Wednesday, July 3, 2013

La Paz to Copacabana

We were very happy to make it to La Paz. We were able to score a room for two nights in the recommended hotel from Lonely Planet, the Hotel Rosario. It was really nice. The staff was super friendly in every way and they did all of our laundry, which was quite a bag full. Our first dinner out was a nice vegetarian salad bar with a piece of trout as the entrĂ©e. After dinner our server offered us a special shot of liquor. He poured the shots at the next table, keeping the bottle covered. I knocked it right down and Patricia had a sip. Afterwards he brought the bottle (really a one gallon jar) to the table and uncovered it. It had a 4 foot snake inside! That will one up the worm in the Mezcal bottle! Patricia was a little disturbed ☺ The next day was sightseeing in La Paz. The weather was perfect. We checked out several churches, arts areas, and a great public park. It’s hard to describe the three dimensional nature of La Paz. Think Bisbee with a million people. Up and down everywhere. In the park we met a nice French couple and he and I played a game of chess with an outdoor board and 3 foot high pieces. It was very pleasant. That evening we went to the municipal theatre to see a native dance production. No snake liquor that night. It was time to get back to riding. Our goal was to make it to near Copacabana, a nice tourist town on Lake Titicaca. We knew it was going to be a long day and the intermediate towns were iffy for hotels. To get us a better chance we grabbed a taxi the first thing in the morning to take us back up to El Alto where the La Paz airport is. La Paz is at 12,000 ft and the airport is at 13,500 ft. It’s 6 miles of 5% grade in between. In El Alto we mounted the bikes and headed out – in to an amazing traffic scene for a Sunday morning. Market day and microbuses and people everywhere for about 10 miles. Finally it calmed down and we were rolling in the countryside. We found a nice little roadside restaurant with trout for lunch. We spent the day riding at around 13,000 and it took its toll. We made it to Estrecho de Tiquina about 3 PM and took the ferry across a narrow stretch of Lake Titicaca. On the far side we were very much hoping for a hotel, and there was none. It was looking a little gloomy. A police officer suggested a microbus, and we found one in 2 minutes and were on our way to Copacabana for $4.50. It was a tight fit with 14 of us in the 7 passenger van ☺ In Copacabana we again hit the jackpot with Lonely Planet and were able to get a fantastic room overlooking the harbor. A penthouse with windows all around and stained glass, Jacuzzi tub, kitchenette, fireplace, and space heaters. Woo Hoo! Today we took a boat to the Isla del Sol and toured Inca ruins and hiked the length of the island. It was spectacular with views of Lake Titicaca and the Cordillera Real all day. What a beautiful place. In the morning we head towards Cuzco to meet a friend for the Inca Trail. Crossing the border into Peru early in the morning. Stay tuned. PS: we are now two days into Peru but no wifi until now. So we will update the blog again tonight

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