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Full Circle

Day 182: La Paz to Copacabana, Lake Titicaca

Copacabana, Bolivia 
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The cathedral at Copacabana.
Michael Palin - Full CircleTiticaca is in fact two lakes connected by a half-mile wide channel crossed in a ferry from the village of San Pablo Tiquina. There is a strange, stunted little statue by the waterfront of one Don Edouardo Avaroa, a hero of the War of the Pacific, who sits awkwardly on the plinth, like an abandoned puppet. Below him is a tableau which shows a Bolivian soldier in sandals sticking a bayonet through the neck of a Chilean in jack-boots. 'Lo Que Un Dia Fue Nuestro, Nuestro Otra Vez Sera' reads the motto. 'What was once ours, will be ours again.' Remembering the size and scale of the Chilean monuments I somehow doubt it. But it makes me warm to the place.

Across on the other side of the lake, an unmade, stony road runs along a gorgeous stretch of unspoilt coastline that reminds me of the Greek islands. It takes us, and our bus, to the town of Copacabana, a hundred miles north of La Paz, where we are to spend the night. It's a solidly attractive town with cobbled streets and old stone buildings and a huge white cathedral in the Moorish style, which the Spaniards began building in 1605.

My room is a small, simple white-washed square with a hot shower provided by bare wires leading to a heating filament in the shower head. It looks like an early design for an electric chair, so it's a cold shower or nothing. Settle for nothing except a quick splash of the offending parts and into bed. Feel very excited to be where I am. Not many people I know have slept beside Lake Titicaca.
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  • Series: Full Circle
  • Day: 182
  • Country/sea: Bolivia
  • Place: San Pablo Tiquina
  • Book page no: 245

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