So the Bolivian adventure had began! We had a young Bolivian meet us to help us through the boarder so our Peruvian guide didn't get into trouble. We stopped on the way at the top of the city for an amazing view. A gondola ride had just been opened to transport people up and down the giant mountains that surround the city. We hopped back on the bus and it took half an hour to reach the bus station, we then jumped into a taxi to head for our last hotel.
It didn't take long and we were checked in. It wasn't great but it was our last night with an en-suite so our bowel issues had to disappear overnight! Our German friend Achim felt awful and once we arrived kept being sick. We met back in the lobby and left him to recover whilst we headed out for lunch and to watch the England game.
Before lunch we walked through the black market which sells stolen goods, it was very interesting but I was forever on edge about my belongings. We then visited the witches market this was an experience!! There were hanging dead llamas no older than a year and some just bone. These are to be buried in the foundations of houses for luck.This market sells cures for everything the smells were unbearable. We were thankful to arrive at the restaurant just in time for kick off. We had a delicious lunch but watching the game with 2 Scots brought us bad luck! We were sad when we left and Ed didn't hold a conversation with me for a few hours. He was gutted!!
After Pedro showed us round the city to more markets and churches and then we visited Altitude and booked our Death Road experience for tomorrow! Our tour officially finishes this evening but as we are all still in La Paz for a few days we are doing Death Road together. Pedro wanted to show us the famous San Pedro prison where families live with their criminalising loved ones. However it is no longer able to be explored.
After we ventured around the city we stopped at a cafe for a light dinner as we had pastas for lunch. We weren't late when we headed back as we had to wake up early and check out before getting picked up for our trip. It was a very cold night!!
We awoke early and I had yet again a bad belly! We skipped breaky and hopped in a private mini bus to start Death Road. The bikes were on the roof. It was freezing. It took an hour and we had ascended to 4700m. We had coconut cake and coffee before getting our protective gear on to start our ride.
I was first and they were worried they were going to lose me. I was off, it was so much fun. We were on tarmac so was fetching speeds of 60 kph. We couldn't feel our hands it was that cold. I tried several techniques to get faster too!! It was fantastic riding through the clouds we got soaked! We jumped back on the van to take us to the next section. This is where the fun began! We were given more snacks before setting off down gravel roads with loose stones and slippery edges. We had to start taking extra care.
A guide died yesterday and the last tourist to die was 1 year ago- a Chilean girl. My speed had slowed right down but Ed was off!! As we were descending it was getting noticeably warmer. We started to strip off and enjoy the sunshine!! Pedro our guide was crazy over taking us and not caring how close he was to the cliff edge!!
After 56km we had completed Death Road and were given t-shirts to prove it! We all made it in one piece thank god!! We then headed to a hotel nearby with a pool and a buffet lunch. Our guide Pedro spotted a passion fruit tree and grabbed a couple down for us 5 to share. These were super fresh! We had a great afternoon relaxing in the sun, after an hour or two we headed back by private bus which took 3 hours. The hotel was back down at 1400m so we had to make our way back up to La Paz!!
We chilled out for half hour and met the Germans once we got back. They were feeling a bit better and had kindly brought a gift for us both- yummy big sublime chocolate bars!! We were very happy!!
We headed to a travel agent and booked the salt flats tour and a bus to Uyuni. We then grabbed our bags from storage and headed to our first hostel in almost a month- The Wild Rover. The taxi took forever as it was rush hour and my belly was very painful! We finally arrived, checked in, unpacked, showered and grabbed another taxi to head to the Scots rented pent house accommodation before our farewell dinner!!
Our room was awful s*** everywhere, no key for the door and the showers were basically outside!!
When we finally got to the Scots £20 a night pent house apartment we regretted not taking the opportunity to stay with them. They had several rooms and bathrooms, but we wanted to give them both space. We enjoyed drinks altogether with amazing views of La Paz whilst looking through our Death Road pictures.
We headed to a lovely Thai restaurant which took forever. We finally ate at 11pm and I felt instantly sick I couldn't finish it. Both the girls felt the same!! Fiona felt very bad and we walked both Callum and her home. Not before waving off the Germans in a taxi. I gave Kat a little llama present to remind her of me and how lovely it's been to spend time with her. My favourite German lady!!
Pedro, Ed and I were not ready for bed and headed to a bar or two and had a great night!! We found ourselves a great tour guide, so down to earth and caring.
The next day we got up showered, had breaky and once again I felt bad I'm hoping this clears up soon it's been almost a month now!! We checked out and I caught up with my diary before Skyping my Nana. It was lovely to see her and catch up whilst sitting in the sunshine.
At lunch we headed to a cool bar to watch the German game!! We had arranged to meet here last night!! We grabbed a late lunch/dinner and socialised together for the last time. It was sad to think it was soon to be over.
It was suddenly 5pm and Ed and I had to leave to catch our night bus to Uyuni! I was so sad to leave I couldn't stop the tears! We each gave Pedro a deserving tip for all his help and hard work! We had an excellent time and hope to see them all again! We waved them all off in the back of a taxi after lots of hugs and kisses, this trip has been my most memorable! Until next time guys!!
We boarded our night bus, it was really nice. We tucked into some yummy sublime and caught up talking about the last 25 days and our highlights! It didn't take long and we were both fast asleep!!
On the 22nd we arrived in Uyuni early and checked into our hostel. Our room wasn't ready so we got ready and put our bags in storage before enjoying breakfast. We made our way to Red Planet the tour operator we plan to see the salt flats with. On the way Ed purchased his 10000th pair of glasses of this trip haha and we bumped into friends we had made in NZ and plan to meet in Argentina.
We didn't wait long and our tour started there was a German couple and a Dutch couple both seemed really nice. We jumped in a 4 x 4 and drove to our 1st stop the train cemetery. We took lots of snaps and were enlightened on how these old steam trains were brought from England! Since they have been abandoned and all the good metal has been stolen and sold.
Our next stop was the salt hotel which was cool to see before heading to a local mans salt factory. We watched him just scooping salt from the ground to go into bags! We tried a bit it was very cold! We looked around the towns local market before having lunch together. We had chicken, roasties, alpaca rice and vegetables, yum!! The man also made us a warm apple pie which made mine and Ed'sq day!!
We then visited the salt piles in the dessert which drys the salt before bagging it. We found a secluded place and with the help of our guide we took lots of cool photos!! We had pictures with the England flag and the giant Dakar statue and walked around famous fish island. We played in the salt, it felt like snow and Ed climbed a giant salt rock!
After catching the sunset we headed back to Uyuni the guides driving was reckless but it meant we made it back for 7:30pm. We checked in and enjoyed a lovely warm shower and headed out to book a public bus for the boarder. It didn't look great but it was the only way! We grabbed snacks for the bus on the way back and ate at a yummy restaurant before heading to bed. The whole dorm was asleep by half 9, the beds were cosy. The alarm was set for 5am to catch the 6am bus!
The next morning was freezing we got ready quickly and walked to the station. There were only 4 other tourists. It was daunting and when we got on the bus a homeless man was asleep in our seat haha!! I was worried about our bags in the boot as a man lay on a mattress in the storage!! So glad I had removed all our valuables!!
We set off at 6am. It was freezing we could not get warm, I was just praying the sun would come up quickly. It was -6. People were standing and clearly several hadn't paid. We had a few locals try and kick us out of our seats but I remained firm and told them where to go! A lady next to us had brought her dog along which was interesting as it pooped seconds into the journey!!
WE WERE IN HELL!!
We just survived the 12 hour bus journey on a packet of Ritz biscuits and an almond snickers! We had several stops for food and natural toilet. One stop which was my favourite.....a dump! I watched baby piglets and donkeys play in a dump/sewer and eat whatever they could find it was sad! For most of the journey we were literally driving on the edge of the cliff through mountain ranges, it was terrifying! By this point the sun was also at its hottest and now instead of being freezing we we're boiling! We had to keep stopping as the drivers had to fix the bus several times!!
Babies were loud, people ate with their dirty hands and spat chicken bones on the floor it was mortifying. An old lady next to me begged me for my water and so of course I gave her some. At 6pm after 12 hours I thought this was over!
How wrong I was we had to walk half an hour to reach the Argentina boarder. A dog followed us the whole way which scared me! We were exhausted! We had befriended the 4 other tourists on our bus and were now trying to laugh about the situation, it was hard!
We were finally in Argentina, in the middle of no where and had no idea what to do next!!