SA 16: Isla del Sol

I LOVE typing titles like that.  Just sounds so neat.

So today was the visit to the birthplace of the Sun, Manco Inca, his sister wife and Winacocha, the main god of the Incas.  We took the boat to Isla del Sol!

The island itself was really beautiful, reminding me of the shores of Greece or Italy with tonnes of rocks, multicoloured water and lots of hiking paths.  Absolutely breathtaking.  Add in some ruins and some old towns and it made for a nice, peaceful day.

Or it would have if it weren´t for the optional three hour hike.

Now, let me frame the situation.  Daina still has a bit of a cold, mine is recovering nicely.  As we get off the boat, we´re told it´s half an hour to the archeological site and another three hours to walk to the other side of the island, where you would catch the 3:15 boat back to Copacabana.  If you turn back after the ruins, you have until 1:15 before the boat takes you to the other side of the island.

I kind of figured this out with my own limited Spanish, but we were lucky enough to have Sonia, a lovely Parisian girl who spoke fluent English and Spanish, and her friend Steve from England.  The four of us hike up, check out the sites, walk through the Chincana archeological site and then start making our way back.

I´m doing math in my head and I´m thinking that it´s half an hour to the ruins PLUS three hours back to the boat.  At this point it´s 12;15 pm, which makes any attempt at hiking the island impossible (by my math).  Still, we walk past the site administrator and I ask him how long it takes to walk from here to the other side.

Three hours.

After some humming and hawing and asking of the group, I decided I didn´t want to let the hike go.  Daina and our travelling companions were all tired but I wanted to go.  So I handed Daina 30 bolivianos, made sure he was hanging with the other two in case something went wrong, filled my water bottle and went off.

The hike was beatiful, lots of moonscape type rock, blue water and a few challenging hills.  I was really enjoying myself until I pulled out my map…

…and realized I had the boat tickets!!!

Now, at this point, I was past the point of no return.  If I went back to give them to Daina, we´d both be stranded, as the boat would already be off to the South end of the island.  I had to trust that 30 Bolivianos (about 4.25 USD) and a Spanish speaking Frenchwoman, plus Daina´s own resourcefulness would get him to the South dock.

Now, that made the rest of my hike nerve wracking as all hell, as I went through every possible horrible scenario in my head before kind of half realizing that D would probably be okay, but maybe not.  I managed to snap a few pictures along the way (because travel photography is kind of like crack to me, I´ll bust it out in the most inappropriate situations).  I wandered past some cool villages, some awesome vistas, thought I got lost but used my surprisingly awesome Spanish to get back on the right track and made it to the south docks by 2:30 pm, because I am a speed demon.

And there was Daina, Steve and Sonia, eating pizza at a cafe!  Crisis averted!

As Daina put it, nobody questions the blonde tourist and he got on the boat without showing a ticket.  A veggie pizza that was supposed to be a ham pizza later and we were back on the boat on the way to Copacabana.

This has been a pretty magical, beautiful town but I´m about ready to move on.  This place is nice but it only has so much to do before you end up staying for the sake of staying.  Tomorrow is another sleep in day (!!!) and then we´re off to the highest capital city in the world, La Paz!

As a footnote, still no news on Uyuni and if we can pull it off.  Keep the fingers crossed for us.

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