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Published: June 21st 2012
Miss Extreme Downhill
Ride the van or the bike?
Now the journey here was a bus ride with a difference, after a leisurely morning and breakfast in Copacabana we boarded the bus about 1pm for the trip to La Paz.
An hour down the road admiring the beautiful scenery we came to a stop at the lake crossing.
That meant everyone off the bus to jump on a small boat to cross the lake at a cost of 15p whilst our bus drove onto a floating raft to cross the lake. We all got a little concerned when half way across our bus seemed to be drifting further away, and even more worried when someone pointed out the raft our boat was on was interestingly named Titanic.
A sight which had to been seen to be believed a bus bobbing along next to you across a lake.... Only in Bolivia!!!!!
Still we met up with the bus and after another 3 hours travelling along the Andean plains with the beautiful mountains in the distance we arrived in La Paz.
The location of this place is like no city we have ever been to. You arrive from above at 4000m to see the city sat at
And the amazing Death Road
3400m almost looking like it is in a bowl surrounded by the mountains. The place we were staying at was The Adventure Brew Hostel, best known for brewing it's own beer, and every night you get a free glass, and it's not half bad either. So after our free beer and something to eat we hit the sack ready to go exploring the following day.
Up for our first days exploring of the city and it was an interesting morning, we just came out the hostel, when we noticed the police in armed gear closing off the road and a procession heading straight for us, or at least that's what we assumed it to be..... We carried on walking down the hill with this in the background quite blazee until we noticed locals running past us and the owners of a few of the little shops we were passing pulling down their shutters..... Hmmmmmm ....... time for a hasty exit up one of the side streets.....
Quickly distracted by the many market stalls selling North Face Jackets at a bargain price, along with other goodies, we completely forgot about the commotion until some 'gun shots' or fire works
Its warming up
A third of the way down and the sun is shining
(or maybe as rumour had it dynamite) we weren't sure which bought us back to a bit of reality and we headed back to the hostel.... Feeling a bit of Skyping might be a more sensible option!!!!
And that's what we did.... It was my baby bro's birthday after all and it was great to have a catch up.... Not to mention the fantastic rendition of 'God Save The Queen' accompanied by some swaying bare bums.... Courtesy of Ian!!!!
The cleaners had put the news on and it wasn't until then we realised the commotion was quite serious and made for some CNN worthy drama TV..... As always it looked worse on there then it did in real life.... Although I have to say the gun shots were a bit close for comfort!!!!
Later on it had all calmed down so it was time to get some downhill mountain biking action booked for death road, and some food before heading back for our beer!!!
The downhill mountain biking was the best..... It really was ..... Despite our reservations being the only two English amidst a group of 12 Israelis.....
What a way to spend a
Michelle on the move
At 7am we were all being packed into 2 mini buses with our dual suspension bikes racked to the top, and by 8.30am we were all stopped at 5000m kitted up like true bikers, munching on brekkie and taking in the stunning snow capped views..... Safety briefing over and we were off!!!.... A bit steady to start off with.... Well we were on the new road and those passing trucks were definitely taking no prisoners but as soon as we got past the control point and were on the old Original Dirt Track, which used to be the only way of getting up and down, we were off steaming down bumps and all!!!
Thankfully the guides soon assessed the group and it went 3 ways....
The Dare Devil, which of course we were in....
The Cautious Crew in the middle....
And the Steady Eddies at the back...
A guide with a camera with each... Snapping away!!!
Only 2 broken chains - Jon and 1 minor crash - Me, and the time of our lives in between the adrenaline fuelled 4 hour hurtle down accompanied by some really dynamic views! It's strange because
Certainly can take some hammer
you start with every bit of clothing you own at the top but as soon as you drop even 1500m the layers are off and the bugs are biting!!!!!
Down at the bottom it was time for a quick dip in the pool to cool off and a spot of late lunch before heading back to town .... A long ride.....you forget how far down you've got and going up takes longer!!!! Oh well at least we weren't having to cycle up!!!
Met some great peeps, especially Noma and Morgan...... She definitely got the award for Dare Devil Dame..... Think only a couple of lads had less fear than her, Jon being one of them obviously.....
7.30pm saw us arrive back, ready for some grub and to start a great big PR mission for Extreme Downhill who'd we'd done it with..... Worked though.... They definitely had two more willing participants... Polly and Tom within 24 hours, off the back of our recommendation.... And Jon's been wearing both his and my FREE T-Shirts with pride since, still plugging away - it was that good!!!!
After all that excitement time for some serious stuff....... SHOPPING.....If you love shopping
Do you think we should of taken the bags off?
you will love La Paz......
Needs must though..... Even we couldn't let those bargains go to waste and we've stocked up on our woollies so hopefully we won't freeze to death on the Salt Flats!
And of course plenty of prezzies for you at home!!!!
Five days of City was more than enough for us though and we can't wait to get back to some serenity and the country side.....
Good job our next stop is number 6 on the great must do's of South America- Salar De Uyuni.... Or quite simply.... The Salt Falts.....
Just a 10 hour Bolivian Bus journey to go and we'll be there.....
Obviously no liquid consumption for us today in preparation!!!!
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