We arrived in the dizzy heights of La Paz after a reasonably comfortable night bus. Our hostel is in a great location, despite the many steep hills that you have to climb to get anywhere in La Paz. We were a little concerned as the hostel is situated directly above Oliver's Travels, a famed gringo bar, but luckily for us party goers it is being renovated and is now down the street. After settling in we booked our amazon trip, flights and World's Most Dangerous Road (WMDR). After we did some shopping on Saragaua street which has some great artisan shops in and around it. We did comment that Sue and Becky (Wiper) would have happily stayed here for six months, getting the best deals no doubt!
It was an early morning to start the WMDR and after a short mini bus trip getting to know our fellow bike riders and competitors we finally arrived to the starting point. The first 40 minutes is on the new tarmac road with traffic and sheer drops either side. It wasn't that scary though as the traffic was at a minimum but boy did we get some speed, it is all downhill and we wished we had a speedometer, we were overtaking trucks! There was a short up hill and then we began our journey on the old road the official start of the WMDR. The scenery was breath taking, we were a lot lower than La Paz and it was like a tropical jungle with huge mountains surrounding us. We biked through small waterfalls and in streams it was so much fun. My favourite parts were when the faster riders (including James) had rode off ahead and the slower riders were behind, I was in the middle and I couldn't see another soul for ages, it was awesome. Throughout the ride James was in the top three competitors (yes we made it into a race, the others didn't know about this!) and I was top favourite for the girls. When I got to the end James was filming me and had some fantastic news, the number one favourite for the men had ridden through some deep water and had to veer off to the side; James took this opportunity and pipped him to the post! I was miles ahead of the rest of the girls so together we took home every trophy!
We had a freezing cold swimming pool waiting for us at the end and a buffet lunch which we demolished and didn't eat in the evening as we had stuffed ourselves silly. The journey back was by minibus and we got to see some of the great scenery that we had missed along the way, and I had a little nap!
The third day of part one in La Paz we wanted to get lots of shopping done, we have nearly bought everyone at home at least a little something. We did go and look around some of the less touristy markets and nearly got pickpocketed. Luckily James remembered what we had read in the guide book and they were obviously not that great at their 'job' and didn't get anything. We were a little shaken up and after a short wander we unloaded our shopping and packed our small bags for the amazon tomorrow.