We made our way north to Bolivia's capital of La Paz which is situated at 3,500m and quite frankly not really situated in an appropriate location to house a population of more than a million people. This sprawling city lies in a narrow, bowl-like canyon with ramshackled homes clinging precariously to its steep slopes. With tiny and heavily congested streets we found it a challenge to get around, and in general the architecture and buildings are in a poor state of repair with crumbling and dilapidated facades. The telephone and electrical cables are generally a tangled mess and one wonders if the whole infrastructure will come crashing down if a simple bird decides to land on them for a rest. A positive and original recent improvement to the city has been the addition of a cable car network. Built to alleviate some of the road congestion parts of the city are now accessible by gondola which provides stunning views of the city and definitely a quickier way to get around.
We couldn't come to La Paz without trying out its most popular attraction, cycling the infamous Death Road. Sadly, yet appropriately named this road has taken countless lives with its
rough, narrow track literally chiselled out of the vertical mountainside. In one particularly sad story we learned of the death of over 100 school children as their 2 buses slipped off the road while attempting to pass an oncoming truck. Thankfully, a new road has been built and the majority of vehicle traffic now use this, leaving the old road for tourists like ourselves to hurtle down the exhilarating 3500m descent.
With little interest in staying around La Paz we decided to move on to the high altitude Lake Titicaca. This immense, sapphire-blue lake sits astride the boarder of Peru and is easily the largest high altitude lake in the world. This area has historically played a dominate role in the Inca religious conceptions, with it being believed to be the birth place of their creator god Viracocha to call forth the sun and the moon. The remains of many shirnes and temples are still easily visable on the Isla del Sol and the Isla de la Luna.
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