Living the High Life!

Trip Start Jun 13, 2011
Trip End Jun 12, 2012

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Where I stayed
Read my review - 4/5 stars
Bacoo Hostel

Flag of Bolivia  ,
Sunday, July 17, 2011

Getting to La Paz from Uyuni could only be described as an experience - and a bloody awful one at that! We booked our tickets through Panamerica, who had on display pictures of nice, new, shiny buses - but it certainly wasn’t one of those that turned up for the 11hr (100bol) journey! Luckily, we managed to get spacious seats right at the front of the bus, but this didn’t make up for the broken seats, windows that didn’t close (making it absolutely FREEZING), complete lack of suspension, no working loo’s, breaking down in the middle of no-where and just to top it off, the heating system burst, flooding the bus, soaking us and all our stuff!! The only good bit were the fantastic views over La Paz as we approached the city.

Lou had started feeling a bit unwell by the end of the Salar trip, and by the end of the bus journey she was completely floored. So we got a taxi straight to our hostel (the LOKI), then headed right out to find the nearest pharmacy. As it was a Sunday, the streets were buzzing with fiestas, and we instantly warmed to the buzz of the place - definitely our favourite city so far! After we stocked up on medicines, we thought a power lunch would do us good, so we made our way to Tierra Sana, a healthy veggie restaurant at the 4 Corners. The food was exactly what we needed (all wholegrain and nutritious), but the service was abysmal (over an hour’s wait for even our drinks - not what you need when you're feeling terrible!).

We were both totally wiped after walking round in such a high altitude (it‘s really hard to explain how it affects you, but everything just feels like sooo much harder work!), and Lou was looking peakier by the minute, so we got ourselves back to our digs. Lou pretty much flaked out when we got back, so Barry had no choice but to amuse himself - by hitting the bar (for crazy 11% beers) and watching the Copa America - where he took great delight in watching Brazil get knocked out on penalties while sitting in a room full of Brazilians!

Lou got steadily worse through the night, and by the morning was actually in tears when she couldn’t manage even a tiny bit of her bread roll (sort of funny now but upsetting at the time when there’s so many great things to do and you just CAN‘T), but unfortunately we had to move hostels as we’d only managed to book one night at the LOKI and there were no rooms! The Bacoo was a much inferior hostel to the LOKI (although more expensive!) - it’s only saving grace was that it was quieter, allowing Lou to sleep of the worst of her illness! 

By Tuesday night, she was feeling slightly better, so we ventured out in search of some food, ending up in Oliver’s Travel's, a homely British style pub - normally the kind of place we’d tend to avoid! But it was actually pretty nice, and served up some really decent bangers and mash (veg and mash for Lou!).
The next day, we managed to check back into the LOKI, get our transport to the Amazon sorted then have a really good Mexican at La Cueva (again at the 4 Corners - you can find pretty much every type of food you could want there).
I think the Mexican food must have done the trick (along with 4 days sleep and a dose of antibiotics!),  as by Thursday we were both feeling much better and ready to explore the city! We started off at Calle Jaen, a really well-maintained section of the old town with beautiful architecture, cobbled streets and 4 fantastic museums (and only 4bol for a pass for all of them). After that, we visited the San Francisco Cathedral  (20bol), where the guide was great and showed us the old bodegas, herb gardens, opulent church and fantastic views from the bell tower. 
We wandered through the witches market (mainly selling the usual tourist tat, but with a few eerie additions, including dried llama foetuses - urgh!), then through the vast local markets, with street after street of the most colourful and enormous fruit and veg - we’re talking record breaking stuff here! We followed them down to the infamous San Pedro prison (where we’d decided not to actually go inside after hearing horror stories - plus it’s run by the inmates!), which is actually beside a lovely plaza. 
So obviously that was enough culture for Barry, so we headed to the cinema to see Transformers 3! There were only three of us in total in the cinema (maybe because the screening was in English), so we got speaking to the other guy (Martin) and decided to head out for some drinks together. We started off in the Wild Rover (a crazy Irish bar just round the corner from our hostel), where the ‘couple of drinks’ quickly turned into a major session, going from beers to rums to sambucas! Our hostel was apparently the place to party (and so far we hadn’t really experienced that side of it as we’d both been feeling rubbish - apart from hearing the blaring beats while we tried to sleep), so we headed round there and weren’t disappointed! Great atmosphere, good music, cheap drinks……and after far too many shots, we fell into bed at the end of a perfect day (well, apart from Transformers!)
As we were leaving first thing on Saturday morning, we spent Friday doing a bit of catching up (blogs, photos, emails etc), a spot of shopping and had an early dinner at a wee Italian on Illampu (needless to say it was Barry’s turn to be feeling a bit unwell!).
We actually spent far longer in La Paz than we’d ever anticipated, and although it was partly down to necessity, it’s actually a really cool city to hang out in, with fantastic places to eat and drink, great shopping and loads of thing to see and do. I only wish we’d felt a bit better while we were there, but we know for certain that we’ll definitely be back!
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Susana on

Me encanta verlos tan felices. Un beso grande

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