17th Jul 2012 - 24th Jul 2012 - Last Big One
Day One Hundred and Sixty-Five (Bolivia)
So last Tuesday we were picked up in a taxi and driven 30mins out of La Paz to a nice suburb Mallasa, as usually happens with these tours, we were convinced to extend our package from 6hrs to a full day. So we geared up in off-road boats, jackets, gloves, body armour and helmets. Martin had a quick spin up the road on our stead for the day (Suzuki DR650) then I climbed on the back and we followed our guide Tito across the Moon Valley landscape. It wasn't long before we hit dirt track and met by several stray dogs along the route trying to get run over or attack our legs. Then the next hazard...the road itself, I certainly was glad I didn't have a bike of my own, as I gritted my teeth and held on for dear life over the gravel track with a vertical drop on one side. We had a couple of stops overlooking the city's reservoirs then up to 4700mm altitude for a view of Potosi (6088m). Got pretty chilly, then we descended through the clouds down to the next valley on tarmac, and it was surprising to see tropical plants! Another hairy climb up a cobbled track (where Tito almost collided with an oncoming car) to the village of Coroico at 1700m. A much needed break for lunch, then off again to ride up the death road. A scary feat in itself, then we had hair brain cyclist coming down on our side of the road (with poor Tito crashing at slow speed with one guy, both came off but no serious injury). The cloud had closed in and it started to rain, getting extremely cold as we reached the high road again, a couple of stops to warm our hands on the engine casing, and then we were back in the centre of La Paz for rush hour traffic (I think this was the most dangerous part of the day). So a great day in all, but my bed was the only place for me after that, and my reliable rider got me a take-away to ease the pains.
After that we had a couple of days in La Paz catching up with travel buddies, and then two became three, we picked up Martin's mum Jan from the airport in the early hours of Thursday morning. 25hrs of solid flights took their toll and she was bedridden for a day. We left her for a few hours to rest the one day and Martin got pickpocket on a busy market street, we must be the lucky travellers ever though as everyone was trying to point them out and the police grabbed the one guy and within 10mins the girl who stole his wallet brought it back with nothing missing!!
Once Jan was 95% recovered, we treated her by a day of mountain biking down the death road. She was a little apprehensive, but by the end of the day and 55km later she had a big smile on her face (relief more than pleasure I think).
The following day we got the bus 4hrs to Copacabana on Lake Titicaca, a tiny little dirt town but I'd booked us a couple of nights in a beautiful villa on the hillside (Jan liked me again). So we've been relaxing in the high altitude sun and taking leisurely walks, with a cosy log fire at night. Unfortunately it's time to move on today, so we're booked on the plush night bus and arrive in Cusco tomorrow morning. Sad to leave Bolivia.
|17th Jul 2012 Tito our little friend|
|17th Jul 2012 Glad we can't see down the hill|
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