La Paz

Trip Start Aug 11, 2010
Trip End May 21, 2011

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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Friday, September 17, 2010

La Paz is the highest capital city in the world, ranging from 3000 to 4100 metres. The city is set within a huge basin that is surrounded by mountains, the most spectacular being the 6462 metre Illimani mountain, whose snow-cap glistened as our bus descended into the city within the early hours of the morning.

La Paz has many markets, our local being the Witches' Market, where they sell llama foetuses and dried frogs for rituals, as well as soapstone figurines and aphrodisiac formulas. Also there are many shops and street vendors selling alpaca and llama knitwear with traditional patterns catering for both locals and tourists. As soon as we set foot from our budget hotel, smells of the market hit us, along with traffic fumes of old cars and buses battling up the steep streets.

We celebrated my birthday in La Paz after returning from the jungle. The night before we went for an Arabic meal with Peter and Anne-Mette and then went to the Hard Rock Café for drinks which was handily a few doors down from the hotel. A combination of alcohol-heavy cocktails and high altitude made it a cheap night and the dancing later amongst the locals even more fun. The next day Eleanor gave me some thoughtful gifts and surprised me by saving a slab of chocolate cake in the hotel’s fridge. The day was made very special and despite having to clear up many admin issues, it was very relaxing and stress-free. Later, we went to the cinema and had some high quality Indian food in a nearby restaurant. So in the end, my birthday in Bolivia was as British as it could be!!

La Paz has so much to offer and we could have easily spent longer there. The views were incredible, especially from the Mirador that offered panoramic views of the city, the shopping opportunities were endless and the people were friendly. We had to always be careful when walking the steep streets due to the altitude as the thin air really limited the capacity of our lungs. It was somewhat of a relief to know that from La Paz, we were escaping the high altitude to venture into the low lying Pampas and Amazon Jungle for a week. After the Jungle tour, we returned back to La Paz to re-acclimatize for two further days before catching the bus to Copacabana.
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Suep on

Happy Birthday Eleanor and Paul!!!

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