08.01.2011 - 14.01.2011 22 °C
After leaving Cusco we headed for Lake Titicaca where we crossed the border into Bolivia. We decided to miss visiting the floating islands from Puno as we had heard poor reviews so we headed straight for Copacabana. The town is on the edge of the lake which is one of the highest navigational lakes in the world at over 3,000m. It looks more like the sea though as it is 230km long and 97km wide. It is a busy wee town as many tourists come here to visit Isla De La Sol and Isla de la Luna (the Islands of the Sun & Moon). These were sacred Inca islands being the birthplace of the Sun and first Inca King in Inca Mythology. Unfortunatley, we didn´t have time to visit the islands as we needed to get to La Paz to meet friends, however, we did witness the "benediciones de moviliadads" which is the blessing of the cars that occurs daily in front of the Cathedral. The locals decorate their cars, vans and lorries with bright coloured flowers, ribbons and confetti before spraying them with beer and wine. This daily event was really bizzare (especially since it wasn´t DB9s they were blessing!) and it seemed like a total waste of alcohol although we could imagine Linda´s dad taking his Honda round to join in! Linda also managed to befriend a baby alpapca on the beach which she fell in love with.
We arranged to meet Chris, Leah, Paula and Linda (our Auzzie and English friends who we travelled with in Chile & Argentina) in La Paz the following night. It was great to meet up with them all again. Over the next few days we also met up with Luke (out friend from NI who we first met in Peru), Ewan and Amy from Aberdeen (who were the first Scots we met travelling back in the Torres Del Paine), Danny and Riona (the Irish couple who we did the Inca trail with) and Damien and Kim (a couple from Belfast who we met back home at our friends wedding last summer). As there was such a big group of us the inevitable happened and we ended up having a good few nights out with everyone which was a great laugh.
One of the days myself, Chris and Luke decided to join four English boys to take on a group of seven local boys at football. At this altitude of 3600-3800m everyone seems to get out of breath just walking along corridors or up stairs so I cannot begin to describe how tough it was trying to run for an hour! It was a good laugh and home nations came out on top although I think that may be due to us being a bit bigger than most of them and not the actual skill on the pitch.
A group of us decided to sign up to cycle "The Death Road" which was shown on the Top Gear Boliva special last Christmas. It is renouned for being the world´s most dangerous road with some parts being only 3.2m wide and with vertical drops of up to 600m high. We decided to choose our tour company carefully as we spoke to some Dutch guys who had just done it but said that their bike brakes broke as they were going down. We were a bit nervous when starting especially when we were told you have to cycle on the cliff side of the road if any vehicle is coming up the road. Thankfully, there is now an alternative highway so not many vehicles actually use this road anymore.
It was a great day and one of the best adrenaline experiences we have ever had. A good few of our group had falls at high speed but the saftey equipment provided by the company was first class so no-one got anything worse than a couple of grazes. Thankfully my crash involved me going round a corner into the mountain side and not going off the other way! At one point though when we had stopped to take photos we witnessed a girl (who was actually cycling fairly slowly) fall off her bike and her bike went tumbling over the edge. She stopped well before the edge though so she was okay albeit she looked a bit shaken by what had happened.
Another day myself and Ewan decided to go and play golf at the highest golf course in the world. It was really expensive (by Bolivia standards) and unbelievably stuck up so we were in two minds whether to play or not. We decided we should since we would probably never be back but just before playing we checked the clubs we were hiring and they were the worst set of clubs either if us had ever seen. We just left it as we knew we would not enjoy it playing with these aweful clubs. Luckily we were ony a short walk away from the Moon Valley so Linda and Amy joined us for a walk round this amazing place. This valley is a series of walkways through canyons and pinnacles of volcanic rock. The morning worked out well as the landscape was unlike anything we have ever seen before.