Friday, 21 November 2014

The Land of Surprises: Bolivia

After an enlightening shamanic retreat in the jungles of Peru, we flew back to Lima from Iquitos on the 17th of November 2013 and took an overnight bus to Arequipa which lasted 16 hours. Then another bus journey of 6 hours to get to Puno. We spent around 35 hours on the road and were at the point of exhaustion when we arrived our hostel (Marlon’s House) in Puno. It was such a pleasure to sleep in a comfortable bed again after a warm shower. 

The next morning, we organised our bus tickets to Copacabana which is a small town on the Bolivian side of the Lake Titicaca. The whole trip from Lima to Copacabana cost us around $50, which was a great deal! Bus is the most economical option to use when travelling in South America. After an hour on the bus, we stopped at the border crossing, got our exit stamps from Peruvian immigration, and then walked for 30 metres into a smaller immigration office on the Bolivian side. Super easy!

The view form our room at Hotel Mirador

After a short trip, the bus driver dropped us off in front of a hotel next to the lake Titicaca and mentioned that we could get a room for $7 per person including breakfast. Obviously, we wanted to check the rooms first. To our surprise, private rooms with a great lake view were waiting for us. We booked in for a couple of nights at the Hotel Mirador.

Bolivia is an extremely cheap country compared to Peru. Unfortunately, during our first night in Copacabana, I started to feel tired and weak. Later on, I started to experience chest pain and diarrhea. It could be the altitude sickness, fatigue, the food in Copacabana or a combination of all. Whatever caused it, I suffered for the next 4 days with it.

Isla del Sol (Island of the Sun)

The next morning, I could barely leave the room due to fatigue. Alex brought in some food for me but I wasn’t able to eat much. This continued for the next couple of days. Copacabana was a good place to get sick though due to its peaceful and relaxing nature. There are many nice cafes and restaurants where you can try local dishes. However, extreme caution is required with restaurant and food selection, as we met so many people who got very sick in there. One of them even ended up in a hospital for a couple of days. 

During our time when I wasn't sick, we did a day trip to Isla del Sol on Lake Titicaca which is the biggest island on the lake. It was nice to see something else than the hotel room or the toilet.

After 5 days in Copacabana, we were relatively fit enough to travel again. We caught a bus to La Paz and hoped that we didn’t have to go to the toilet for the next 3 hours. We witnessed some mesmerising scenery along the way.

La Paz is one of the highest cities on Earth. When we got there, it was Alex’s turn to fight the battle of diarrhea. Thankfully we stayed in a nice hostel with a clean bathroom.

Last day of school

Our second day started with a visit to a dermatologist as Alex developed some kind of eczema in her leg during our jungle trip in Peru and it was getting worse. The dermatologist was a great guy and she got all the help she needed to heal. Apparently, it was the last day of school when we were in La Paz, and we witnessed young students chasing and throwing flour and water to each other. It was funny to watch and it brought back memories from my school days.  

I felt content, peaceful and happy in La Paz. It is nice city to visit. The people are friendly and welcoming. Unfortunately, we had to move on to the next city, Potosi, as we had limited time due to a already booked tour of Salar de Uyuni and needed to be in Tupiza within the next couple of days.

Plaza de Armas

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