After we successfully crossed the border to Bolivia, we stayed for one day in Copacabana before going to La Paz. In Copacabana people have to pay 1 Boliviano just to enter the town and people who bought a ticket directly to La Paz also have to pay it, no matter if they want or not…. Welcome to Bolivia, that is…
Copacabana is famous in Bolivia because this is the place where lots of Bolivians bring their cars to be blessed by a priest. People do it because that’s cheaper than a car insurance and in the days to come we were about to find out a lot more than we wanted about how Bolivians behave in the traffic.
What can I say about La Paz…. Well, it’s the highest capital in the world at around 3650-4100m. Other than that I cannot say much because it’s not something to write home about. People haven’t been too friendly and that’s very polite said. We just wanted to get a small look at it and then move further to the south where the nicer places are. So, after reading lots of horror stories about road accidents and after witnessing it with our own eyes on the way from Copacabana to La Paz we decided to take the plane. On this road the driver of the bus drove more on the left side of the road and he was just speeding and horning in the curves with cliffs on one side and the never ending canyon on the other as if horning would help in a country where the vehicles are so old that if you sit in a truck you can hear nothing but the engine. So, we decided to take the plane, probably an option with statistically just a slightly more chance to reach your destination in one piece in Bolivia. We first wanted to fly directly to Uyuni and already bought the tickets, just to be told a day after that the plane is not flying due to maintenance problems…. At this point Diana already was scared about this “safer” option but I somehow convinced here that it’s better to fly to Sucre than taking the bus. So we bought the tickets and ended up flying with TAM, which stands for Transporte Aereo Militar, you guessed, it’s a military company. I don’t know if the planes were used by the military before or not but they looked quite nice and after some bumpy shakes we landed safely in Sucre which is the constitutional capital of Bolivia. Sucre left us a far better impression than La Paz with quite a few good restaurants. When we wanted to leave Sucre for Uyuni we were again introduced to one of the Bolivians’ favorite activities…the strikes. If you’re now thinking about the typical strikes in France or Germany you’re making a big mistake. This is a different level. When Bolivians strike, which is very often (every two weeks or so), they block all the main roads and because in Bolivia you have just one road between big cities, you are stuck. It’s also very dangerous to try to avoid these blockades and the taxi drivers also don’t do it because they say the strikers have dynamite and they will definitely try to hurt you if they catch that you do not obey their rules… Fortunately for us, this strike lasted only one day so we were able to continue our journey the day after.
One amazing thing we’ve seen or done
In Peru on the Salkantay Trek we met a couple from Switzerland, Marco and Denise, and we talked about a lot of things with one being the food back home and of course cheese fondue, the Swiss specialty. We already arranged for a meeting next summer and never in the world was I hoping to eat cheese fondue before that. But… surprise, surprise… in Sucre we found a restaurant which offered cheese fondue and we tried it out. It was unexpectedly delicious. I know what some of you are thinking now, “This guy goes to Bolivia and all he wants to eat is cheese fondue, what an idiot….” but the Bolivian cuisine is nothing to write home about and after eating so many crap food in the last weeks and also having stomach problems after it we decided to go for a safe choice.
Salar de Uyuni