Cycling The Globe

A Cycle Touring Expedition Around The World

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Day 1405, Patacamaya – La Paz: Settled Slopes

Posted by Thomas Andersen Posted on Jul - 24 - 2014

Distance: 102.15 km
Ride time: 6:32:15
Average: 15.62 km/h
Altitude: 3650 m
Total: 28274 km

I was having breakfast at the market in Patacamaya as I was chatting with a local. Talking about the trip, my new friend was telling me that I would be safe in Bolivia, but once I got to Peru I would have to be careful “Hay mala gente alli” he told me, there are bad people there. I find it interesting how people all over the world seem to have this idea about their neighbors. In fact I’m expecting to meet some very nice people over there on the other side of Lake Titicaca.

In all honesty it wasn’t nice cycling today. The road was still in construction. The traffic might not have reached Indian levels, but it was close. Breathing the thick exhaust gasses from all the trucks heading to and from La Paz for sure wasn’t healthy.

As I got closer to La Paz I got the first view of Illimani, the famous mountain overlooking the city. Soon I was entering the suburbs of El Alto, as the traffic got even worse.

I had been in contact with Mario, a radio amateur whose office is located on the way into town. We had a nice chat over a cup of mate as Mario explained about the fascinating city. I still had another 15 km to ride before arriving at the city center, so after an hour I was back on the busy roads.

The suburb of El Alto makes up the flat part of La Paz. This is where the airport is located… I had heard that the view from up here over the city center some 400 meters below were supposed to be spectacular, but when I suddenly found myself at the edge of the Altiplano overlooking La Paz down there in the valley, I was speechless.

This has to be one of the most amazing settings of a city I remember. My photos don’t make any justice to the view – I guess you have to stand there yourself to experience it.

I was then rolling down the El Alto highway towards the city center, passing a few signs prohibiting cycling on the way. Luckily no one seemed to care, and I was soon cycling in the narrow streets I had seen from above half an hour earlier. I was truly excited to arrive in this famous city, planning to stay for a week or two until the legs start to itch again.

Categories: Bolivia
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