A little tip off from Paul Dix!
Trip Start Oct 01, 2012
71Trip End Oct 01, 2015
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4 buses, 1 hotel and 2 days later though we arrived tired but eager to get on with our trip. We headed straight out to book our next few days, we arranged tiunaku and puma punka for the following day and booked our buses and trips for the salt flats a few days after that. We'd spent a lot of money and so headed to the local market to grab some cheap food - it was here we realised we'd left our cash card in the ATM!
Needless to say the next few hours were spent making numerous international calls and cancelling cards
The next day we set off early to explore the ancient ruins of tiwanaku and puma punku.
Both sites are around 1.5 hours west of la Paz and consist of ancient ruins dating back to pre Incan times. We arrived mid morning and firstly began with a tour of a couple of museums where we first saw a monolith- a huge stone statue. The largest Monolith at Tiwanaku is 24 feet high and weighs around 20 ton, known as the Bennett monolith, or 'Pachamama' monolith, it stood for several years in front of La Paz stadium when it was taken from the original site at Tiwanaku in 1932. The monolith was ceremoniously returned in March 2002.
The next stop was the city itself - surrounded in large part by mountains and hills, the city reached its peak by roughly AD 500 and AD 1000 covering an area of around 2 square miles and is thought to have had a population of around 10,000.
Having visited a few ruins since our time here we were expecting much of the same , what we saw however was entirely different. The huge stone monoliths towered into the sky from various positions around the site, the carvings on the walls and gateways were beautiful and the semi underground temple was incredible. It's a rectangular structure set under the existing ground level and has 175 heads nailed to the 4 walls. Apparently the heads are supposed to represent the different races , however some look just like aliens!
We explored the ruins for a couple of hours before our group headed off for lunch, we'd brought our own and so took the opportunity to head to puma punku - the main event
The site was amazing with intricately cut and huge stones weighing over 100t which came from the mountains in the distance that surrounded the site, there was no explanation as to how they got there.
It was great that we got an hour or so there by ourselves before the rest of our group joined us.
Then it was time for a little snooze on the bus on our way back to la Paz.
That evening we decided to cook for ourselves, I was left in charge and managed to mess up pasta and sauce... I blame the kitchen!
Then we headed out for a few drinks to a bar which we shared with an incredibly loud group of Australians!
We awoke the next morning with sore heads and explored la Paz for the last time. We picked up a couple of extra things for our trip the following day and some last minute souvenirs and ate our own weight in pizza at our favourite pizza restaurant. We also headed to San pedro square, home of the famous San pedro prison from the book marching powder.
San Pedro is arguably the most notorious prison in South America. Inmates are expected to pay for their cells, the poor sharing hovels while the wealthier bag themselves rooms resembling studio apartments. The more enterprising might also practise a trade (barbers, carpenters) or become proprietors of internal restaurants. Whole families live inside, with prisoners' wives and children free to come and go. Until recently you could even pay some of the inmates and go inside yourself