Into Bolivia (Finally…)

Watching the immigration officer count the months on his fingers it was clear I wasn’t going to get away with it. One month overstayed. In the US you’d probably be straight on your way to Guantanamo at this point, but this, being Peru, they seemed almost delighted; a kind of “so you liked it then?”. Brilliant.

So, passport stamped, I’d now officially managed to finally extract myself from this additive country, although, in reality, my actual departure wouldn’t be for another couple of days. My intended route would take me round the quiet east side of Lake Titicaca, before slipping into Bolivia by the backdoor, via a border crossing devoid of immigration facilities, hence the need to prearrange. And from there it would only be a short dash to the bustling, high altitude metropolis of La Paz…

The camera didn’t see much action during this short stretch, so what follows may appear to be a fairly random collection of imagery, but I’ll do my best to string it all together with captions (anything to avoid writing an actual body of text…)

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Following the fringes of Titicaca, my last night in Peru was spent in the small town of Moho, awaking the next day to find the plaza bursting with street vendors. No shortage of breakfast options here…

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Including fried ‘trucha’ straight from Titicaca itself.

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Onwards to the border and the last Peruvian village of Tilali, where this race weapon caught my eye…

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Complete with ultralight saddle.

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A quick farewell coffee in this retro café, the kind of thing that would probably be considered trendy in London, before pushing on to the border.

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Fittingly, there was one last dirt road climb to negotiate first though…

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Then…Bolivia! At this point it seemed appropriate to do some kind of celebratory pose, but in reality I was so wrecked following the Ausangate saga that I felt this would serve as a better representation of things…

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It’s been said first impressions count for a lot, in which case Bolivia has got some work to do. I was greeted by a plaza full of drunken blokes (midday on a Thursday), heavy rain and a muddy, corrugated road that made riding a nightmare. On a more positive note though, the traffic was limited  to only  the occasional alpaca….

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Another day still largely following the shores of Lake Titicaca (which really is quite big) brought me into chaos of El Alto, the boisterous neighbor of La Paz, perched at a lofty 4150m. Then it was flying decent down into La Paz itself, nestled into the canyon below….

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And to the fabled ‘casa de ciclistas’…. Set up by the affable Cristian, many a weary cyclist has sought refuge in this little apartment. A treasure trove of discarded bike parts, with mattresses strewn on the floor and walls covered with the scribbles of previous guests and route maps. It’s the kind of place that holds deep appeal for cyclists, but for anyone else would seem like some kind of squat for the homeless.

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One of the many quirks that make this place unique.

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The subsequent couple of days have largely been spent odd jobbing around town.  My latest ‘aid package’ has been successfully retrieved, including, amongst other goodies, some desperately needed jockey wheels…

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There’s also been a trip to El Alto’s behemoth of a Sunday market, with its sizeable bike part section, to source a cassette for Cristian and ever-elusive presta type inner tubes for m

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You name it, they’ve got it. All very exciting…

As great as the temptation was to hang around in La Paz for Christmas, I’ve decided to press on across the Bolivian antiplano, where I’m hoping to find salares (salt flats) that aren’t completely submerged by water. Fingers crossed… Internet access is likely to be scarce for rest of the Bolivian leg, so it may be a while until the next update, but a Merry Xmas and Happy New Year to all!

Route Info

Nathan’s got this covered, see here.

5 responses to “Into Bolivia (Finally…)

  1. My favorite thing about that “race weapon” is that the pedals are askew, not at opposing angles. The rider must need to use a galloping motion to pedal.

    I’m not sure how I came across your blog, but I’m enjoying your travels from afar. Happy trails!

  2. Great pictures good account. I marvel at your stamina and inthusiasum. I hope you had a relaxing Christmas and good luck for the New Year.

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