Exploring a new continent

Travel time: March - June 2010  |  by Dominik Weber

7 - 9 May La Paz

La Paz is indeed a breathtaking city. Not only it is large, but it spreads over an altitude of appr. 1000m! And the centre of the city is at an altitude of 4000m. But being in altitude since quite a while, this wasn´t a problem for me any longer.
But beside that, from a tourist point of view, the city doesn´t have to offer sooo much. Beside a very famous and dangerous mountain bike tour... but more about that later.
There is not much I have to report about the bus ride from Copacabana to La Paz. Again, it is really a beautiful landscape, most of the pretty flat, but then in the end, when you think you are already in La Paz, then it goes doesn into the La Paz Valley. But the highlight is for all tourist the crossing of the Lake Titikaka. At one point, everybody has to get off the bus and has to take a small ferry boat that brings you over to the other side in just a few minutes. In the meantime, the bus gets on a raft as well. Some minutes later you are sitting in the bus again and the journey continues. And a personal highlight of this bus ride was that I met the craze Canadian girl again that I initally met on Isla Grande at the begin of my trip: Maddy and me, we had a crazy and funny time in La Paz.
For my stay in La Paz, this time I decided to stay in a famous party hostel. Wow, how exhausting! The LOKI hostel chain exists in various countries in Peru and one in Boliva. All of the are located in beautiful, big, ancien palaces, the doorms are pretty big (usually 10-12 beds), they are not cheap. But there is a bar in each of them and hard and long night time. You can get breakfast there, lunch, dinner and the fun in the evening. You actually don´t have to leave the house if you want to have a fun time. And I did have fun time there, just the right thing for two days on a weekend! I was exhausted afterwards.

The only big touristy highlight of La Paz is "The World most dangerous road". It started pretty early in the morning (yes, I had to be sober, they can make alcohol test and I went to bed early. Around midnight, just at the time when some of my room mates were about to go out...). We went up to a hill at 4700m where we got our mountain bikes. What a difference to the bikes I had on my trip to Maccu Picchu. At that trip, no gear shift worked, but luckily the breakes. But on this one, we had mountain bikes of a value of US$2500, hydraulic breakes front and back, working gear shift, working breakes and each of us got one bike suitable for our size, weight and our preference of back break right or left! What a luxus. But soon I learned that it was necessary to have such good bikes - they were our life insurance.
We started downhill on a very good asphalted street for about 20km. Good possibility to learn your bike and how fast it can be. After that, the fun and dangerous part began: the road was unpaved, just wide enough for one car and to the left, it went down a few hundred meters. But you couldn´t enjoy the view because you were only busy with the road and the fact that you do not want to leave the road, neither to the right nor to the left. Well, from initially freeezing 4700m we went all the way down to pretty humid and warm 1100m. At the end, we not only got a lunch, but we also visited a small animal refuge and if I am lucky I will get a photo from an American who made a photo when one of the monkeys enjoyed the view from my shoulders.
Well, the second night ended again at the bar of the hostel. Perhaps one drink or so too much - I slept like a stone!
The remaining half day before my next bus trip, this time to Sucre, I spent walking around with crazy Maddy, we were visiting the "Witch market", visited a street market and had to rush back. One last snack at the barbeque on the roof top of the LOKI hostel and off I had to go to catch the 14h night bus to Sucre.
It was a nice stay in La Paz, with a lot of drinks and a really great and funny bike ride!

An empty bus on a raft across Lake Titikaka.

An empty bus on a raft across Lake Titikaka.

La Paz!

La Paz!

Yes, it was cold and pretty dusty!

Yes, it was cold and pretty dusty!

One of the few photos of the bike ride. I was pretty busy with keeping myself on the street!

One of the few photos of the bike ride. I was pretty busy with keeping myself on the street!

One animal that is now happy in the animal refuge.

One animal that is now happy in the animal refuge.

Lama fetus on the Witch market. You need one if you built a house, it helps against bad ghosts!

Lama fetus on the Witch market. You need one if you built a house, it helps against bad ghosts!

It looks nice, but it is pretty cold at 4000m! On the roof top terrace of the LOKI hostel.

It looks nice, but it is pretty cold at 4000m! On the roof top terrace of the LOKI hostel.

© Dominik Weber, 2010
You are here : Overview The Americas Bolivia 7 - 9 May La Paz
The trip
 
Description:
After working for too long without a real break, I decided to go on a long planned backpack trip. After changing the departure date and the destination several times, I decided to go to South America. Starting in Colombia, then Peru and finishing in Bolivia. At least, this was the plan but once on tour, you never know what to expect. This report is for all people asking how I am doing, but also for those who are thinking about doing something similar. I hope I can inspire them.
Details:
Start of journey: Mar 19, 2010
Duration: 13 weeks
End of journey: Jun 15, 2010
Travelled countries: Colombia
Peru
Bolivia
The Author
 
Dominik Weber is an active author on break-fresh-ground. since 11 years.
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