Climbing 600 metres, down 700.
It was pretty cold in the morning when we woke up, so I set off wearing all warm clothes. When I got about 3 kilometres down the road I could see why it was so cold, there was snow on all the surrounding mountain ranges.
Most of the way was a gradual up gradient, and a few road works. Past one road works was about 5 kilometres of corrugated surface, dust, and trucks and cars – not great for asthma!
At about 70 kilometres we had been warned that there was a road block where protesters had blocked off the road, but cyclists should be allowed through. When we got there, the first road block looked like nothing – just a few people sitting across the road. However after that there were about another 10 road blocks, about every 500 meters or so, each one bigger than the last. The protesters were ok with cyclists going through the blockades, but not vehicles. However the closer to the city the more militant they were becoming, and because of this, instead of riding last 20 kilometres in a convey, we all met at 90 kilometres and were taken in a bus to La Paz.
Crazy city, people and vehicles, gridlocked traffic, fumes, mini vans darting in and out. 1.5 million people in a small space, the altiplano above, and a valley below.
We could not park outside the hotel so had to take our bikes and bags up a steep street to the hostel. By the time I got up the street each time I was breathless (La Paz is 3,800 meters in altitude). Then we find out there is no lift in the hotel and I am on the 5th floor! More huffing and puffing and stopping a couple of times each time on the way up.
After showering and sorting out laundry etc I went to have a look at the city. It was chaotic, hard to move on the side walk for the crush of people, plus both sides of the pavement had street vendors selling their wares. I was amused to see that the zebra crossings had people in zebra suits marshalling/assisting people across.
I bought some water, found a cash machine (the first 3 declined to take my card) and headed back to the hotel.
Later on I went to a curry place “Star of India”, that Lonely Planet said was pretty good. I had onion bhaji, which had a nice spicy sauce, chicken tikka masala (which was average), a really nice almond spice rice, and garlic nan that was not eatable: floury and hard. With a Bock beer which is Bolivian and much nicer than the other two I have tried so far. Plus a Bolivian Sauvignon Blanc which was pretty average. As always with Indian, I felt really full after.
Back to the hotel to sleep, and no alarm to set 😀