Seriously, thank you. Because our expectations were so low, we were able to find things to do and see that exceeded any expectations, and we ended up staying 6 days in La Paz.
After arriving last Wednesday night (Feb 1st) from Rurrenabaque the Hotel Rosario seemed like the Ritz. Friendly staff welcomed us at the door, a porter carried our bags up to our rooms and the room was spacious and well decorated. But best of all the shower had lots and lots of hot water.
Second, we went to places that interested us, not just the touristy sights. We walked to the San Francisco Church. We took in the Museo Nacional de Arte. We walked to Plaza Murillo, which is flanked by various government buildings. However, our first day, we headed straight for the Alasitas festival.
Unfortunately, most of the shops were closed, but we were advised to come back on Saturday when Bolivians are off from work and would be flocking to the shops.
Alasitas: one of the oldest Bolivian holidays and traditions. It's a fair where you buy a miniature of everything you want the god Ekkekko to give you during the year.
you can get miniatures of anything: diplomas, money, passports
even household items, livestock, houses, cars, you name it
After Alasitas we walked to Calle Jaen, a cobble stone street full of art galleries, shops and the Museo de Instrumetos Musicales.
That same museum had a free concert one night, where we got to see traditional Bolivian instruments played (and when the internet is faster I'll upload a brief video so you can hear it for yourself).
Third, we walked around a lot. Walking around, especially up and down the same street several times gives a feeling of familiarity and makes you feel like you know the city. We walked around most of central La Paz, and after a few days had a good sense of where things were.
I ran into the one challenge of walking around La Paz the first day, and to some degree a few days after. The city is at a high altitude of 4,000 meters which is very high and causes altitude sickness. Unfortunately I had a mild of case of that, which mainly manifested in my inability to walk very far without getting winded. For example, seeing me after I had walked two flights to our room, you would have though I just went for a run. My body got used to it after a few days, and now I could walk around with no problem. But since one of the recommended cures of altitude sickness, in addition to drinking water, remembering to eat (people lose their appetite and don't eat) was taking it easy, I chilled in the hotel for one full day.
Fourth, we relaxed. We took it easy at the hotel, we went to the movies, we at delicious meals.
Fifth, we ate. Our hotel's restaurant had some of the best food in La Paz.
llama steak in berry sauce
(note the design of the indigenous woman and mountains)
tres leches cake
|2012.1 La Paz, Bolivia|