Action packed La Paz

Trip Start Jan 24, 2013
1
14
35
Trip End Apr 23, 2013


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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Sunday, March 10, 2013

Wow, what a city!

We arrived on Friday after a relatively pain free crossing from Peru into Bolivia - despite a landslide causing us to change our route. The city of La Paz is Bolivia's defacto capital at an altitude of 3650m. Coming down through the small suburb of El Alto on La Paz's hillside we couldn't believe the colossal size of La Paz as it unfolded in front of us. Nestled in a valley with huge mountains all around it La Paz has spread up the hillsides as far as is physically possible. 

We checked into our beautiful hotel suite and wondered if we'd actually be able to prise ourselves away in a few days time. A little bit of luxury. On our first afternoon we enjoyed chilling out in the apartment, taking in the beautiful 360 degree views of La Paz from our balcony. For dinner that evening we tried out Pronto. It comes highly recommended on Trip Advisor and we would definitely agree. It was quite a small place with bundles of charm. We had a delicious parma ham starter followed by Gnocchi for Ross and a delicious steak with Roquefort for me. Now, you know I'm not that competitive ;) but when it comes to dinner Ross and I like to judge things on a win or lose basis. On this occasion I definitely won. My steak just melted in the mouth. Ross wasn't bitter at all. haha. In all honestly Ross' was pretty damn good too. We also enjoyed a lovely bottle of wine and shared a Tirimisu. All for a grand total of 40. Bolivia we have noticed is cheap as chips! We might have to stay here a while.

The next day we'd planned to do very little. We wondered through the witches market, though we're not sure we found the right place because it wasn't half as freaky as we'd thought it would be. It started to pour so we found a local place serving saltenas and avoided the rain for a while. We'd planned to check out Urban Rush in the afternoon. I was almost certain they would cancel it in the rain and I have to admit I kinda hoped they would. But no, they work all weathers. Eeeek, there was no getting out of it.....it was time to jump off a building! A 50m decent including a 20m free fall at the end.

 

We have to be insane. Ross was raring to go though I was quietly scared for my life!

The guys were very good though. We started with some instruction and practice in their offices on the 17th floor. That was the easy bit. Standing in the doorway, 17th floor, 50m up about to lower ourselves out at a 90 degree angle was super scary. In particular the 1st few seconds where it doesn't feel like you're connected at all.

Ross did great, and was even keen to do it again. For me it was enough for one day but I'd love to do it again to become a spiderman like pro.

It was an early night for us as we had to meet our tour guys, Gravity Assisted, at 6am for our next adrenaline filled adventure: The Death Road. Gravity were far from the cheapest but I think when you're on the most dangerous road in the world you need to stay clear of the cowboys.

The Death Road is 60k long with a starting altitude of 4650m descending down to 1200m with extreme dropoffs of 600m along the way. 

We were immediately impressed with Gravity assisted. Excellent, good quality gear and most importantly the best bikes. They actually sell their old bikes to the other tour groups. We had great instruction from our guide Marcus who made us feel safe the whole time. There have been many deaths on the death road (hence the name) but from what we've read and heard it's silly and in some cases stupid actions by people that leads to accidents. Marcus told us the sad story of how one Japanese tourist died after plunging off a cliff whilst simultaneously cycling and filming her boyfriend on her iPhone. 

We made a toast to Pachamama and were quickly on our way. The first part is on the tarmac new road which was a pleasant start to the day's cycling and allowed us to get used to our bikes. Marcas set the pace out front with our second guide looking after the stragglers at the back. We stopped frequently for photos and safety briefings for the next sections. The scenery was beautiful and you can see why you could easily become distracted. Not something you want to do on a road 3m wide with a 600m drop. 

The route down through the clouds was great fun. The trail varied from rough, to rougher, to going through waterfalls and over landslides. Ross was out ahead most of the time whilst I tagged along just behind. Though we have uploaded some GoPro footage where I'm in front. The weather kept changing so we were glad to have plenty of layers to take off and add on.

Our arrival to Corrico and receipt of our 1st beer felt great. We’d survived the infamous Death Road! Wooohoo. Not content with just one dangerous activity for the day we then signed up to do some ziplining – and in particular – the SuperMan! Such great fun. There were 3 different ziplines crossing the valley. The highest was 350m off the valley floor. As always the views were spectacular. It’s the highest and longest zip lines we’ve done – and our 1st at the Superman so it was a great experience and great addition to an already epic day.

After our final thrill of the evening we went to a local animal centre to get lunch. Ross finally got to see his beloved Antonio (or distant cousin anyway) upclose so he was happy. Lunch was pretty cold by the time we got there but we were starving after our 60k cycling and a very long day.

Before we would get back to La Paz we had to retrace our steps on the Death Road but this time in a rickety old bus that we had no control over. We were relieved to get back in one piece.

We didn’t get back to our hotel until 9pm so opted for some roomservice. It was nice to use our lovely dining table and relax with far too much food. We always order too much.

The next day we had a well deserved long lie and made full use of the amazing 2pm check-out time.

Next stop on our travels is the old capital city of Sucre – an 11 hour overnight bus ride away.

We're now in Sucre and not too sure what we're going to do for the next few days. Watch this space!

Love Fi & Ross xxx
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Comments

Alan Greig on

Well done, you two! I am really envious of the Death Road experience and the Urban Rush. The thrills seem to come fast and furious for the two of you. Enjoy the next part of the trip.
Love Dad x

Mum on

Just watched the Death Rd video! Think you're both completely nuts but glad you're having such a wonderful time! Much love. xf

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