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Immediately after arriving from Madrid to Lima in Peru, we had to travel to La Paz which is the capital of Bolivia. Here we set off on a journey around this country.

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Travel to La Paz

Arriving in South America to visit Peru and Bolivia, we already had a plan outlined. We flew to Lima for a day, but we decided that if there was time left at the end of the trip, we would visit it again. The idea was to be closer to the Lima airport in case of delays at the end of our trip, from which we were to return via Madrid to Polish. So, the next day about the world, we went by plane on a journey to La Paz, the capital of Bolivia.

Flight from Lima to La Paz

The first flight in America we made to La Paz, from which we were to set off to a small desert town of Uyuni in the department (something like a province) – Potosí, thanks to which we saved a lot of time, because both capitals are about 1700 km apart. Unfortunately, it was not so easy and it was not without problems.

Already at the airport it turned out that our seats were changed when handing over luggage, but for such a flight it did not make a difference to us. It is important that we were to fly to La Paz. However, before this happened, an interesting question was asked…

Do we have return tickets to Peru?

When handing over our luggage, we learned that before they give us boarding passes and we fly out, we must present return tickets to Peru. I do not know what is the purpose of this, because if it would prevent emigration, what is the problem of buying a return ticket and not using it? Arriving in Peru from Europe, we declared that we were on enough and so many days. If we were incumbent, they could look for us.

Ordering tickets from TicketsBolivia.com

It got to the point that we had to quickly embrace a return, just to show. We wanted to buy tickets through the TicketsBolivia.com website using phones, but for 30 minutes of using free WiFi we constantly got an error at the stage of placing an order. We started looking for tourist information where you could use the Internet. There we also met a boy from Europe who wanted to visit his friend from Bolivia, but he had a problem with his payment card. The old computer on the information also could not open the page with tickets.

We determined that the ticket was best ordered from an iPhone, so while running around the airport we looked for a café where there would be free Wi-Fi. We found a place. Promising to order something (having 10 minutes to check-in) we asked for the password to WiFi, finally managed to order tickets for us and a colleague from the information. He paid me with dollars, and I made the payment from my card in USD. It worked, so again with all the bundles we ran to pick up these cursed tickets and hand over the big backpacks.

Flying in circles

After getting on the plane, before departure, the pilot joked that we were flying to Lima. However, it turned out that due to weather conditions at the airport, where we had a transfer, the plane had to turn back. We landed back in Lima.

After landing, we were taken to the terminal, where a nice lady informed us a little in Spanish and a little English that our tickets would be converted into a direct flight to La Paz. However, it took a while, because they did not have all the tickets for us at once. Finally, at the last minute, we ran to the international terminal to check in directly to Bolivia. They got to grips with it quite efficiently and, fortunately, no one got lost.

Landing in La Paz

After landing in La Paz, I felt a bit like I was drunk. Apparently, it’s normal, because of the altitude, and we were dirty and sweaty after the whole situation at the airport in Lima … Well, it’s hard. Apparently, it is enough to chew coca leaves and it should go a little, so we went to the exchange office to exchange some bucks for bolivians and went to get a taxi to the city.

By the way, our colleague from the airport met someone else from Europe on the plane and together we could get on the transport and possibly look for some accommodation in five.

Btw. And this Samsung, it’s quite good at airports.

Travel to La Paz from the airport

From the airport we had a bit to the city, by the way we could admire the beautiful views of the city, which is located in the valley. Here you can immediately see that it is not such a rich city as Lima. Unfinished buildings can be seen practically everywhere, which is quite common in both countries, since their homes usually grow with the expansion of the family. Those built with regulations have water and electricity there, and some have to combine with water in barrels and tanks.

Here, too, people refer differently to traffic rules. Practically every now and then someone somewhere trumpets someone, which probably does not surprise anyone there. As if it were a natural thing. People pass and run in any places and no one will give them a 100 zł fine for it, only someone can honk. All in all, it may look dangerous, but I did not see that anything happened there, or that an ambulance was going somewhere on the signal for an accident. In my opinion, everyone should take responsibility for themselves and look only if something is going, and not at whether somewhere in the back does not go or the police are going (this is what the tickets taught me).

Hotel or Hostel?

After reaching the city, we had to look for accommodation. The first thing that caught our eye was The Adventure Brew B&B – Beds, Brews, Bikes & BBQs, which consisted of two separate premises under the same name. The first reception led to a hostel with dormitories that we didn’t want to have, even though they were cheap. We wanted to buy the possibility of using the shower, but they did not want to agree without buying beds. Our friends from the plane used the hostel, and we just left our bags there.

