'The World's Most Dangerous Road!'
Trip Start Sep 04, 2012
47Trip End Aug 02, 2013
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A couple of days later and we'd got stuck into a tour which involved cycling down 'Death Road' - the worlds most dangerous road, based on the number of trucks and buses that have plunged off the cliff edges over the last few years!
Right.....last thing for the day......the bus BACK UP 'Death Road'!! Easily the scariest part of the day as, when you're cycling, you kind of forget about the drop offs and just get on with it.......on the bus, you can actually SEE the drop offs because you don't have to concentrate on the road!! And then it gets dark and foggy.......that was one uncomfortable hour, especially because we were on the right hand side of the bus!!
When we booked this tour, we had the option of booking an 'abseil down a building' tour with a bit of discount.........nah, not interested in that...........'dressed as Spiderman'.........we'll be there tomorrow!!! The Presidents Hotel is 17 storeys high and idiots like us abseil out of it with a Spiderman costume on so they can be like SPIDERMAN HIMSELF!! The most popular method is the face first (so like a forwards abseil if you will) which we both went for! Kala went first, hopped up onto the ledge no problem and made her way down! It was one of those where she loved it......after she got to the bottom ha ha!! I was next up and gingerly got up onto the ledge. I walked down (badly) and opted for a 20m freefall at the end which was cool! A good surprise of a day! Somet a bit different!!
An age old tradition in Bolivia is chewing coca leaves so Kala dragged me along to the Museum of Coca to learn a bit more! Historically the leaves were most commonly used as a stimulant to combat tiredness and hunger and were given to miners and slaves as it allowed them to work harder for longer in horrific conditions. (Miners got to the point where they would not go to work without coca and in one year they chewed the monetary equivalent of 450kg of gold!!!) Other historical uses included treatment for broken bones (due to high calcium content) and anaesthetic for operations! Many years (and lots of chemical processes) later, cocaine was produced from an extract of the leaves. This was originally used legally for medicinal purposes and was even an ingredient in some wines and Coca-Cola! Not until 1961 was cocaine made illegal but some South American countries, where traditional use is established, are still legally allowed to grow, cultivate and possess the leaves. So in Bolivia you can buy all sorts of coca products
Our last fling in Bolivia saw us get into the mountains on a single day trek. We've heard the scenery in the 'Cordillera Real' region isn't to be missed here so we opted for a crack at 'Pico Austria' - a peak that stands at 5,350m (17,550 feet). Jesus we were bollocksed just getting out the bus at about 4,500m....today will be tough!! The day started with a wander to 'Laguna Chiarkhota' - a nice lake that has a mountainous view. A few photos there before we started the climb. H.A.R.D!! Our guide (Mario) said we had to be on the peak for 1.30, to give us time to get down and all that, so we had to friggin' RACE up the thing!! It got to the point when you were counting 10 steps and resting for 10 seconds! Mario RAN up the thing! CHEERS MATE.....I'll GUESS the route shall I..?!!! Anyway, after A LOT of coughing and spluttering and heavy breathing, we managed to get to the top! It was TOTALLY worth it though as the view in all directions was STUNNING!! Some of the best we've seen! We had a great view of Huayna Potossi and Condoriri (2 big peaks basically) and down to a load of beautiful blue lakes!! 5350m is easily the highest we've been...and will go to. Kala slipped over on the way down which was funny and we eventually got to the bus a couple of hours later!! Me losing my hat and Kala having a cold lasagne that night took the edge off a class day...one of the best for me!! A journey over to Peru (our last border crossing) saw us stay in Puno for 3 nights in one of our best rooms yet......carpet AND warmth AND space!! We had ALL 3 of these things ha ha!! Kala enjoyed a MASSIVE CHOCCY CAKE for her birthday!! I've never seen her so happy ha ha!!! Just one more thing left to do in South America now.............