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  • Day39

    06/06/2017-08/06/2017 La Paz

    June 8, 2017 in Bolivia ⋅ 🌬 12 °C

    06/06/2017-08/06/2017 La Paz

    We travelled by bus from Copacabana to La Paz. At one point in our journey we needed to cross part of the lake, which involved taking a “ferry”. The ferry was a wooden barge, which did not look like it would take the weight of a bicycle let alone a coach. Luckily we all got off and took a boat across the 0.5 miles, and so could witness without experiencing.

    We got to La Paz late, and were exhausted, and once I had seen to a hangry Tom with a pizza, were finally able to go to bed.

    The following day we tackled cycling The Death Road, “the worlds most dangerous road”. The road is a 64km gravel track, which is very windy. At points the track is only as wide as 3.5m. The highest point was 4300m high, with sheer drops. Since the building of an alternate highway, it is mainly tourists that use the road for mountain biking, with a small amount of local traffic.

    We were recommended a company called Gravity by some friends from Uni. We did our research before booking and found them to be safe. They are a company run by a guy from New Zealand. On our tour we had 3 guides for 12 of us. The company have 7 full time mechanics to maintain the bikes, which never go out two days in a row. Our main guide was a Scot called Scott who installed regular breaks to ensure we were all ok, and to check our bikes with the mechanic. He gave us regular advice on how to tackle the next section and advised us of any obstacles we may encounter.

    Since getting my foot stuck in a bike wheel, I have had an aversion to bikes, and other than a wobbly cycle around central park two years ago, have not been on a bike since I was about 9 years old. Although Tom cycles to work most days, he hasn't done much mountain biking, and the terrain was slightly different to Southampton, so this was quite a challenge for us both! However, we felt like we could not come to La Paz and not try it. Plus we both love a challenge.

    We both came out the other side unscathed and neither of us fell off and celebrated with a beer at the bottom. We both really enjoyed it, and it's very different to what we have done so far.

    The following day we did a walking tour of La Paz and got to know a bit more about its history. The tour started outside the infamous San Pedro prison (from the book Marching Powder). We were strongly advised against taking a tour inside.

    The tour took us through some of the markets, which La Paz is famous for. Our guides told us about some of Bolivia's traditions and rituals, including the sacrificing of llama foetuses which are placed in the foundations of buildings. The foetuses were hanging up in the market which was a bit disconcerting.

    In the afternoon we took the cable car up to another market at the top of the city. It was huge and covered over 20 blocks. We were told you could buy anything and everything there, which wasn't a lie. We saw everything from soups to toilets to car parts and even whole cars. From the market we got a lovely panoramic view of the city and the surrounding mountains.

    We are currently at the airport ready to move on to our next stop, Uyuni.
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