After just a couple of days in La Paz, the capital of Bolivia, I was ready to leave the hustle-and-bustle of this vast, chaotic city and enjoy a bit of peace and quiet on nearby island, Isla del Sol. Upon arrival, I took one look at the intimidatingly steep hill that stood before me and decided that I would simply chuck my bags in the nearest lodging, for at this altitude, walking just a couple of steps uphill feels like an immense challenge. After discovering a cheap cabin within minutes, I flopped onto one of the small, rock solid beds, which was covered in dust and the odd hair while my travelling partner, Sterling, perched tentatively on the edge of the other. We exchanged nervous glances; this was a seriously foul room. Without hesitating, we walked back out so that we could enjoy the island and try and put those greasy dark hairs out of our minds.
After a painful trek to the very top, Sterling and I sat on a wooden bench with two cups of coffee we’d bought off a woman further down. She didn’t actually have any takeaway cups, so we had to take china ones and promise to return them later, leaving the keys to our cabin with her so she could guarantee we’d come back. As we sat there, gazing out over the remarkably still waters of Lake Titicaca and savouring the silence, we began to feel raindrops. It appeared Isla del Sol was not living up to its name. A little man then emerged from the middle of nowhere and asked if we realised that we were sitting outside his restaurant, which surprised us as there certainly didn’t appear to be any restaurants in sight. He then pointed at a rustic looking building just behind us, which didn’t look like it would fit more than a handful of people inside, and invited us in. Despite the fact Pablo – owner, chef and waiter all in one – prepares all the meals in this tiny restaurant without electricity or help from anyone else, he manages to create the most wonderful dishes. There is also no menu, as he simply cooks whichever fish the fishermen have brought in that day, along with a couple of pizza and pasta dishes. We were warned that our food would take a while to arrive, but with the soft light from the candles and delicious trouty smells wafting in from the kitchen, we felt truly content and didn’t mind at all. Needless to say, when it did eventually reach our table and each of us took that first bite, we agreed that even a five-hour wait would have been worth this incredible taste sensation.
After an extremely satisfying dinner, it was time to make our way back down to the bottom of the hill. This proved tricky for two reasons: firstly, we had completely forgotten that we’d left our keys in the (now closed) café where we’d bought the coffees and secondly, we’d neglected to take a light with us and the island was draped in darkness. By some miracle, we still managed to locate the café, where we stood yelling at nobody in particular until the frustrated owner came down from her room above to reopen it. Returning to our cabin was an even greater mission, as we simply could not remember for the life of us how to get there. It wasn’t until a whopping three hours later, after trying to open several incorrect doors, accidentally knocking down a wall and unintentionally aggravating a number of locals along the way, that we were at long last back in our delightful dusty chambers. Once again, I flopped onto the hair-ridden bed, turned to Sterling and commented, “Well that was quite a day, wasn’t it!” receiving nothing but soft snores in response.
About the Author: Camilla (Milly) Day is a lively, energetic person who tries to make the most of every day. My favourite things include travelling, writing, food & wine, music, dancing and nature. I am currently working as English Content Manager for a tourism agency based in Argentina, writing articles about travel (and loving every minute of it).
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