La Paz

Trip Start Mar 01, 2007
1
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Trip End Jun 01, 2007


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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

We were woken from the bus ride at 6am, to see the sun rising over the valley of La Paz.  As we drove through El Alto, (the sub-city of La Paz at 4200m) we could see for almost 1000 metres below us, the lights of the city filling the valley below the clouds.


We found a cab from the bus terminal and headed straight to Catīs Uncle Ronnieīs house.  We were greeted by a big Alsatian and Catīs Uncle Ronnie, who after some breakfast took us on a tour of all the relatives.  We were thoroughly spoiled all day, and Dave got to tuck into some amazing sulteņas.  As a thank you, we offered to take everyone out for a Japanese meal that evening, which actually turned out to be one of the most expensive places in town.  It wasnīt so painful though, as the whole meal with sake for 7 people came to 25 pounds!

The next day Catīs uncle Ronnie drove us over to Tiahaunaco, one of the greatest and last outposts of the Tiahaunaco people who preceded the Inca.  The site is really impressive, even though huge numbers of the stones were pillaged for building churches by the Spaniards.  Still, huge statues and the gateway of the sun still remain, and they are now rebuilding stone by stone the main pyramid.  We will have to come back in 10 years time to see what the finished pyramid looks like.

After spending one more day looking around La Paz and going to a Peņa (traditional folk music evening) with Catīs family, we decided to try out mountain biking down the most dangerous road in the world, or what the Bolivians know as īCamino del muerteī.  We set out early in the morning, just as it was starting to rain.  The beginning of the road is at over 4000m, but we couldnīt see anything for most of the bike ride, as it was tipping it down.  Dave got the hang of bombing it down the steep roads and narrow bends with 1000m drops on one side.  Cat on the other hand kept it slow, and was pretty terrified most of the way down.  It didnīt help that you couldnīt see more than 3 metres ahead with the goggles on.  As we made our way down to 2300m and the steamy, sub-tropical Yungas, the clouds began to clear, and then the views got really impressive.  First views of bright parrots and butterflies, made it all worth it.  Plus we got a free t-shirt!
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