I've got quite some words left, but hardly any photos from these last days. So here's a short timelapse clip, followed by the end of the story.
On Thursday morning we took the 9 am bus to La Paz. After an hour or something, everyone had to leave the bus and get on a boat, while the bus was being moved across a leg of the lake with another boat. After another couple hours we arrived in La Paz around 1 pm. The bus route coming from the west offers an impressive view of the whole city, spreading its buildings all across hills and valleys, as so many South American cities do. We walked to a bed & breakfast called The Adventure Brew B&B (they also have a similar style hostel) where we paid 160 Bolivianos (23$) for an ensuite twin room a night. The advantage of that hostel (other than it’s nice and clean and offers some cool activities and the staff is friendly and helpful and the location is not bad and the rate includes delicious all-you-can-eat pancakes for breakfast and check-out isn’t before 1 pm) is that you get a free beer every day. That Saya beer is actually brewed by their very own microbrewery and doesn’t taste all that bad. (The pancakes weren't that delicious, to be honest.)
On the first two days we basically walked around the city, ate and drank. On the third day, it was finally time to visit my first ever football game on that continent. The second game of Bolivia’s Torneo Clausura for Club Bolívar was set against Real Potosí, whose logo looked quite similar to Read Madrid’s. They don’t play the best football in Bolivia, the referee didn’t do a god job either and made a nice present to Potosí (a penalty) and they scored. Just before the half-time whistle, he red-carded the guests, which had a big effect on the second half, that was completely dominated by Bolívar. Each team hit the bar once before the home team were able to finally turn the match around and won 2-1. What was remarkable and somewhat funny was that in the half-time and after the game the police had to separate the players on the pitch. Unfortunately I could not bring my camera into the stadium with me.
We went to see Cholitas Wrestling on Sunday. It was actually some poor catch wrestling resp. Lucha Libre with some of the fighters being cholitas (female wrestlers dressed up as indigenous women). I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone, it wasn’t funny nor interesting. We wanted to visit the San Pedro Prison and the Coca Museum on Monday resp. Tuesday, though the museum was closed both days due to carnival, and the cops in front of the prison told us we couldn’t visit it.
We booked a tour for the famous Death Road or World’s Most Dangerous Road which descends from over 4600 meters above the sea to about 1200. I paid 350 Bolivianos for transport, bike rental, snacks and drinks, lunch buffet, swimming pool and shower in a hotel afterwards, a CD with some photos the guides took, and a t-shirt. Apparently this was one of the cheapest tour operators, though they did a good job (except for picking us up about an hour too late). When we started it’d just begun to snow a little, but the weather was changing a lot from snow to rain to sun to rain and back again during the ride. Most of the road was graveled and it was a lot of fun speeding down these roads. Even though I wouldn’t want to drive down there in a car, it didn’t feel dangerous by bike. At some points it went down like 200m right next to the road which was very impressing (just like the beautiful woodsy landscapes), but I never felt in danger at all.
We went to buy bus tickets, book hostels and check-in our flights on Thursday and returned to La Paz’s national football stadium to watch the Copa Libertadores game between The Strongest and Arsenal. The tickets we bought off some guys standing in front of the stadium, cost us 45 Bolivianos each. This game’s niveau was quite a bit better than the one’s we’ve seen the Saturday before. The Strongest won 2-1 which was well deserved. The guests were just lying on the pitch like all the time and they finished the game with but nine men after two red cards.
Good restaurants in La Paz: La Cueva (Mexican), El Arriero (Argentinian steakhouse), Cafe Illampu (good breakfast and Swiss food).
I found a direct bus (of course there were stops at the borders, and there was one in Puno, but I did not have to change buses) from La Paz to Juliaca, Perú, where my flight to Lima was leaving from. Since I had slept like half an hour the night before and there was quite a party going on in our hostel, the trip wasn’t the biggest pleasure. I paid 150 Bolivianos for a semi cama seat in the very first row with a panoramic view (which was only disturbed by a broken windshield). Arrived in Juliaca, I walked around for a bit and figured that in this place, carnival had just started, which didn’t make me all that happy, after almost a week of carnival in La Paz. I got a taxi for 10 Nuevo Soles to the (very tiny) airport and waited for a couple hours, before leaving that ugly shithole of a city, flying back to Lima, where I was seeing some people I’d met in Quito and again in Montañita. Another five awesome days in the most awesome city NYC (cheap flight via Panama City) and then finally back home.
And that was it. Ever since, I dream of going back there as soon as possible. ¡Hasta próximo!