A Day in Valparaíso

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On the Way to Chile

Our group set off easily before dawn today, as we had shared a dorm, and a third of the travellers had vomited or fainted through the restless night due to altitude sickness. I was fine even though we drove up to 4900 metres this morning.

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On the way to the border post, a tiny shack in the windy desert, we passed colourful, mineral rich mountains and lagoons.

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Bubbling mud pools surrounded geysers.

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Some soaked in the hot springs on the edge of a flamingo filled lake, but at -5 degrees, I was not tempted.

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Lake Titicaca

My bus traversed the strait on a raft, the passengers in a small, rocking boat, to reach the lakeside town of Copacabana. The man below is in the Bolivian navy, stationed at the lake since Bolivia lost its coastline.

At a waterfront stall I ate fried trout with tomato chilli salsa and fresh lime on a bed of giant white corn kernels with black potatoes on the side. At a cafe, I had Inca Cola and coca tea.

A ferry delivered me to Isla del Sol, the island which was the birthplace of the Incan sun god.

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I hiked past the ruins of the Temple of the Sun, donkeys, sheep, llamas and Incan agricultural terraces still in use today.

This mud brick thatched home boasts location, location, location!

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I turned off the trail at the village which boasts the fountain of youth, but on close inspection, decided that partaking would most likely shorten my life.

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I walked down the stairs, flanked by gurgling Incan irrigation channels, with as much dignity as I could muster, given the speed with which this heavily burdened elderly villager overtook me.

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The snowcapped Cordillera Real rose above the lake at the dock.

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