Chile - Bolivia 2006

Travel time: March / April 2006  |  by Valerie Couarraze

La Paz

Finally Bolivia! We left Putre and the splendid Lauca National Parc behind us, sniff, but another beautiful and exciting country is waiting for us. Probably with a lot to tell too. So let's go.

Bolivia is called the Tibet of the Americas because it is the highest, most isolated and most rugged of Latin America. And as we could experience also a very traditional country - a contrast to Chile.

Bolivia is called the Tibet of the Americas because it is the highest, most isolated and most rugged of Latin America. And as we could experience also a very traditional country - a contrast to Chile.

La Paz is one of the most amazing capital I have ever seen. First its location, struggled between mountains at 3.700 m, then the dynamism of its traffic (and intoxication!) and the colors of its markets, the gap between Rich and Poor, the tasty street food like empanadas or mais dishes...

We had most of the time a hard time being pedestrians, but it was not much better as passager of a bus or taxi! The cars hold I-don't-know-how and the driving behaviour is more than adventurous. After seeing that in La Paz I abandonned the idea of trying the famous Death Road by bike, the most dangerous road of the world in the North of the capital.

We had most of the time a hard time being pedestrians, but it was not much better as passager of a bus or taxi! The cars hold I-don't-know-how and the driving behaviour is more than adventurous. After seeing that in La Paz I abandonned the idea of trying the famous Death Road by bike, the most dangerous road of the world in the North of the capital.

Iglesia de San Fransisco of the XVIth century on the main plaza. The original construction falled down during a strong snowfall, but this building is one of the most beautiful downtown into my eyes

Iglesia de San Fransisco of the XVIth century on the main plaza. The original construction falled down during a strong snowfall, but this building is one of the most beautiful downtown into my eyes

San Fransisco Church

San Fransisco Church

I like these markets, their nice colors, the people selling and buying and here the lekker fresh juices of all sorts of fruits I didn't know

I like these markets, their nice colors, the people selling and buying and here the lekker fresh juices of all sorts of fruits I didn't know

La Paz has several street jobs we do not have in western Europe since ages anymore. Shoeshine boys (here wearing masks for different reasons), forgers, polishers, millers are common. It put us back in another era.

La Paz has several street jobs we do not have in western Europe since ages anymore. Shoeshine boys (here wearing masks for different reasons), forgers, polishers, millers are common. It put us back in another era.

Una Chola. In fact Cholas all seem to look the same way to my European eyes. Quite annoying for us with their very large skirts, big sockets, long black beautiful braids, funny hat as if it was too small for their heads, their ponchos and colored blankets on the back carrying a child, their business or their home!

Una Chola. In fact Cholas all seem to look the same way to my European eyes. Quite annoying for us with their very large skirts, big sockets, long black beautiful braids, funny hat as if it was too small for their heads, their ponchos and colored blankets on the back carrying a child, their business or their home!

In this market we ate for 4 bolivians, which means something like 40 cents. For this price we had a soup with vegetables, rice and potato, and a big plate with meat, rice (and potato again!) and salad. Nothing to say, it tasted good. Also famous is the plato, this lekker avocado, that melt like butter on the tongue and that you can get almost everywhere, even in your hamburger at Mac Donalds! Later on I had my first llama steack. Delicious.

In this market we ate for 4 bolivians, which means something like 40 cents. For this price we had a soup with vegetables, rice and potato, and a big plate with meat, rice (and potato again!) and salad. Nothing to say, it tasted good. Also famous is the plato, this lekker avocado, that melt like butter on the tongue and that you can get almost everywhere, even in your hamburger at Mac Donalds! Later on I had my first llama steack. Delicious.

We haven't seen a lot of men selling stuff on the street. This is essentially a women task here. A lot of them only have a few things like 3 onions and 2 salads but they will stay all day on the ground to sell everything.

We haven't seen a lot of men selling stuff on the street. This is essentially a women task here. A lot of them only have a few things like 3 onions and 2 salads but they will stay all day on the ground to sell everything.

We could have made passport photographs but we renounced

We could have made passport photographs but we renounced

I had the pleasure to come back to La Paz and to stay a bit more, this time on my own, since I couldn't catch my flight to Santiago de Chile to go back to Europe. A long story that ended fortunately well and at the end I was rather glad I could stay in this fascinating city and explore more of it, e.g. El Alto, the armer district at 4.000 m. This is not an easy thing to put the colors, smells and experiences I caught or had in La Paz into words. It is too different. And would reduce its exceptional character to a common thing. So you have to get there!

You are here : Overview The Americas Bolivia La Paz
The trip
 
Description:
A long time ago I decided to travel to South America - to Argentina or Chile. First no money as a student, then no time as a (hard-)worker. But now my little brother and his friends are spending 6 months over there on their globe-trotter-trip. So no poor excuse anymore. I pack my shoes. My flight starts from Francfort/M, Germany to Santiago de Chile and returns from La Paz, Bolivia. We will backpack from Santiago up to the North until the boarder travelling by bus or train.
Details:
Start of journey: Mar 15, 2006
Duration: 3 weeks
End of journey: Apr 07, 2006
Travelled countries: Chile
Argentina
Bolivia
The Author
 
Valerie Couarraze is an active author on break-fresh-ground. since 16 years.
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