Lake Titikaka, Copacabana and La Paz, Bolivia

Lake Titikaka is enormous and stunning. By sheer volume of water, it is the largest lake in South America and forms part of the border between Bolivia and Peru.

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I went to Copacabana from Cusco ny night bus, passing through quite an easy border control to find myself in the small Bolivian town. My main reason for visiting Copacabana was to head to the Islas de Sol y Luna – two islands which were beleived by the Incas to be the birthplaces of the sun and the moon.

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The boat out of Copacabana was cheap and very rickety. There are waves on this lake, and big ones, so it’s probably not advisable if you get sea sick. Honestly, the islands are just islands, but it was nice having a walk around them, especially when it was sunny.

 

Back on mainland and I took a collectivo from Copacabana to La Paz.

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Once again I have to be honest with you here; I did not like La Paz. The highest recognised capital in the world, the Bolivian city’s altitude made me feel quite dizzy, the weather was so grey and horrible that I was unable to see the famous Mount for the time that I was there. Perhaps a trip down Death Road would have cheered me up, but with the trusted tour guides charging over $100, such a thing wasn’t possible.

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So I was cold and grumpy, and thought I would cheer myself up by going to the curious sounding “Witches Market”. But, oh god, there were dead llama foetuses hanging off the walls!

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It could probably go unwritten that I got out of there as soon as I could.

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San Cristobel de las Casas

After a hefty night bus journey from Merida, I finally arrived in San Cristobel de las Casas.

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Busy Street in San Cristobel

Set in the central highlands of the Mexican state Chiapas, San Cristobel is a delightful city featuring cobbled streets and lots and lots of churches. The city reminded me very much of Antigua in atmosphere, though perhaps not quite as big or busy. It is cold here though – I actually had to bring out the jeans and jacket. This is when I realize how much I adore blue skies, sun and hot weather.

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View from one of the hilltop churches

I attended a free walking tour here which I found included free samples of the region’s coffee, soup and mezcal – a Mexican drink very similar to tequila, though perhaps more lethal if such a thing is possible.

Some of the churches are worth a browse too. Two of them require walking up a number of steps, but I thought the view worthwhile and it was very nice to get out of the city centre to far quieter climes.

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Main Square in San Cristobel

I would hate this blog to turn into a rendetion of me drinking in different Central American cities, but what with it being Cinco de Mayo, a holiday celebrating the Mexican army’s defeat against the French in the Battle of Puebla, I felt it a must (although Cinco de Mayo is not actually very well celebrated across Mexico apart from in Puebla and is more an American holiday, I still needed some excuse for my Friday night drinking).

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Street art of San Cristobel

As most of the people I went out with from the hostel returned home and I was still feeling energetic, I entered a random nightclub just off the main park alone for ashamedly not the first time in this trip. There I found some very lovely Mexicans who seemed to think it was their duty to always keep a drink in their hand and we danced the night away to a mixture of Reggaeton and club classics.

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Tourist “train” in San Cristobel

Returning back to the hostel early in the morning, I ran into a Dutch girl I had met in the bar the night before who had gone to bed early to catch an early bus. “Is it four o’clock already” I tipsily asked. She laughed at my amazement.

So much for having a quiet two weeks and working on my novel! Onto Oaxaca by yet another night bus where I might hopefully be more productive.