A Travellerspoint blog

Isla del Sol

sunny 30 °C

So from Copacabana we jumped on another boat and headed to ISLA DEL SOL. "The island of the Sun is the legendary Inca creation site and is the birthplace of the sun in Inca mythology" (Lonely Planet).

We walked up the ESCALERA DEL INCA (Inca stairway) to the Inca fountain. A steep walk up not so easy with the sunshine and high altitude but gorgeous (as always!) and along the INca garden. How they make things grow here is still a mystery to me...


Check out the snow covered mountains spotted along the way. These come as a surprise, everytime!


We made it to the temple of the Sun and had a little ceremony, just Brel and I, with candles, Toblerone (the perfect offering for Pachamama as it is pyramid shape just like the Inca windows) cookies and muña which is a really strong mint (it grows all over the island and is really good for stomach aches).

Here's the temple from our boat on the lake-

Closer but sunny-

And our little candles shining from our celebration-

Then on our walk back we met this wonderfull little girl (10 years old like Brel) coming back from work. She was trying to sell wool and necklaces to tourists. She accompanied us along the way. we had so much fun!!! I gave her a banana (which she ate with a spoon), toblerone and cookies and she made us laugh so much.

She told us this mixed up story that didn't always make sense about her mother sending her away to live with her aunt etc...hard to piece together. Not sure exactly where she was from but she definitley was in the mood to play and our meeting spiced up her day, for sure.

I tried on her hat- (these hats are so funny, they just sit on top of the woman's head, they're not fitted).

And she was really mischievous and wanting to play with Brel. She would walk behind him then push him and laugh her head off. Brel enjoyed it too very much. I love this picture of them...


Then on the way we ran into her brothers and sisters???? So she said ... and she had to leave immediately.

We tried to find the pueblo on the island to rent a room somewhere for the night. We just followed all the people walking their donkeys home. Sooo many of them!!!



We found a fantastic room (for $3) and then continued our way up to see the sunset.

Gorgeous but getting cold. We bought gloves along the way.



And just at this point we met a Brazilian man sitting alone on a rock watching the sunset. He wanted to know where we were from and then decided that we were too cool to let go. He made us wait for his 3 friends coming down a mountain and invited us for supper in their hostal. Too much fun. They only spoke portuguese and we all managed to understand each other... Brel was a hit (once again) and left with 4 Brazilian e-mail adresses in the dark with a candle back to our room.

Posted by patsybrel 06:40 Archived in Bolivia Comments (3)

Oh Copacabana

First stop in Bolivia

sunny 28 °C

Crossing the border from Peru to Bolivia was a breeze. A 3 hour bus ride from Puno and there we were on the Bolivian side of Titicaca in a little paradise called Copacabana. Really chilled with a lot of white rastas and reggae fans. The perfect place to stop and rest a little bit ...aside from the scorching sun.


Look at the view. A gorgeous blue sky filled with fluffy clouds (I love those!)-

And the women in Bolivia wear these crazy shimmering irredescent skirts (avec des petits volants) that are layered and covered in sequence. There is definitely a preference for shades of turquoise and yellows. And they always combine it with a matching shawl.

And then the CATHEDRAL. It's moorish in style and so bright against the blue sky. It's all white and quite magnificent.

And then there's the CAPILLA DE VELAS (Candle Chapel). You walk into this narrow room with a long narrow metallic counter on which there are thousands of lit white candles. It's really magical. Brel lit 2 for his parents and I lit 2 for mine. And there's someone there permanently in charge of scraping the melted wax to make room for new wishes. There's even tons of graffiti (made of wax of course) decorating the walls. And of course the virgin on her altar at the very end.

And then the most bizarre custom- BENEDICIONES DE MOVILIDADES. Everyday at 8:30 am and 2:30 pm, people come with their cars in front of the cathedral. They decorate it to the max with fresh flowers and guirlandes made of petals (crazy and meticulous work done by the indigenous women of course), so much that they look like brides. And then they gather around the decorated car and start drinking beer which they purposely throw on the windshield and the tires.....for protection. Then the priest comes and blesses the car and everyone goes home happy and feeling safer (I guess). We even saw buses and taxis. The bus was covered in confetti and dripping beer (should try to get on that bus!). Remember that there are A LOT of car accidents here. We have met so many locals who have lost either their mother or father due to a road accident. And the photo on the front page of the newspaper in Peru was always about a bus or truck accident.

