Monday, August 22, 2011

La Paz, Bolivia

Our next destination in Bolivia was La Paz. We entered the city from El Alto (4,2000m!) at sunrise, with candy-floss coloured clouds, Mt. Illimani in the background and the city glittering below us in the early morning sun; just stunning! I saw the view of La Paz from El Alto a few more times during my time there and it never ceased to be anything less than amazing, the city clings to the edges of the valley and everything looks tiny, like little lego buildings. The extremely high altitude (the city proper is about 3,650m) makes it difficult to gather the energy to do much though, especially during the first few days, and I have to admit I don't think I made the most of La Paz. Still, we managed to see some of the sights, including El Alto market, which had fantastic views over the city, Plaza Murillo and San Francisco cathedral.

In La Paz we stayed at the Wild Rover (of course) for the first few days, which has very comfy beds, and a party atmosphere which we enjoyed on the first couple of nights and then quite quickly got bored of. It did give us the opportunity though to dress nicely for the first time in what felt like months, and our first night involved playing pool with men dressed as various farmyard animals, lots of Black and White Russians, and good times.

We mostly used La Paz as a base to see other places nearby and the two main trips we made were to Tiwanaku and Copacabana, which is on the shores of Lake Titicaca:

Tiwanaku is the site of the remains of a massive pre-Incan civilisation, running for about 3,000 years from about 1,000 years BC up to around the 1500s, from what I remember of our guided tour. There were a lot of interesting monoliths, (one massive one around 8ft tall that unfortunately we couldn't take photos of, but it was pretty bloody impressive I can tell you!) and a rather boring museum that was made quite fascinating by our rather excellent tour guide. Tiwanaku is also where I got the inspiration for my tattoo of a chakana, (also known as an Incan cross but if you were paying attention earlier you'll remember that Tiwanaku is pre-Incan) a symbol in Bolivia, Argentina, Peru and Ecuador for the constellation of the Southern Cross.

Copacabana was the last day Sophie and I spent together so it was somewhat bittersweet, but we had a nice time wandering around the city, visiting the cathedral, wandering the markets and going out on Lake Titicaca in a pedalo, no less!

No comments: