After a hectic period in Peru our arrival in Bolivia was a chance to have a rest. We crossed the border on Sunday with a short break at Copacabana on the Bolivian side of the lake, it definitely didn´t need any longer than a couple of hours. Later that afternoon we were in La Paz and I was surprised to find the altitude a little easier to deal with than Puno. Still, a city on a hill at 3660m can still be a struggle.
Our plan was to be in La Paz until Thursday, the day after the Champions League Final, and then fly to Rurrenabaque for the Bolivian Amazon. It soon became obvious that flights were booked up and that we wouldn´t be able to go until Saturday. No matter, Hotel Fuentes was very comfortable and we were enjoying some rest time after recovering from our colds. The sheer amount of Amazon tour operators means that making a decision as to who to go with is pretty difficult. In the end it came down to a choice between a 100pound trip and a 250pound trip. The first being the typical backpacker option offering the chance to catch Caiman and tape their mouths closed for photographs and finding anaconda to wear around your neck for more photos. No thanks. The Galapagos has made us into wildlife snobs who don´t care much for destroying fragile habitats. The 250pound option would see us head into the Amazon with the people who led a National Geographic expedition a few years ago and also established Madidi National Park. No contest. Such a big expenditure may mean that we have to go home a little earlier than planned but we´ll cross that bridge when we reach it. We spent the remainder of our first couple of days exploring the local area and enjoying cheap food - especially the 1pound Cuban Almuerzo, a delicious three course meal that changed every day.
Wednesday was all about the football and what a day we had. Our nerves knocked a few days off our lives and we both wished we could have been back in Manchester for one night only. Nat couldn´t bear to watch the penalties but my roars made the result pretty obvious (and scared a few too many hotel guests). Is there a better sight in the world than John Terry on his backside? What better way to celebrate than with an Erdinger and Bangers & Mash with real onion gravy, the perfect day.
Since then we´ve explored La Paz a little more, taking in the colonial centre on Thursday. This was made even better by the Corpus Christi military marching band parades. We always seem to find the festivals! Yesterday afternoon we even managed to catch the new Indiana Jones movie at the cinema. If only movies back home cost 1pound! Tomorrow we´re extending our carbon footprint yet further with a flight to Rurrenabaque and the Amazon, a great way to spend my birthday.