Thursday, December 14, 2006

Isla del Sol Part II

Out to the island again, this time to the North. Cloudy views of the Cordillera Real in the distance as we swing away from the mainland.

Looks like my kinda mountain weather

The boat drops us at Challapampa, [GPS: 15.99767A, 69.18240W] where I whizz off, round to the museum (totally uninteresting but you need the ticket to visit the other stuff).

Round the beach

Up the hill..

I am the the first! The reason I'm racing is that there is a large group of kids disembarking, and I want to be long gone by the time they get up here.

The sheep also want to escape the masses of squeaky irritating minors, and take desperate measures

Anyway, there are three things to see at this end of the island, apart from the beautiful views. [GPS: 15.98889S, 69.20930W]

First is the Roca Sagrada, or Sacred Rock, where Con Tiqui first made humans. I have to admit that it was a weeny bit disappointing, and at first I walked past it, until a local "tat" seller pointed me right. I guess I was expecting a big black impressive thing standing out, rather than a lump of rock that, to be honest, looks just like all the other rock in the area!

Again the sheep had joined in, this time in paying homage

Second is Chincana, or El Laberinto (The Labyrinth). This is pre-Inca (woo!), and was a seemingly random collection of interconnected stone rooms. Don't know more than that, sorry!

In pre-Inca times, the two fake doors fooled them every time

Third is the Mesa de Sacrificio which I'm guessing means Table of Sacrifices. Wasn't sure what this was, presumably another lump of rock in the area. Anyway I couldn't find it.

I guess you could perform sacrifices here. More suited to picnics though, I'd say..

So, the touristy stuff over, I could crack on with a good walk, across to the far side of the island where my boat would leave at 3:30pm (or so we were told). The path across was excellently maintained, which was good, but seemed to follow the ridge of the island, i.e. go over the top of every hill!

Peruvians watch and learn! This is how you make a path!!

I've always been a fan of going *round* big unnecessary hills..

The view was gorgeous in all directions, and once again the weather held. I have had fantastic luck with the weather here. Theoretically we're heading into rainy season, yet I've enjoyed bright glorious sunshine every single day. I almost suspect this is the flip-side of the "El Nino" soaking that Northern Peru is experiencing.

The breeze ripples the otherwise pond-like lake

Another reason for keeping the pace up is that I want to eat lunch at the Hostel Inti Kala [GPS: 16.03767S, 69.14995W] that I indentified on my last visit. Reach there and order the set lunch, which is trout with fried potatoes and salad (alert! step away from the salad! do not touch the...). The view here is wonderful, and I think I'd stay here if I were to remain overnight on the island.

Has to be one of the best views I've ever had when eating lunch. Almost up there with MBs on Middlesex St EC3A!

Back down for the boat at [GPS: 16.03875S, 69.14456W]. The wind is picking up, and there is a storm across the lake, though the mountains are slightly clearer now.

Cordillera Real with a boat "crash barrier" in the foreground

Makes for some interesting waves on the return trip! I sit up top with a Spanish chap and Australian girl. The fresh air is good, but it's a bit nippy! We make it through the small "pass" between two rocks with inches to spare! Back to a hot shower (power's out, muahahaha!), and then dinner with my new amigos :)

Dinner is at what seems to be becoming my usual haunt in Copacabana. Not entirely sure what the name of the place is, I think it´s called something imaginative like "Tourist Restaurant", but it has a very Rasta - Bob Marley theme, which multi-colour lampshades and pizzas with a muffin-base (surprisingly this kinda works - not at all filling!). The main reason I love it is of course their endless devotion to Manil Chao (total guess at the spelling), an apparently-French bloke who sings in Spanish with a bit of English! He´s funky, and my quest for tomorrow is to find a bootleg compilation of his somewhere in the markets here!

P.S. The sun-clock thing I talked about yesterday? Apparently it was where they used to hang people, not tell the time! Oops! Horca = Gallows!

P.P.S. The gorgeous sun-soaked beach shots will end today, don´t worry! Even I´m getting bored of them! Sorry!

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