then the island is surrounded with all this water, sometimes there are rocks, sometimes there’s beach, and on the other side of the water you can catch the glimps of the  big snowy mountain. There are so many contrasts! Then here in the north of the island, we also got on lower grounds and it was getting hotter, and there was a beach and some people from the villages around :)

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Farmers working

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Woman and her son by the beach

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Fantastic views!

When we arrived at Cha’llapampa, the town from where the boat leaves in the northern end of the island, we still had some time before the boat left back to Copacabana. We went to the Museo de Oro which shows different treasures that have been discovered underwater around the island. Then we bought some snacks and food.

During our walk around the island we had to pay some small fees because we were trespassing from the south to the norht of the island or something like that, also the museum was like 10 bs. But other than that, just beautiful silence and harmony.
We laughed at one guy who had got there with his big suitcase with wheels. Really not the best place where to bring that! Not at all in Bolivia I would say…. ;)

We took the boat back (and they let me steer a while:) and once back in Copacabana we enjoyed ourselves in the last hours of sun, just sitting outside a bar/restaurant, before splitting to different places.We all had buses leaving at 18,  I was on my way to Cusco in Peru again, Anthony to Arequipa in Peru and Maider to La Paz in Bolivia. I’m so glad I found these two, had such a nice time with them.

Stearing the boat back ;)

Stearing the boat back ;)

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Enjoying food and nice company in the sun!

I went with Huancayo tours from Copacabana to Cusco, a good company with nice buses and first class. :)

On the bus I met a guy named Sebastian who soon had been traveling for a year around the world and had visited like 55 countries!!…. And I will only visit like 6 countries in a year.. haha. He must have had a crazy schedule!

Well… That was that!

Don’t miss Isla del Sol if you are going between Bolivia and Peru!! :)

 

 

Christ the redeemer, Beaches and Hang gliding

On Tuesday morning Kike took me to a park there in Santa Teresa, Parque das ruinas. Santa Teresa is the name of the neighborhood we are living in, and it’s located on a top of a hill. In the park there is a viewpoint there with a view over almost the whole city. Really cool.

View over the center from the viewpoint in Parque das ruinas in Santa Teresa. That cone-thing there is the cathedral!

View over the center from the viewpoint in Parque das ruinas in Santa Teresa. That cone-thing there is the cathedral!

View over Rio and sugarleaf mountaing from Parque das ruinas in Santa Teresa

View over Rio and sugarleaf mountaing from Parque das ruinas in Santa Teresa

Christ the redeemer seen from Santa Teresa

Christ the redeemer seen from Santa Teresa

I was expecting rain in the evening once again, but since the sky was really clear I took advantage of it and went to the Corcovado mountain, the highest in Rio with it’s 700 meters. It’s on that mountain top that one of the seven wonders of the world – Christ the Redeemer is located. I took the famous Corcovado train up (expensive 56 reails.. not so special…but ok) once up there, cooool. I was actually impacted by the statue of Jesus Christ.

It is considered the largest Art Deco statue in the world, with it’s 30 meters, not including the 8 meters pedestal. Just between the arms it is 28 meters wide.. and it weighs 635 tonnes!!

The corcovado train

The corcovado train

The famous Corcovado train that goes up to the christ.

The famous Corcovado train that goes up to the christ.

Christ the redeemer, one of the 7th wonders of the world!

Christ the redeemer, one of the 7th wonders of the world!

The view from up there is spectacular too. Since Rio have many mountains and hills there are many view points over the city, all with different perspective.

It’s quite difficult to get a good picture with Christo, there are so much people there on the platform and the statue is so high. And the people are really baaaad photographers too! Haha. I took a few pictures for them, and they are good. But when they take a picture of me, they always cut something of or get some head in the middle. So in the end, I took my own picture with timer, haha. I think it was a better result ;)

In the evening I hanged out at Kike and Vickys place, fixing a little with the computer. We were all three being nerds haha. But it’s needeable sometimes :)

When I let someone else take my picture with Christ

When I let someone else take my picture with Christ

Hello Christ the redeemer. I think I'm best at taking my own pics. haha

When I take a picture with Christ

View over Rio and Lagoa

View over Rio and Lagoa

View over Rio from Corcovado

View over Rio from Corcovado

Having LAN. Hahah.

Having LAN. Hahah.

