The Ten

The Ten

Thursday, 22 October 2015

La Paz, Bolivia.

It was a ride of two halves from Copacabana to La Paz. The first half was a wonderful ride along quiet roads with gorgeous views over Titicaca and later the high snow capped Bolivian Andes. There was also a short ferry journey across Titicaca on what was basically a rickety old raft with an outboard motor; my front wheel dropping between the planks as I tried to disembark. Once free; the great riding continued for a while before the roadworks started. Many times the road had to follow a "Desvio" of rocky, dusty dirt before re-joining the road proper. This only stopped when the outskirts of La Paz (El Alto) arrived; then instead of dust, I was breathing diesel fumes as the traffic crawled along. Then into the city itself  and the traffic thinned as I crested the rim of the valley to see La Paz spread along the valley below me. The road snaked down into the valley and my sat. nav. took me down narrow, cobbled backstreets into the city centre. It really is great fun riding in these chaotic big cities; joining the anarchy with a big grin plastered across my face.

The next few days in La Paz were largely spent watching the Rugby World Cup Quarter Finals. Four bad results for the northern hemisphere. Never mind; roll on Japan 2019!
La Paz is a dangerous city, apparently. I'm sure its reputation is deserved, but personally, I never felt threatened in any way. I had a wander around the centre; took a ride on the Teleferico cable car for some panoramic city views and generally relaxed. I'm a big city person anyway, I like the buzz and anonymity they provide. Riding in wild countryside is a great, life-affirming, joyous thing to do; but at the end of the day, put me in a big city pub with a cold pint and I'm happy.

I also managed to fit in a day trip to see the pre-Incan ruins of Tiwanaku and Pumu Punku (the place the "ancient alien" people drool over). These were particularly interesting piles of old rocks; the carvings at Pumu Punku in particular were unnecessarily complex; sadly there is nothing left of the original structure, just a load of these bizarrely intricate blocks. The so called "alien" head carvings in the "sub-terranean" temple were less convincing; although what's left of the temple itself was impressive.

Soon enough, after having been off the bike for too long, it was time to leave La Paz and continue the journey south to the high altiplano and some big skies.

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