Well it took some time to convince Bern however finally he agreed to do a bike trip down death road. It was expensive for Bolivian standards however Bern managed to get them down in price to 43 pounds each for the tour. Taking the tour with the agency at the front of our hostel we started with some breakie & by 7:45 we were on the road & heading to La Cumbra (our starting point at 4700 metres). Our day entailed cycling 65 km, all mostly downhill to the town of Coroico which sits at 1200 metres above sea level. After we pulled over on the side of the road we were briefed on the doīs & donīts by Victor our guide. We tested out of brakes & were kitted out with elbow & knee pads, helmets & face masks to go along with the sexy outfits we had already received. I was disappointed that Bernie was not wearing any spandex but it was properly a good thing as I needed to keep my eyes on the road
. The first part of the journey was my favorite & Bernīs as we were on tarmac road all downhill with not too much traffic, we just tucked ourselves behind the handle bars & flew down the hill. Due to the altitude we were cycling in amongst the clouds & the scenery was breathtaking. Bernie (of course) turned into a boy racer & I surprised myself that I was not at the back of the pack. Eventually we came to the unsealed road which was a different ball game altogether. At this point we found out that we had to remain on the cliff side of the path which taking your concentration off the boulder filled road for a second could have meant instant death. It was tough going for quite a few hours & my hands ached from squeezing the brakes every 2 seconds & the old bingo wings got a right old workout. On the road we were stopping every 15 minutes which I am not sure my hands could have taken anymore. Bernie with his competitive streak ended up pushing myself to the limits & came off the bike without pretty much a mark on him. Due to our decent we were starting to notice a change in the scenery & temperature were the humidity was slapping us in the face & we were now in the jungle. Cycling though a couple of waterfalls & muddy patches we were excited of the prospect of a shower. After cycling for about 4 hours (including breaks) we arrived at a hotel for a buffet lunch & we all ran for 2 available hot showers. It was a little bit too late for Victor to tell us about the sand flies at the hotel as within the first 10 minutes I was unaware that the little buggers were biting me. I lost count after 20. After lunch we made our way back to La Paz & just when we thought it was a sure thing to get our T-Shirt (we survived death road) our driver turns into a loco driver where he thought it is fine to overtake on blind corners & make a 3rd lane for us on very skinny roads. There was alot of silence on the way home. We did make it & thought it was well worth every near death experience we had.
Off to Lake titicaca today (10/05/10). Be in touch very soon. Pics to come.