La Paz, Bolivia
16° 30' S 68° 9' W
Sep 02, 2004 23:05
Distance 0km

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Text written in: English

La Paz

The highest capital city in the world is a bustling one. Streets are very full with taxis, mini vans and larger buses. All shouting their destinations from the window. Small children and old women are hanging out the windows and doors and repeat continuously their routes as endless mantras. There are so many of them that you can actually hardly hear them clearly. Well, I could not but I guess the locals can.

The pavements are completely blocked by mostly old colourfully dressed women selling anything possible. La Paz is poor, but the richest and most expensive city in the country as usual, attracting lots of people from other places who end up on the street either begging or selling.

There are some nice plazas in the city. Plaza de San Francisco, a stones throw from my hostel was started in 1549 but it took another two hundred years to finish. Streets around it sell an immense variety of tourist junk and arts and is fun brwosing through.

The Plaza Murillo is the real heart of the city and has the cathedral on it and the Congresso Nacional and Palacio Presidential as well. On saturday the plaza was filled with military, dressed up in colourful red and the lined up the road around the plaza to welcome a few presidents from surrounding countries. As far as I could see they were from Paraquay, Venezuela and Argentina. It was interesting to see this official reception and made excellent pictures with the clear blue sky.

The Museo Nacional de Arte had three floors and was an interesting collection of colonial paintings, modern art and some religious art downstairs in the restored Palacio de los Condes de Arana that dates from 1775.

Walking around La Paz is only fun on the main road down the valley as the others are either steep up or down, bad for breath or knees. A bit south of the centre was a great mirador in the Parque Laikakota, half an hour walk uphill across from the very smelly Rio Choqueyapu. I was surprised to find a real nice Middle Eastern kebab restaurant along the main road near the unevitable Simon Bolivar monument, of course on a horse. Did that man ever walk?