DAY SEVENTY FOUR
Rest day in La Paz
Absolutely exhausted from the exploits of the day before we decided to have a day off in La Paz, plus we were intrigued by this unique city and didn’t want to leave after just a morning there.
Although we would love to say we visited museums and visited all the sights we actually sat in an Australian cafe for the morning (bacon and eggs!!!!!!), and watched the Tottenham Man City game in an English pub in the afternoon. We did however go for a romantic sunset cable car cruise to el alto which sits above La Paz, from which the views were amazing. Again we had been warned that La Paz was dirty/gritty/rank but were pleasantly surprised, and with the setting of snow capped mountains in the background it might be one of the most beautiful cities we’ve ever seen.
DAY SEVENTY FIVE
La Paz to Huarina
Distance: 43 miles
Av speed: 10.8 mph
Moving time: 3 hours 57
Trip time: 6 hours 43
A slow day given the mammoth effort it took climbing out of La Paz - 500m up in 5 km.
All cyclists we had spoken to said as a top tip its best to get the cable car out of the city but as this trip is for charity we of course chose the road option, although regretted it pretty much straight away.
During the two hours it took to get out of the city we didn’t see another bicycle, quickly realising the city was extremely bike unfriendly. Black smoke billowed out of nearly every bus and taxi that went past us way to close, as we struggled with the steepest gradients of the trip so far in sticky heat. Extremely hard work but the view from the top was amazing and despite being at 4000m for the rest of the day we were cycling on altiplano which is normally mercifully flat.
Set up camp on the shores of Lake Titicaca, with the sun setting on one side and snowy capped mountains on the other. Muy contento!
DAY SEVENTY SIX
Huarina to Copacabana
Distance: 50 miles
Av speed: 10.1 mph
Moving time: 4 hours 49
Trip time: 7 hours 30
An incredible first day cycling the shores of lake Titicaca. Lots and lots of climbing but with amazing views.
Our first glimpse of the lake was one of sheer joy as the dry rocky landscapes we have been so used to were replaced by luscious green hills and and trees! (We hadn’t cycled near water since the end of the Carratera Austral nearly two months ago previous!)
At 3800m Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world and one of the most impressive sights we have seen so far. With snow capped mountains all around and blue water as far as the eye could see we set off knowing today would be a good day!
Despite vicious amounts of climbing we couldn’t take the smiles of our faces, enjoying our final full day in Bolivia. We cycled through lots of pretty villages cheered on by smiling Bolivians who seem a bit more laid back then those in the south. Eventually we came to the small town of San Pablo, where the road is divided by the Straight of Tiquina and you have to take a rickety wooden ferry across.
As well as being in completely different surroundings there was finally a change in eating options as we enjoyed fried trout and whitebait for lunch in San Pablo! Couldn’t have been happier.
After catching the small ferry across, the road took us to our highest point yet at 4,270 m. Lots of huffing and puffing later we made it to Copacabana, setting up the tent close enough to hear the sound of the waves breaking against the shore!
DAY SEVENTY SEVEN
Copacabana to Juli
Average speed: 10.6mph
Moving time: 3h54
Door to door: 9h01
We made it to Peru! Three of the six countries down. We both feel sad to be leaving Bolivia, we absolutely loved everything about it, the past two weeks have flown by. Bolivia has provided us with some of the toughest cycling yet on the trip but also some of the best scenery. All the people have been so friendly, and so interested in what we are doing. One of the highlights has to have been the street food, both delicious and super cheap.
Today we had our photo and the Peru boarder control and carried on our journey north excited about what we have ahead of us. One of the first thing we have noticed since entering Peru is that the drivers are a lot worse than anywhere else we have been. The tend to beep and still leave next to no room at all, even if there aren’t any cars coming the other direction!
Luckily we found a great camp spot on the shore of Lake Titicaca, able to see lighting all around us but luckily safe!
DAY SEVENTY EIGHT
Juli to Juliaca