At the very end of the "ceremony", they light these huge packs of fire crackers next to the car. It's soooooo loud you can't imagine. Even if you're far from the cathedral you hear the explosions... (they LOVE firecrackers in Latin American countries. I'll never forget the "cuetes" in Mexico- all day long, all night long).

Check out the car decoration stalls in front of the cathedral.

Brel did some horsebackriding with some young kids while I walked to the CERRO CALVARIO, a mountain to see the stations of the cross. All along the steep but easy walk up, you have the stations of the cross spread out along the path. And a breath taking view of the lake (once again).


Oh yeah, they also buy these miniature houses hoping that they will get one in the near future.

When I got up, I saw these older people (men and women) walking around and around one cross on their bare knees...ouch. You can see them under the bigger cross if you look carefully.

And at sunset, a view from our hotel room. We really lucked out with a view right on the water. Sooo peaceful at night. Just the sound of the water and the boats dancing gently on the water.

And the next morning, a walk to the market was a must. Women selling their (very little) fish ...

And PROOF THAT BREL IS WORKING WHILE TRAVELING. In a gorgeous setting I must say. Maybe it's even inspiring and ideal for learning. I just LOVE this picture. I think it sums up so well what this trip is about.

And not just work but also a lot of play. Kayaking on Titicaca.

And I'm sorry to bother you again with more clouds. I could never get enough of these. It's like foam on a capuccino. Miam.

Posted by patsybrel 06:07 Archived in Bolivia Comments (1)

Taquile island + a temple of fertility

Last adventures in Peru

sunny 28 °C

Forgot to send this entry before starting with Bolivia. Oh well, you'll make sense of it all anyways.

Taquile was the last island visited on our Peruvian tour of Titicaca. It's famous for his textiles (apparently the best in all of Peru) and it is the MEN who make most of these. You can see them all over the island weaving and knitting with 4 needles (they make gorgeous hats and pouches for their coca leaves).

Like the other islands visited, this island has some rigid rules and regulations to follow. Dating back, apparently to pre-inca times. These rules govern their costume as well as their behaviour.

The women wear these long black shawls on their heads with pompoms on the end. The colour and size of the pompoms says if they are married, single or under 13. The men wear different hats, stating the same thing. And their belts, by the symbols and width also say a lot about the wearer. Really neat stuff!

When a boy hits adolescence he starts to carry small stones. If he likes a girl, he throws the stones at her, hitting different parts of her body. Once they get together, they fall in love very quickly (3-4 days, according to our guide). Then they move in with the bride's parents (I hope I'm not mistaking) for 5 years during which they must have at least 2 babies. This is the TEST. If they don't have babies, the woman is kicked off the island and is not worth marrying (I'm not kidding here). If they have their babies (before they get married here- how progressive)then they get married. The wedding is of course a fabulous period of festivities which lasts about a week and during which everyone has fun EXCEPT the bride and groom who must not even smile. This acknowledges that they understand the seriousness of what they are getting into ... Finally, they can move into their own house and start the circle all over again...

First view of the island from our boat-

Young girls (with small pompoms) in the main plaza. They look like widows...

And then, of course, we were immediately attacked by these young saleswomen prying us to buy bracelets. They work in teams, "attacking" you over and over again. And if you should buy 1 of these bracelets, then you're really in trouble because the others see you buying and then come over with their "compra me uno tambien!!!!". Ayayayayayay...

ONe of the many arches on the way down, back to the port-

Patsy meditating on the boat...

We spent the island tours with 2 wonderful boys from Mallorca, Spain. Really nice guys who Brel picked out because one of them had really long dreads and he couldn't stop staring and touching them. They invited us, on our return back to the city, to go check out one last Inca site. And so we went along, knowing that it was a FERTILITY site.

Here is the church attached to the site-

And Brel sitting happily on a "you know what"...
Basically women who can't conceive go there on the full moon and it works everytime.

But the most incredible part was the little "you know what" on top of the church. Hard to see but trust me it was there. Actually from a different angle you can clearly see 2 (1 disappeared as there used to be 3!). Another example of sincretismo? And the catholic church allowed that or did they not notice it? Too funny. I called this picture ZZ top.