Next day I got a message from the instructor I had been in contact with about doing Hang Gliding over Rio de Janeiro, he said “the weather conditions are really optimal for today, so I would recommend to hang glide today instead for tomorrow!”. Haha. So I did!

Hang gliding is a popular activity in Rio because of it’s geography, the steep mountains and the beaches provide perfect take-off locations and great landing zones.

My instructor showed me some pictures, one with Kurt Cobain. Apparently he was his instructor too and flew with him two times here in Rio, how cool is that?! :)

We went to Pedra Bonita where there is a take off-point. It wasn’t really much more then putting on a weird suit and then “just look at the horizon and run when I say to run, and never stop running” haha. Then, just like that, you were flying!

The take off at Pedra Bonita

The take off at Pedra Bonita

Soooo cool. I was really surprised (and a little bit sad) that I didn’t feel any adrenaline kick at all, it was just super calm and quiet with an amazing view, no problems talking up there at all. The flight was about 13 minutes total, and it actually does feel quite long.

It costed 250 reales to fly, and additional 100 reales for video and photo. But the instructor forgot to tell me about that, so I didn’t have enough money… and they gave it to me for 50. :)

Hang gliding over Rio de Janeiro!!

Hang gliding over Rio de Janeiro!!

From the Praia do Pepino in São Conrado I took the bus to Ipanema beach and met up with Kike. It was late afternoon and it was a very comfortable weather. We sat there and talked a few hours, then walked to Copacabana beach in the sunset, went to the handycraft market there and then found a place to eat some dinner before heading back home.

With Kike at the beach

With Kike at the beach

Helluu!

Helluu!

Sunset over Copacabana beach. Brazil is the world leading in volley boll.. they play it everywhere

Sunset over Copacabana beach. Brazil is the world leading in volley boll.. they play it everywhere

Next day I didn’t really have anything planned, so I went to the beach again. Kike said that Copacabana is more crowdy and more dangerous then Ipanema since sometimes people from the favelas around go there. Also, he said that I should find some tourists or a nice couple and ask them to watch my stuff if I go down to the beach to take a bath. And so I did. And guess what, they were Swedish!! Haha. So fun. So we hanged the whole day there in the sun, they were leaving at night so they were also enjoying the last sun before going back to the winter.

Ipanema during the day is… buff! Too loud. The Ipanema beach was selected the best city beach of the world by CNN… but yeah.. to me it was too loud. So much people walking around selling stuff, it’s nice that you really don’t need to leave your place and still can get food and drinks or jewelry or clothes, but it get’s really tirening to hear people scream what they are selling every two minutes, and some people even have a megaphone!

Anyhow. The sun was shining and the water was really cold, so I can’t complain too much when it’s winter storm in Sweden ;) And I enjoyed talking Linda and Johan (?), they were very funny and crazy haha.

Typical brazilian!

Typical brazilian!

Typical brazilian2!

Typical brazilian 2!

With these two funny swedish people, both from skåne. The girls name is Linda, the guy I think Johan..

Typical swedish! Haha.

Later I walked towards Copacabana and visited the rock between the beaches, a nice hang out in the city. I was about to go to a couchsurfing meeting, I was in the area, but I didn’t have the address, so I went back home instead (with the metro for the first time, which works really fine too!).. and phew! I’m so glad I did that, because about 1 minuted after I arrived inside, it started to rain SUPER heavily! Vicky came like 15 minutes after me and was soaking wet just by walking from the bus stop and home, a walk of 30 meters, haha.

View from the rocks between Ipanema and Copacabana beach.

View from the rocks between Ipanema and Copacabana beach. The clouds are getting heavy!

Yesterday we were all sitting by our computers, and asking ourselves what we would do if we didn’t have computers. Today we got the answer, because the lights went out and so the did internet. Me and Vicky exchanged some handy craft, she gave me a pair of beautiful earrings she had made herself, and I gave her a bracelet I’ve made. Kike sang and played some music for us. So super nice and cozy evening too :)

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When the lights are out, we lit some candles and get creative!

My last day I spent shopping a little bit. First I did my first Brazilian wax in Brazil, hehe. You have to do it when you are in Brazil, right? :) It went super fine, didn’t hurt almost at all compared to the ones I’ve had in mexico, peru and argentina… here they are pro ;) And it was cheap too!!! 25 reales (in Jericoacoara they wanted 80 reales, so I didn’t do it there).

Then I had a lovely sandwish around the corner there, with cheese, banana and canela. LOVE!! Why don’t we have that kind of sandwish in Sweden?!?!

