Isla del Sol    

Image for Entry 1196295209 We are on the boat back from the Isla del Sol. We got up early, ate breakfast and caught the 8:00 boat to the island. It was packed and about 20 minutes out, it stopped. One of the boat guys came up to the roof where we were sitting and requested 4 volunteers to sit on the edge of the roof in front of the guard rail enclosed seating area to fix the ballance of the boat. The boat still didn't start moving so we speculated that they had overloaded it. As another boat pulled up, we thought this definitely was the case and I got ready to move to this other boat. Instead, a couple more passengers hopped from this 2nd boat onto our overloaded boat and the now empty 2nd boat sped back to the shore. Our boat started moving again.

It was a breeazy ride but the sun was warm. In the distance we could see a large flat cloud bank and dark patches of rain. Then Rowshan noticed a water spout stretching from the water to the cloud. It faded and then another, much larger one, formed. It was strange because the weather was so calm and the lake was smooth.

The island is fairly rocky and has only a few areas of trees, probably planted. There are lots of sheep grazing on patches of grass sprouting between the rocks. The port is in a tiny town, mostly consisting of restaurants and businesses selling snacks and drinks to tourists.

We walked through the town and were stopped by a man selling tickets to the museum and ruins in the North. The museum was one room containing ceramics, bones, and other artifacts, mostly found underwater. It would have been nicer if it had more information about the sites on the island. We headed up the path which revealed stunning views of the deep blue clear lake, rocky hills of the island, and, off in the distance, snow-capped mountains barely revealed through the clouds.

We passed through the yard of the primary school which had donkeys grazing and some piglets sunning themselves on the path. We stopped at a sacred rock. I think it was supposed to be a grave of one of the Incas.

The Isla del Sol is the setting for the Incan creation myth. The first 2 Incas, the son and daughter of the sun, were supposed to have descended to earth and landed on a sacred stone on the island. Then they went on to create the Incan race.

A stone path had been built across the island-- a gringo trail since it seems only tourists (and people selling things to tourists) use it. But it is a nice path, running along the ridges of the hills that make up the island. Eventually we came to what were probably the largest ruins on the island. There was something called a "sacrificial table."

Across from it was what I think was the sacred stone of the legend but am not entirely sure.

The ruins were a series of walls, window areas and doorways made of rocks.

I guess after seeing the ruins in Peru, one gets kind of jaded toward Incan ruins. But these definitely had a beautiful location. The island reminded me a little of Samos, Greece, and the Princes Islands in Istanbul, except with less trees. All the islands shared the combination of ancient ruins, hot sun, and beautiful bays.

Back on the crest trail, we walked up and down. There were occasional ruins of house and a few non-ruined structures.

One one hill there was a llama and baby.

We ate lunch at the top of another hill. In the distance the metal roofs of a town across the lake glittered silver.

In a couple hours we reached the south of the island where we had to buy antoerh ticket for the ruins in the South... most of which we couldn't figure out how to get to.

We reached a village and headed down the "Inca Stairway". Every now and then, we had to jump to the edge of the path as a kid chased several donkeys down the stairs. Several groups of donkeys overtook us as well as a few llamas. When we got to the port, it was full of donkeys and llamas. I guess they were waiting for supply boats. We had some time to kill before the boat left so we walked along the shore to see a huge reed boat with 2 puma heads.

To get there we passed an area where people were working on another reed boat. They had strings laid out to form guides and had placed some bundles of reeds on the grid. They were bending, flattening and braiding reeds, but I think this was to make the little reed llamas everyone on the island sells. We asked how long it takes to make a boat and were told 9-12 months.

On the way back to Copacabana, the air had gotten colder and we could hear thunder in the distance. We stopped briefly at some ruins in the south, which had rather nice inset windows, and then headed back to Copacabana.

(written later)
There was a beautiful sunset over the lake. Then Rowshan and I had a nice dinner which included soup that was really hot (unlike the previous 2 meals we'd had)!

As we headed back to the hotel, we heard music from the sports center in the middle of the square. We squeezed into the crowded doorway and could barely see some brightly costumed dancers. It was part of an all day physical education festival. We managed to go up to the balcony and see the final dance. It was energetic and involved the dancers hitting their sandals on the floor.

That night, Copacabana decided to prove me wrong by becoming extremely loud. After the dance and physical fitness demonstrations were over, the town resounded with the sounds of brass band music. Then a DJ took over and played dance music into the night.

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