The day I saw a coach cross a river on a raft...
24.02.2013 22 °C
Sadly we have to leave Copacabana today, but we're heading to La Paz. We've heard La Paz can be a little edgy but we're arriving in the daytime, so it's safety first! Before the bus, we managed to get in a little shopping - another fancy jumper each but I missed out on buying some Bolivian material that they use as their bag, which was a shame - and some lunch in sunshine. We also saw a really strange event - it was Sunday morning and there was a line of cars and vans from the church all the way down into the main road. The cars were covered in flowers and bunting, people were throwing firecrackers in front of them, popping bottles of cider and having their pictures taken in front of them. There was a priest with a bucket of water and a flower, putting water on the the cars and their engines. It was odd. Turns out it was a car blessing ceremony that happens EVERY Sunday here in Copacabana!
The bus journey was only to be about 3 hours and we passed more stunning scenery along the way.
Then we stopped after about an hour, everyone was getting off and we didn't know why?! Turns out, you have to cross water on this trip, so on to a 'ferry' we went. After seeing how the buses crossed, I was glad we didn't have to stay on them...
Arriving in La Paz, the city was amazing - buildings crammed into and up the sides of a large valley - and above snow covered mountains. It was really beautiful and I was expecting that. Pulling into the bus station, we saw a drunk - or otherwise - throw himself at a moving coach....more expected!
We took a taxi to Cruz de Los Andes hotel. Similar in decor to Hotel Utama in Copacabana - they love their murals! - Cruz de Los Andes seemed fine, despite our room being on the 4th floor. The altitude still gets you out of breath walking up stairs!
The main reason we came to La Paz was the Death Road. This is a 63km mountain bike trail, down the side of a mountain, on a thin road that previously was used by cars that frequently fell off the edge. Hence the name. It was still scary though looking at the pictures and hearing the stories. So many people we know or have met, either know someone or did fall off and hurt themselves badly. Also, I'm not a biking enthusiast or expert, I don't think I have really ridden a mountain bike since I was 13, and I'm scared of heights!
Anyway, we'd been in contact with Vertigo Biking, who had great reviews on tripadvisor and were a lot cheaper than Gravity, and they'd told us they had another couple going tomorrow so we should join them. At their shop, they showed us the pictures and the trail, and I still wasnt sure if I could do it. She told me she'd done it twice and I asked her whether she had died either time?! Then she pulled out the safety helmet - a full face trail bike-style thing, and I freaked out. To add to my list of cowardices, having things over my face is another one! It took me about 20 minutes to get the helmet on to try it out! Andrew really wanted to do it and he didn't want to leave me on my own all day as it's 8am-8pm, and I didn't want him to miss out and after my safety hat trauma I didn't want my fears to win so we booked it. We're going to ride Death Road tomorrow!
Dinner was the only thing that could take my mind off the biking. We walked a little while and went into a restaurant called Little Italy. We had a delicious 3 courses - soup, creamy chicken pasta and a baked custard - for £3 each. Still loving it.