So here we are on our last cycling day together before Sara-Ann hangs up her padded lycra and waves farewell to a never-ending supply of perfectly ripe and creamy avocados. Blighty awaits for her to be ‘Best Person’ at the wedding of Mark & Helen – and I’m hard pushed to think of a better reason to head home.
But for now, here’s La Paz. We made it! And boy did we arrive in style.
We were warned we’d be in for this…
First, 10km of protest blockades, meaning we had a clear, traffic-free ride all the way through El Alto towards La Paz. With just a few wolf-whistles to cheer us on (we’ve since learnt that the most ‘sexy’ part of an Aymara woman’s anatomy is the calf, and we’re definitely flashing plenty of that) and waves from the strikers telling us to pass straight through, the ride in couldn’t have been smoother:
Then it got even better as we jumped on La Paz’s new Teleferico to take a ride over the vertiginous ‘lip’ and down into the bowl of La Paz. A real wow, wow, wow moment as the full views of the city emerged.
With a hop, skip and a jump (and some ingenuity and fancy team work to get our bikes and bags onto the Teleferico without having to cart them all piece by piece up the stairs), we soared over all the crazy roads, cobbles, traffic and hubbub of the city below:
The ‘bowl’ containing La Paz, edged by snow-capped mountains – plenty of culture shock after weeks riding through small towns and villages
Snarky Puppy (the bike) in situ and my partner in crime, Sara-Ann, up in the sky 2 capsules ahead
We ride the final 1km or so down a steep warren of streets and arrive at our hotel feeling a mixture of excitement, elation, achievement and sadness that this part of the cycling adventure has come to an end. For now though it’s just au revoir, not quite yet adieu, as Sara-Ann heads off to the salt flats for a couple of days and I move into the ‘Casa de Ciclistas’ for a few nights to plan my solo route through the rest of Bolivia.
More on the final few days of madness in La Paz to follow in due course!