We arrived into La Paz a day earlier than we had expected, so we were feeling rather smug with ourselves about how terribly efficient we were with this whole travelling thing. We arrived at the hostel we had booked and we were given orange wristbands which basically are your tab for the week. These tend to be used at the larger hostels and the ones more focused on drinking rather than seeing the sights! The message on the wristband read “if you find me drunk or lost please return me to the below address”, this was helpfully written in English and Spanish. At this stage we were slightly concerned about what we had let ourselves in for!
We decided to head out and explore of La Paz. Other than a few squares and the odd street la Paz is not a pretty place. However la Paz has a certain charm to it. We did a fantastic walking tour of the city which included hearing lots about the city, the government, visiting lots of amazing markets and seeing the infamous San Pedro prison (no visit inside though, fyi readers of Marching Powder!)
We had a brilliant day cycling down the world’s most dangerous road. The ride itself is through stunning scenery and its really quite amazing how quickly you forget about there being a 400m sheer drop next to uou at all times! The day is incredibly long, we spent 6hrs cycling and then with travel to and from, we got back into la Paz pretty late. However, fiona and I decided that surviving the bike ride deserved some celebration. We had a quick shower and change and were in the hostel bar in no time, meeting a friend of mine from Peru. After a few drinks we started talking to the bar staff and this led to numerous shots being made specially for us. Fiona and I finished the night dancing on the bar, fairly ironic given that we were concerned about the hostel being a bit too much of a party hostel!
The following day was not our best. The combination of far too many shots and high altitude resulted in pretty epic hangovers for us both. However, we managed to get some things to take back home from the markets. We finished the day getting onto a 10hr night bus heading south ready for our salt flats tour.