It turned out that right next to them they have a second, not much more expensive, premises with separate 3-person rooms, where you can leave things and take a shower. In addition, the hostel had its own washing machines and dryers, so we could refresh the sweaty clothes a little after the marathon at the airport. For this breakfast included in the price and access to terrible WiFi. Fairy tale.

After leaving large backpacks, we went to the city to eat something. Here the streets already look like in the cities in the center of Europe. It gets a little exotic, but people are still very kind and smiling. Trade does not flourish here in shopping malls, but on the streets and stalls. Here on every corner we can have a snack, drink, or give shoes to clean through a street shoe. Pseudo-telephone booths look cool, from which you can call, and we pay for the call to the person who operates them from his kiosk.

In the hostel, we were recommended to go to one of the squares in the city center, where there is a concrete behemoth, the atmosphere reminiscent of the stadium of the twentieth anniversary.

Kitchen for pennies

After a small walk from the hostel, we came across the main market in La Paz, which is a big concrete behemoth – on each level there was something different. We were only interested in the level with dinners. The choice was not easy, because they all looked very similar, so mainly the encouragement of the service convinces to choose.

On the spot, we ordered several different dishes and soup to start with, after a drink. Everything is done there very efficiently. Interestingly, the cook went to another place for drinks, because she herself had piles of empty bottles. The portions were large and we ate soup really well, and despite everything for 3 people we paid, for our money, together about 15 zł.

Remedy for altitude sickness

Due to the high altitude in La Paz, it was worth drinking, from time to time, coca leaf tea, which supposedly eliminates its effects. We used a special drug from the pharmacy to help. In my opinion, it did not help much, because I still had more or less migraine. We also tried special Soroche Pill pills that did not completely protect us. They can be purchased at the pharmacy without a prescription.

Sightseeing in La Paz

After a good dinner, we went to explore the city.

Day two in La Paz

The next day, a little more sleepy and embraced, we ate breakfast in our hostel to gain strength to explore the city and shop for souvenirs. As it turned out, there are so many stalls and souvenirs that I did not know whether my head hurts due to altitude sickness or by this choice. It wasn’t easy with only a backpack and 2.5 weeks of travel ahead.

Witch Market

Passing through the city, we came across the Witch Market, but it was not so bad there. We managed to find some souvenirs and buy some coca leaves to chew on for our trip around Bolivia.

At some stalls you could meet small dried lamellae. From what I have learned, this is one of the gifts to a deity called Pachamama. Pachamama is responsible for the successes and failures of the inhabitants, which helps to make dreams come true. Only to ask her to do so, you have to make a sacrifice to her, preferably from a newborn llama. Unfortunately, this is quite an expensive gift for residents and more often we will meet fetuses of unborn llamas in stalls. Residents buy such dried lamellas and usually bury them on the corners of the foundations of newly created houses to bring them success in fulfilling their dreams. They also often add sugar plates with the symbol of what they want, because Pacamama also likes sweets, e.g. they give her a sugar plate with the image of a motorcycle as a gift to fulfill the dream of a two-wheeler.

Departure to Uyuni

It wasn’t hard to leave. A few meters, but under a slight hill, we had a bus station right away, where you could get tickets from various carriers. We already had our tickets booked earlier, so we had to find our coach there.

It’s good that we had some small ones, because as it turns out, a ticket is not everything. Going to the bus you have to pay some night fee, which probably protects them from the homeless. We then get a ticket that authorizes us to enter the place of departure. Although, after all, it still stinks there like in ToiToi.

It is important to choose some convenient transport, because tickets are not expensive there, and it is worth choosing a carrier that offers reclining seats. In our coach we had seats that were folded almost flat, with a special board that supports the legs. For this we get a warm blanket for the duration of the trip. Without all this, you could go crazy. Most of the road is speed bumps in cities, or bumpy roads through deserts, where the journey can take a few or several hours.

On the road, it is worth getting something to eat and drink and toilet paper if we get altitude sickness. Although sometimes we will get a snack, at the stops we will not order a warm hot dog from Orlen, but some snacks from the stall, which has never seen sanitary control. I do not exclude that you can eat well there, but it is better not to risk.

With this paper it is really worth being careful, because buying a toilet for 1-2 bolivians we get 5 paper leaves, a toilet that looks like in an abandoned ruin, where dirty paper is thrown into the trash next to it, and the water is drained with a jug of water. You certainly won’t spend much time there with your smartphone, even if there is internet available there.



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Fotograf eventowy - Marcin Krokowski