The End of the Road – La Paz, Lake Titicaca, and Lima

 

Lake Titicaca, Bolivia

An overnight bus from Uyuni brought us to La Paz, Bolivia. Sitting at 12,000 ft in elevation, the city climbs from the valley floor up into the surrounding hills. To connect the different hillside neighborhoods, the city built an aerial cable car system which opened in 2014. So far three lines have been built and three more are expected to be finished in the coming years.

Downtown La Paz

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View looking down one of the aerial cable car lines as we went up into the hills

We spent most of our time in La Paz strolling through the many neighborhoods and busy streets.We loved observing the local women in their unique style of dress.  During the Inquisition, the Spanish forced indigenous people to adopt the European clothing style of the day. Today Andean women of indigenous descent still maintain this traditional dress code which includes a 19th century European bowler hat, a pleated-skirt and shawl.

Women in traditional dress in La Paz

From La Paz we took a bus to Copacabana which sits on the shores of Lake Titicaca, which in turn sits on the border between Peru and Bolivia. . At 12,500 ft elevation, Lake Titicaca is known as the highest navigable lake in the world. At Copacabana we hopped on a boat and sailed two hours to Isla del Sol, an island in the southern part of the lake.

Agricultural terraces on Isla del Sol

We stayed on the southern end of the Isla del Sol in the small town of Yumani. There are no motorized vehicles or paved roads on the island.  Amazingly, the inhabitants here have turned the steep, rocky terrain into an agriculture wonderland by terracing the majority island in order to grow fava beans, quinoa, and corn.

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A church in Yumani surrounded by eucalyptus trees

There are over 80 ruins on the Isla del Sol, mostly dating to the Inca period circa the 15th century. According to Incan mythology, Isla del Sol is where the creator of the universe stepped out of the waters of Lake Titicaca and created the sun.

Pilcocaina, Incan ruins dating to the 15th centurty

An ancient Incan Road set along the high, rocky backbone of the island connects the north of the island to the south.  We spent the day hiking along the road taking in the incredible views as we passed small villages and secluded beaches.

Hiking along the old Incan road at the top of the island

The end of the road took us to the far northern tip of the island. Here lies the island’s most spectacular Incan ruins at Chincana. A series of stone walls and interconnected doorways connect to form a large complex of rooms. Next to the complex, a large stone table presumably used for rituals or sacrifices sits in an open field.

View from the ruins at Chincana

Incan ritual table

Chincana ruins

Nettie starting the trek back to Yumani

Ripple marks in sandstone

Fava beans

Challapampa, a town on the north end of Isla Del Sol

The furriest pig I have ever met

Bolivia is known for its Alpaca products. Here is Dan with his new, super soft sweater!

We left Isla del Sol and made our way back to La Paz. In La Paz, we said farewell to Nettie as she was continuing her adventure and heading to Ecuador. The following day we boarded a plane and began our 48 hour journey back to the States. Our three flights included an 18 hour layover in Lima, Peru.

We decided not to miss an opportunity to explore and left the airport bound for Miraflores district and the beach. On the way to the beach we stopped at Parque Kennedy, a park famous for its 100+ cat residents. Locals have been coming her for the last 25 years to feed and cuddle with the cats in their spare time.

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Dan cuddling with the cats in Parque Kennedy

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The beach at Miraflores

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After 31 countries, 6 continents and 367 days on the road, our around the world adventure sadly came to an end. To say that this year has been incredible would be an understatement. It has been full of so many unforgettable experiences. We’ve met some amazing people along the way and were fortunate to have some great friends come visit and travel with us into the unknown. Coming home is bittersweet. We look forward to seeing all of our dearly missed friends and family and are anxious to get back to the Pacific Northwest. However, there is still so much more of the world that we want to see and experience.

Here’s to the next chapter in our lives and continuing to find adventure and wanderlust wherever we go.

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Touching down in Denver, CO

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Dan and I on our very first flight (US-> New Zealand) and the last flight on this trip

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