Posted by patsybrel 06:03 Archived in Peru Comments (1)

Updating the blog

Coucou les amis,
Je voulais juste vous dire que nous sommmes coinces a La Paz, en Bolivie pcq Brel prend un cours intensif de CHARANGO. Ca me donne la chance de recuperer le retard accumule avec le blogue. J'ecris pas mal ces jours-ci et je vous envoie aussi plein de photos mais je ne suis pas certaine que vous recevez tous les messages annoncants les nouveaux textes. Allez donc voir si vous n'en avez pas manque!

Just a quick message to let you know that we are stuck in La Paz, Bolivia because Brel is taking intensive CHARANGO classes. It gives me the opportunity to back track a little bit and write about some fabulous adventures we've had. I have noticed however that the messages warning you of new entries are not always getting to people's mailboxes so just in case you have not received anything in a while, go check the blog. There are new entries and lots of photos.

Missing you LOTS!


Posted by patsybrel 16:24 Comments (1)


sunny 28 °C

Deuxieme ile visitee, AMANTANI. Nous avons eu la chance de passer la nuit avec une famille locale.

Contrairement a l'ile des UROS, cette ile n'est pas flottante et semble beaucoup plus pauvre. Elle est tres grande (9km carres et a une altitude de 3817m). Les habitants de l'ile sont de differentes communautes et se consacrent principalement a la culture de pommes de terre, du mais, du quinoa et de feves.

La famille chez qui nous sommes restes (la famille de Olga) etait tres pauvre. A part maman Olga, papa, une fille de 15 ans et 1 garcon de 11 ans, il y avait aussi la grand-maman (maternelle) et le frere de Olga qui etait un peu bizarre. Il ne se tenait jamais debout et marchait a 4 pattes un peu comme un gorille. Il regardait toujours Brel en riant et semblait heureux. Je n'ai jamais ose demander ce qu'il avait... Par contre j'ai entendu plus tard, par un guide, qu'il y a beaucoup de handicappes dus aux mariages entre freres et soeurs qui etaient tres communs anciennement.

Nous avons partager le repas du diner en famille. Tous etaient presents a part la fille (que nous n'avons d'ailleurs jamais croise). Repàs tres simple. Soupe de quinoa, 3 pommes de terre et un oeuf dure. Le plus etrange etait qu'il y avait une table et 2 chaises pour Brel et moi mais eux restaient assis par terre devant le petit four traditionnel... a manger pratiquement l'un sur l'autre...et a nous regarder. Et puis il falait bien qu'ils essaient de nous vendre qqchose. ON ne peut pas les plaindre non plus. C'est qu'ils pensent qu'on est tellement riches... J'ai encore du acheter un chapeau tricote a la main.

Nous nous sommes promenes jusqu'a un site sacre utilise pour des rituels et offrandes a la Pacha Mama...Brel a termine la montee a cheval. Vue splendide du lac et magnifique coucher de soleil.

Les femmes de l'ile guettent notre arrivee car chacune va devoir choisir les touristes qu'elle va accueillir chez elle.

Wow, quelle vue du lac ...

Femmes et enfants font leur linge dans l'eau... C'est beau de voir les vetements etales partout-

Et Brel qui voulait se joindre a d'autres enfants dans l'eau. Le soleil tapait fort mais l'eau etait quand meme trop froide pour y plonger entierement son corps-

Les moutons croises en chemins-

Les champs de patates...c'est la saison.

Encore des photos de Brel a cheval-

Sur le chemin du centre ceremoniel-



Les champs vus d'en haut sont vraiment comme des courtes pointes. Dommage que la photo n'a pas conserve les couleurs reelles.


Les boys- trop beaux ces garcons!!! Et comme d'habitude Brel les faisait tellement rire...Celui du bas est Percey, le garcon de notre famille- tellement gentil, aimable, tout doux-une vraie perle!

Brel deguise en garcon de la place...cache dans son poncho pour ne pas que les filles l'invitent a danser lors d'une peña.

UN couple en train de semer des patates. Hommes et femmes sont au rendez-vous! Ils travaillent si fort et son debout a 4 heures du matin, question de s'y mettre avant que le soleil se pointe...et puis ils y sont encore de 19h a 22h, a la lanterne cette-fois. Chapeau!

Deja le depart. La famille nous a laisse au port avec chacun une rose fraichement cueillie.

Et ces jolies filles prises en chemin-

Au revoir dames d'Amantani!

Posted by patsybrel 06:58 Archived in Peru Comments (1)

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