All posts tagged: La Paz

Bolivian detours: An unexpected visitor

Caroline and I waved a final goodbye to La Paz the day after we braved Death Road and survived relatively unharmed. Heaving on my backpack and walking through the city to the terminal is slightly more difficult with my various injuries, but I manage it. We’ve opted for one of the cheapest buses in the terminal and aren’t too surprised therefore at the dilapidated state of the vehicle that pulls in. Entrenched in the ways of our overly-organised nations, we stand a little baffled before boarding, waiting for someone – anyone – to confirm it’s the right bus, look at our tickets, put our rucksacks in the hold or pay any attention to us whatsoever. As the departure time approaches and nothing changes we eventually decide to climb on board, big bags and all, and the bus leaves a few minutes later. We’re the only gringos on board and it’s a hectic, cold and rather disconcerting journey, with frequent stops and interruptions of many kinds. I sleep little, my bag clutched to myself. We’re heading …

Coroico and the world’s most dangerous road

The world’s most dangerous road, Camino de las Yungas or ‘Death Road’ as it’s affectionately nicknamed, is a big attraction for backpackers travelling through La Paz. Bolivia’s known for its perilous roads and high number of car accidents, and this particular route, connecting the city to sleepy village Coroico, around three hours away, was deemed so dangerous they were moved to build a new road between the two places. Mountain bikers and the tour agency collectivos following closely behind are now its only traffic. At first, I had no interest in the tour, mainly because I was stuck in my hostel trying to keep food down for the first week in the country. But also, I had never mountain biked or particularly desired to before and didn’t see why I would try it now because the gringo trail demanded it of me. I was more interested in Coroico itself, one of Lonely Planet’s top picks for Bolivia which is recommended as a place for relaxation and ‘extreme hammocking’. I liked the idea of a relaxing …

Locked in Loki: My first week in La Paz

It’s the bus journey where I start to feel it. I always know I’m in a bad state when I reach for my iPod and one of my greatest comforts: Stephen Fry reading me one of the Harry Potter series. It’s usually a later one, although the first couple sometimes still get an airing. This time I chose Half-Blood Prince. It’s similar to the few times I was ill in Cusco and amidst the ruins at Machu Picchu – there’s the nausea and lack of energy, and I decide it must be altitude sickness, the only connecting factor for all of my episodes. But a quick and lucky toilet stop indicates that this time things have considerably escalated. We’re on the short bus ride to La Paz from Copacabana. Short for me is four hours, but I suppose my UK-self, used to far shorter journeys, would dispute the term. We’re in the worst possible seats at the back of the bus. We have plastic panelling instead of a window. The air is close. I shut my eyes and lean …