Pancakes, tea and Dulche de Leche
04.12.2009 - 10.12.2009 25 °C
So our trip to La Paz began at 3am in Buenos Aires, driving to the airport in an unmarked taxi with a driver who spoke no english. He dropped us at the airport and we head to departures.....only when looking for our flight we couldn´t see it, we wandered to Information to see if we were at the wrong terminal.....not only were we at the wrong terminal, but the wrong sodding airport!!!!!!!! Who new Buenos Aires has 2 airports!!!!! So a crazy taxi ride later we made the new airport in the nic of time and began our 18 hr 3 flight day to La Paz!
We got to La Paz about 8pm and took a hair raising taxi to the hostel, Adventure Brew. The views on the way were out of this world, we could see the whole of La Paz by night. The hostel was really nice, and we had a room to ourselves, bliss after the day we had just had! We woke up on day 1 to an all you can eat pancake breakfast and headed out to see what La Paz had to offer-what an amazing place. Traditional women everywhere in the mahoosive skirts, ponchos, top hats and colourful back baby carrying bags, (note traditional women dont like having their photo taken...you will get spat at!) merged with ridiculous traffic, masses of pollution, beautiful buildings and everything and anything to do with or made from Llamas!!! We explored the little cobbled streets up to the witches market (where the streets were lined with dead Llama foetus´, apparently a lucky charm!) The little shops where packed with Llama cardies, hats, gloves, toys, leg warmers, arm warmers.....you name it it was Llamafied!!!! Needless to say later in the week we stocked up on Llama goodies! The hostel was awesome if only for 2 reasons....1-the free beer every night and 2-the incredible food for dinner every night!! We ate like kings and queens for 3quid!
Day 2-the day Bolivia was closed!! So who were we to know that A- sunday was the countries presidental elections and B-by law nothing is allowed to be open and no one is allowed to drive!!!! With no Llama shops to keep us entertained we spent the day wandering the empty streets (totally different to the day before) and chilling back at the hostel.
Day 3 was amazing, we woke to yet another pancake breakfast then took a 4x4 up into the hills to some stables where we would began an afternoon of horse riding up into the mountains, just us 2 and a bolivian guide...who spoke no English!!! The trip was incredible, We road up and up and up with views out across to the desert and the cities in the valleys. It was so quiet and beautiful. We made it up to the 4500m devils tooth point where we had a picnic lunch on the rock edge and then chez and the guide climbed up further to get the 360 degree views at the very top....amazing!!! The ride back down was very lesurly apart from gemmas horse who got scared of cracks in the ground and refused to cross them, with 15 minutes of persuasion and chezs horse acting as a guide she made it over the 10cm gap!!! and we trotted and cantered past small villages, sleeping pigs and noisy donkeys and back down to the stables 4 hours later.
Day 4 was much more adventurous!!! Today we did the Death Road bike ride...its apparently the worlds most dangerous road...and we most definatley agree!! Google it!!!! We drove up to the top of the road and biked all the way down at 70km/h in the pouring rain, mist, mud and gravel dirt roads, around hairpin bends with sheer drops of 600m a few inches from our tires. We also had to negotiate traffic even though the road was only 5meters wide and lined with grave stones!!! The mist helped for Gemma as she couldn´t see the huge sheer drops of the cliffs!! The ride was more than worth it when we reached the bottom and visited and animal sanctury hostel for lunch!! There monkeys can roam free and the sanctury along with parrots, dogs and various other animals!! Chez wasnt best pleased to be told that they had snakes, but they were in a cage so not too freaked out! After lunch we went to the pool area where most of the monkeys hang out and we got to sit and play with Spider and Howla monkeys.....having them sit on our knee and hold our hands and touch our faces...literally an incredible experience!! At one point Chez got rather broody as one of the babies curled up in the lap for a sleepy cuddle!! After the sanctury we had to drive back up the road we rode down.....way more scary in a mini bus than on a bike believe me!!!! and with running comentry of where different people had gone off the edge! sporting our "i survived the worlds most dangerous road" t-shirts we celebrated with beer and a huge feast.
The last day was spent doing bits and pieces before our 7pm night bus to Sucre. It was really sad to leave La Paz, we had fell in love with the city, but it was definately time to move on and experience another side to Bolivia. Off to Sucre on a night bus we go!