Short Visit to La Paz before Early AM Departure

Trip Start Jan 08, 2014
Trip End Jan 25, 2014

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Iglesia de San Francisco La Paz
Read my review - 5/5 stars
Iglesia de San Jude

Flag of Bolivia  ,
Thursday, January 23, 2014

We couldn't check into our room at the hotel until 1 pm so we had a leisurely morning at the Swiss bakery/cafe across the street from our hotel and then did some shopping down the street and around a few blocks.  I saw some things I liked but by now my boliviano situation was poor so I pretty much had to use Visa and the discounts were a lot less with a credit card.  I suppose I might have gotten more cash but I didn't want to be stuck with it.  We couldn't bargain much on the things we looked at so we moved on.  I hate to bargain anyway but Astrid is much better at it.  We went back to the hotel a bit early but were able to check in. 

After settling in, we went out for some sightseeing since we only really had the one day in La Paz.  First we did a tour of San Francisco church and monastery.  There are still some monks left here - 20 some - similar to the number at the Convento de Santa Teresa in Potosi - a magic number.   There was art here as well, and artifacts as well as architecture from various periods, and a nice view from the bell tower too.  After that we went to the Folklore Museum.  I had been hoping to see a large collection of traditional clothing but there was little of that.  The exhibits of weaving and fabric with samples of yarn and examples of dye materials was nice.  The pottery exhibit was not too exciting except for the videos showing potters at work making traditional pottery.  I am trying to remember what else was there, but since I paid extra to take photos, I will have to look at them and see.  Oh, one of the best parts was the temporary exhibit of pre-hispanic festival masks.  These were spotlighted in an otherwise dark room to great effect.  Loved this exhibit!

After leaving the Folklore Museum, we found the cathedral and a Church of San Judas and popped in.  We also saw the other major plaza and some governmental buildings around it.  Then back again for more last minute shopping.  I had managed to find a Bolivian soccer shirt for Theo thanks to Astrid spotting the sports shops.  Astrid kept looking for the alpaca fair-trade shop she had visited 10 years ago because she liked the scarf she had bought and was hoping to get one as a gift for someone and one for herself.  I figured I would go back to the first shop where I had looked at things and see if they would give me the same not-so-great discount.  I finished up my shopping there - they even saved my selections for me - that was convenient.  Astrid went off to look for her shop and I went back to the hotel.

I was just about to shower (and lock the door because all my "valuables" were spread out on my bed waiting to be packed up as soon as I changed my clothes) when Astrid got back.  Security in the hotel wasn't great.  I had come off the street, walked into the office, taken the key from it place on the wall, and gone up and gotten into our room without anyone seeing me ... so I assumed anyone else could as well.  After I showered and packed up, we walked down the street to the Colonial Pot - recommended somewhere as having good Bolivian traditional dishes.  It may have gone under new management because now most of the selections were Italian dishes.  Nothing appealed that much to either of us and when they didn't even have pizza, we decided to go elsewhere.  Astrid had noticed a pizza shop in our hotel building so we went there and the pizza was quite good.

It was getting late (well, if you have to get up before 2 am) so, after checking multiple times whether the taxis would come at the required times and being assured that they would, we tried to go to sleep.  We chatted a bit about our good trip and all we got to do and then turned off the lights.  I had had a really hard time setting my phone to the correct time to wake up because it is still on NY time and I had to do the calculation and kept getting it messed up.  It was hard to sleep and I remember being awake several times.  My phone alarm rang about 1:40 am.  Astrid had decided to try to get a few more hours of sleep since her plane didn't leave until 6 pm I think.

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