We had a choice of activities for our rest day in La Paz. Several chose to ride mountain bikes down “The Road of Death.” Others chose to ride their motorcycles up the same road. Even though it is a road that I’ve seen on The National Geographic Channel and would like to say I’ve survived, with mud and water a strong possibility on its dirt surface, I chose option 3: a city tour.
Ernest, Thomas, Reinhardtt, Chuck, and I first were guided to Valle De La Luna, Moon Valley, a unique landscape area right in metro La Paz. Interesting formations caused by erosion were seen all around. One called “The Lady’s Hat” was a tall column which was protected from erosion by a huge rock at the top of the column. Plants grew out of its top. It amazes me how Mother Nature (Pachamama here in Bolivia) can grow plants in such challenging places while I struggle to grow vegetables in ideal conditions in Georgia.
Also in Moon Valley, we heard the sweet sound of the Quena, a Bolivian flute. Andreas was playing an instrument made by his grandfather out of Jacaranda wood and llama bone. A few of us had to give it a try. Fortunately, he had a few of these beautiful instruments available for purchase.
At 11,913 ft, La Paz is the highest governmental center in the world. Our drive took us by beautiful new bridges and the world’s highest stadium. Bolivians love playing home games over huffing and puffing competitors attempting to breathe at this high altitude.
One museum housed on a street refurbished as it was during colonial times displayed collages made from wood, metal, glass and other substances. Another showed only gold. The Coca Museum told the history of coca, its leaves and other derivatives such as the original Coca-Cola and cocaine.
In the central square is found the starting point, Kilometer 0, for all roads in Bolivia starting in La Paz. Around the square are the governmental offices and palace. We got a brief view of President Morales as he stepped into his waiting motorcade.
No tour of La Paz would be complete without a walk through the witches’ market. Here llama fetuses, strange potions and other offerings can be purchased. I guess those who shop here are part of the 15% of Bolivians that are not Catholic.
After our tour, I treated myself to a little “retail therapy.” In pursuit of stickers for our bikes from each country we visit, I found Bolivia stickers in about the 25th store in which I checked. Yeah! A set of silver and stone jewelery caught my eye. The little lady in native dress was so helpful that I decided I would support her personal economy and have a nice souvenir for myself.
13-Feb La Paz Rest Day
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