Tuesday 26 May

Copacabana Cathedral

We have a bus to catch at 1.15 pm to Puno, so we have most of the morning to look around Copacabana. The town itself is not much to look at—parts resemble building sites and there is a general air of decay. The streets are eerily quiet. The catherdral therefore seems somewhat out of place—a grand white building set behind an expansive courtyard. On either side of the courtyard in the corners opposite the cathedral are two small chapel-shrines, and in the centre, a large arched structure sheltering three crosses. The interior of the cathedral is less glitzy than some of the other churches that we have seen, and behind it is a pleasant shaded courtyard. The cathedral houses a statue of the Virgin Mary in an upstairs chapel to which people come from miles around to ask for miracles. It is said that if the statue is ever moved, then catastrophic floods will engulf the towns around Lake Titicaca.

John and James decide to climb the hill next to the town for the view over the lake. On top of this hill are twelve monuments representing the twelve stations of the cross. I am still suffering from an upset tummy, and I am not half way up the hill before it becames clear to me that I have more urgent business somewhere else.

I sleep for most of the bus journey to Puno. We seem to clear customs more quickly than on the outward journey, and arrive at our destination not long after 4 pm. We return to the same hotel that we had used on the way out. When we mention that we are going on to Juliaca the following day, the owner asks us if we would like to arrange transport. By a happy ‘coincidence’, a friend of his provides just such a service. We are a little nervous of being late for our flight, and so James is very firm with the driver that we intend to leave at half past ten, and that he should not be late. Once that is sorted out to our satisfaction, we have a brief look around the town. There is not a great deal to see in Puno, and none of us feels energetic enough to climb the hill to see the view over the lake.