MmmmM!!!! Love the sandwiches here. This one has banana, cheese and cinnamon!

MmmmM!!!! Love the warm sandwiches here. This one has banana, cheese and cinnamon!

Then I walked towards Rua Buenos Aires where it’s filled with small stores. I was looking for a small Christ to add to my collection around my neck. After visiting many jewelry stores, I finally found the one I liked – and it was also the cheapest one. Never give up! ;)

I also visited an armador-store, where you can by stuff for bracelet making.. he he. Can’t help myself. I also bought some lace to organize Vickis ear rings, because she have them all in a box and barely uses them because it’s a mess. Also I found a nice world-map that I got for Kike. ;)

In the evening we went out to the local pub/restaurant here in Santa Teresa for a good bye dinner. We shared a big veggie pizza and some beers. :)

Street art ;)

Street art ;) Hehe.

I organized Vickis earrings a little. Most of them she had made her self! But she stored them in a box and never used them!

I organized Vickis earrings a little. Most of them she had made her self! But she stored them in a box and never used them!

Good bye dinner with my lovely hosts. Had veggie pizza at the local restaurant/bar

Good bye dinner with my lovely hosts. Had veggie pizza at the local restaurant/bar

My last night in Santa Teresa. All this street-hang, gonna miss!

My last night in Santa Teresa. All this street-hang, gonna miss!

Actually, I feel that Rio is one of the safest big cities I’ve been in. There are many hobos here sleeping outside, but they are not dangerous. And if you don’t visit the favelas, then it’s no difference to walk around in Stockholm or Barcelona.

It’s a little sad that It’s time to leave.. Now that I know how to get around in the city and that I feel at home here. I have really enjoyed my stay here in Rio… there are many more things to do here too. But time’s up! :(

 

Brain short circuit – slowly coming back

I have been meaning to start writing for a very long time, but it has just been to much for me. You know when you have tooooo many things to write down so instead of just starting you get a short-circuit in your brain and watch tv-series and do bracelets instead?? Exactly.

That’s pretty much how I’ve felt the last couple of months. I don’t know why. I’ve felt quite inspired but not productive.. I’m really not good in handling strain right now. 

But today I’m taking a few short steps in starting writing again. Maybe it will come back.

What’s keeping me back is that I have missed to write about a few very important moments in my trip: 

1) My visit to the Island of Sun in Copacabana, Bolivia, where I really enjoyed the company of my fellow alone-travelers Maider from Spain and Anthony from England (where I later met Anne on my way back too!)

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One of the beaches on the north side (challapampa) of Isla del Sol in the lake Titikaka in Copacabana, Bolivia.

2) When I was in Cusco in Peru and got to meet with my friends from Sweden, Mats & Ewa, Jacob Spijk and David & Carol, such a weird feeling to speak Swedish and fika!

Having lunch with Ewa, Mats and Jacob in Cuzco (notice the snus on the table, so swedish!)

Having lunch with Ewa, Mats and Jacob in Cuzco (notice the snus on the table, so swedish!)

3) My trip to Puerto Maldonado where I visited the jungle, ziplined through the rainforest and kajaked in the amazonas river, got to pet some monkeys and parrots and also got to spend time with three great Norwegian guys, two French girls and a Brazilian couple :)

With the greatest group in front of the Amazonas river in Puerto Maldonado

With the greatest group in front of the Amazonas river in Puerto Maldonado

So you understand that I have a few adventures to write about, and thousands of pictures to share.  Well.. not really… Because my waterproof camera got lost in the Amazonas river together with all my pictures from the second and third point here above. Stupid stupid stupid me. I have a few cellphone pics from the Swedish invasion and all the pictures the norwegian guys took (thank god for that!) but it’s not really the same.

I think that’s one of the reasons why I haven’t written about it, because it reminds me of my lost, I can still remember every picture I’ve taken. Yes, I’ve always been very sentimental about my pictures…. Still remember and “cry about” (not literally) the two times my camera got stolen – about the pictures that got lost and that I’ll never see again. The memories slowly shade away. So no, I’m not sad about the camera itself (I can buy a new one) but I’m greatly sad because of the pictures of the future memories that got lost.

Well. I think this will be enough for this entry. By the way, I’ve recently started to look into Brazil… and woooow I’m looking so much forward to it, a warm sun, turquoise sea and a white sand beach….. scuba dive and surf…. Ahhh!!