Wednesday (Miercoles) 9th June, 2010
Day 453

La Paz, Bolivia
La Paz, Bolivia
Miles: 46,116
S 16.56796°
W 68.08921°

We had not intended to get as far as la Paz today but the road was good and we made better time than we had anticipated. After about an hours driving the mountainous topography gave way to flatter more open territory facilitating faster travel.

Mid morning after traveling along the eastern side of Laguna Uru Uru for about 100 km we came into the town of Oruru. It was an ugly transport and mining hub with rubbish everywhere. For miles around and through the town every square foot of ground beside the highway had been used as a dumping place for building and domestic rubbish.

As we approached La Paz the snow covered peaks of the mountain Illimani suddenly popped into view to the north east. This is the first snow capped mountain we have seen in many weeks.

The entry to La Paz is through a southern suburb called El Alto, which is on a plateau above the center of the city of La Paz. From the highway the area seems to be one long market. Mile after mile of roughly constructed brick buildings with people selling all types of vehicle products, hardware, beds, kitchen appliances.

We had GPS coordinates for the hotel we intended to stay at and spent a little while trying to move in the direction of those coordinates. We dropped off the plateau into the valley where the city proper resides. This was one of the steepest descents of our entire journey and it was a city street. However we eventually gave up and approached a taxi driver - after much gesticulating we got him to understand that we wanted him to take Nina in the taxi and go to the Mallasa district and I would follow. This worked very well, he drove slowly enough for me to keep up. The drive to Mallasa gave us a glimpse of the city and the so called valley of the moon - an area of highly eroded valley walls that have been formed into all kinds of strange shapes. This area is now residential with houses built all over these strange eroded shapes.


The Oberland hotel in the Mallasa district of La Paz. There was no way we could navigated to this place by ourselves - ask a taxi to lead the way.