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Published: November 12th 2018
Up earlier than expected this morning considering there was no deadline for a change. However Daisy went to shower first and it took about 15 minutes for the water to get warm enough and not the most volume of water either. A bit disappointing for such a nice looking hotel. Finally we got ourselves down for breakfast around 8:45 and after that I asked at the desk if they had any suggestions for just one day in La Paz and he offered a taxi to drive us around to the main spots including the Valle de la Lunar (Valley of the Moon) which is 13kms out of the city centre for 800BOB (Bolivian Bolivianos) which is $AU80. It would be much cheaper to go to each spot by taxi but this was so much more convenient as the driver just waits for you at each spot. The hotel guy said it would take us about 3 hours to do everything and then we could do the city walking tour at 2pm. Sounded good to us so we opted in.
The driver arrived within a few minutes but I had to get more cash from the ATM. So we set off at 09:40 and the first stop was Plaza Murillo where we saw the Catedral Metropolitana and Government buildings. Next was the Mirador Kili Kili for nice views of the city and then to museum area around Plaza Riosinho. This stop we weren’t expecting because it was now 10:30 and I couldn’t see how we could have time to look at museums, but the driver said this is where the hotel told him to take us, so we thought OK then, we’ll have a quick look. It turned out you bought one ticket for just 20BOB ($AU4) which included entry for four museums all on the same block. The first was a costume museum where they had dolls and models dressed in different costumes and also diaramas of famous scenes in history. It was quite good and it was a pity we had to rush it. Next was a Military museum with uniforms and military paraphernalia. The third Museum of Precious Metals was also very good. It had gold jewellery and other metal objects from both the pre-inca and Inca periods. The fourth was the house of Pedro Domingo Murillo who was a leader of the Bolivian independence revolution. There was very little English in these museums which suited us as we just wanted a quick look but they would all be more attractive to non-Spanish speakers if they had Translations. Most of the museums we have visited have had two languages. The smaller ones often do not.
By the time we finished all that it was 11:15 and the hotel guy said we would finish at the cable car station around 11:30 but we hadn’t been to Moon Valley yet, so I thought I may have misunderstood and that Moon valley wasn’t included. We got stuck in Sunday traffic and I couldn’t tell where the driver was heading but we ended up near our hotel in a street full of souvenir sellers and he asked if we wanted to look around there but we said no and then he said “Valle de la Lunar”? and I said “si”, so off we finally went to the Moon valley.
We arrived at the entrance at 12:15 and told the driver with Google translate that we would be about 45 minutes. The area is a mountain made up of clay rather than rock and erosion has created these other-worldly shapes. It reminded us of Bryce National Park in the USA and Cappadocia in Turkey but on a much smaller scale. We also met up again the a local guy with his Argentinian friend who w met on yesterday’s tour. We did the 45 minute circuit but took our time, used the bathrooms and it was around 60 minutes in total. By now I knew we weren't going to make the City Walk tour but we were satisfied with today's activities.
Our driver as arranged then drove us to the red cable car station and we said adios. La Paz has 3 cable car routes, Red, Yellow and Green and they are used by the locals as well as tourists. Each route is quite long and are very high above the street level in some places because La Paz is so hilly. The cable car only costs 3BOB ($AU0.60) each way. It was about a 15 minute to the top where we discovered a big market was on, but it was now about 13:00 so we decided to have some lunch and we went into a tiny little restaurant that seemed quite busy. They had plastic replicas of the food and we pointed to what we wanted. It was a “Super-Combo” and it was very tasty, consisting of ceviche fish like our cooking demo in Colca Canyon, a prawn, a mussel and crumbed calamari with a paella type seafood rice. We also shared a drink and the meal cost us all of 34BOB ($AU6.80). We then wandered around the markets but got stuck in this row that just had automobile parts. Finally found another clothing section and Daisy bought a Nike copy back-pack for 50BOB ($AU10.00) to replace her lost one, we didn’t even haggle at that price.
We stayed for a while and got onto the return ride at 14:15 after waiting in a vey long line. At the bottom we had a 20 minute walk to the San Francisco Museum but it was shut so decided we’d go back to the hotel to pack our bags for tomorrow’s early morning flight to the Uyuni Salt Flats. We ended up just having a light dinner of Quinoa, vegetable and beef tenderloin soup in the hotel restaurant again and it was delicious.
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