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La Paz

Added: June 06, 2010

Tags: Bolivia RTW SouthAmerica church city mountains photos
It was the 35th day of our travelling, Monday 1st of February 2010. Our flight landed at El Alto. We walked about 100m to passport control and it was sufficient to get light headed and heavy breathing. No wonder, El Alto is at about 4100m above sea level and we flew there from Santiago de Chile at 520m. With such high elevation any strange feelings in head cannot be ignored.

I cannot help myself, I have to show many photos here. No wonder, we've spent more days in La Paz than at any other place we travelled through. We wanted to acclimatize to this altitude well before heading to "wilderness" and spent there 4 days. And then later 3 unplanned days. During that time I found I like La Paz a lot. It's atmosphere, people, colours, mountains, even weather was amazing.

Our stay was enhanced by very good hostel Cruz de los Andes we stayed at. Staff did not speak English much, only one lady was able to help in all cases, but for simpler needs we managed well also with others. We liked especially old lady in kitchen who served breakfast.

While staying in La Paz to get acclimatized to altitude you don't need to be bored. You can make many small trips in surroundings. We went to Tiwanaku and Valle de la Luna (those are easy) and later we made a hike to Chacaltaya (~5300m). You can go further away, like for example visiting Copacabana at Lake Titicaca.

Colours of La Paz

Till now it seemed La Paz can offer only grey and terracotta colours. But that is not complete truth. There are many more colours there. I am going to show you. I hope these photos show at least partially why we liked La Paz so much.

And I promise I will write less boring stuff and show more photos.

Calle Jean

The most colourful part of La Paz is street Calle Jean. We went there twice, because we came there too late the first time and the street was already in shade while the sky was greyish and it was hard to expose it.

I really liked strong colours and how every house was different. Not only in colours, but also doors, windows.


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The 2nd day it started to rain. We went into restaurant directly on this street. After long time we decided it is time to move on. But where to go? Maybe we could go into that museum of musical instruments.

We did not expect much, but 5 BOB seemed like fair price for rain shelter. We were nicely surprised with whole exhibit. They show some armadillo guitars, they have hairy and also bald version. They have many normal guitars, folk variants, but also several mutant guitars - like for example guitar for 2 players, star guitar - with 6 necks. All of these mutants were created by one designer.

Probably the best part of exposition was possibility to play on several instruments. We cannot play any, but other visitors tried every piece regardless its similarity to your idea about musical instruments.

This photo shows entrance to museum: Museo Instrumentos Musicales de Bolivia.

Inside of museum, exposition is upstairs.

I have mentioned before this street has nice collection of windows and doors. I always liked to take photos of windows and I did not waste the opportunity here. So it is time to show some from this street.



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And finally I am going to show series of lamps. Lamps you don't see in Europe much nowadays. Their patterns were also very nice and hard to resist. I can imagine if I went to this street again next day I would take the same photos again. But that could be just my failing memory :-)



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People of La Paz

Finally I am going to show some photos of colourful people. I am not good at shooting people, but it was very hard to resist in La Paz. Notice those unbelievable hats!

Having section about people, I should mention special way we handled taxi drivers. Being suspicious and reading stories before we did not leave anything for chance. We decided we will never allow taxi to run off with our luggage. So after arriving where we wanted to I went out, leaving door wide open (curb side), to pick our luggage from trunk. Zuzka waited inside and left only after our luggage was safely thrown on ground.

To be fair, the most of drivers went out to help me with luggage, but we met a German guy at Uyuni who have seen his luggage for the last time when he put it into trunk of taxi in La Paz. So my paranoid scenario was not too crazy.



No, she was not shot by police. She just had fun :-)