Titicaca and La Paz

BoliviaPosted by Espen Thu, September 01, 2011 00:05:38

It was late in the afternoon when we drove from the Bolivian border station. From our maps and notes from other traveller we knew there was a hotel in Copacabana that allowed campers in their parking lot. We paid 30 Bolivianos (4,5 usd) and we could sit in their lounge and enjoy the views of Titicaca in front of the fireplace. And WiFi was included.

The next morning we had a stroll in the town, and it kind of seemed like low season. Plenty of boats and restaurants, but not many tourists.

On the way out of town we were stopped at a checkpoint, and they wanted 20 bolivianos before we could pass. After driving in Bolivia for a while now, we have kind of become used to this “municipality tax”. And in most cases, it looks like the Bolivianos (not from the actual town) have to pay as much as us.

From Copacabana the road ends at a small strait where you have to use a “ferry”. The ferry is a small wooden barge, and it is about 10-12 meters (30-35 ft) long. This would definitely be scary in some waves. The barge was relatively “soft” and moved with the waves, and for a moment we were wondering if this was a bad move. Then we saw the bus, and figured we would be okay…

About two hours later we drove into El Alto, a suburb of La Paz. The traffic is heavy and chaotic, but not too aggressive. Later in the day I noticed a small scratch on the side of my front steel bumper that hasn’t been there before, but I have no idea what or when it happened.

Our mission in La Paz was a visit to Ernesto Hug’s garage to see if he could help us change the bushes in our rear trailing arms. These have been bad for a while, but Nissan in Peru could not get us the needed parts. We punched in the coordinates for his garage, and the Garmin Nuvi took us all the way to his front door. We were even allowed to camp in the garage as long as it took to fix the car.

It was definitely about time to change these...

After a couple of days working on the Patrol we finally drove off from the city center and found our way to Hotel Oberland. This is the overland meeting point in Bolivia, and we found of course some fellow travellers staying there. We spent two nights here before driving on, and we also got to try cheese fondue for the first time as this is a “Swiss” hotel.

In the next post we’ll find out if “the most dangerous road in the world” is as dangerous as they say…


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