La Paz (short for La ciudad de nuestra senora de la Paz)
La Paz had always been a city that fascinated yet scared me. So i thought i leave it till i speak at least some Spanish. So here we go… the city has a a population of only 1.4 Mio – where i always thought it would be much bigger.. however it definitely is not lacking of altitude as it is on an average elevation of 3660m. Having said that the airport is at 4200m in El Alto take good care while you breathe. Luckily i could stay at a friend’s house in La Paz and even more generous was that they were picking me up at the airport at 02:00 h in the morning.
So my first exploration of the city was walking through the most famous tourist sections in the old town around San Francisco church and up to the witches market where you can find everything you need to make sacrifices to please the gods (i save the pics as it is about dried lama fetus, different little figures representing any kind of thing, sweets to burn and lots of other interesting things). Then walking further through the old town (Calle Jaen) passing some beautiful colonial houses and taking the new teleferico (feels like going skiing) back down to the south.
Feeling a bit light headed from the altitude i took it very easy the first day and spend a lot of my time in the beautiful garden with my new friends – the lovely dogs (Beba, Mecha, Peggy & Darco).
La Paz is an extraordinary city which doesn’t strike you with its beauty but with its extravagant way how it is being squeezed into the red rocks that surround it. While it’s north is ending in the rather scary looking El Alto it is guarded on the south side by the three-peaked Illimani with it’s impressive 6400m.
If you would like to get a taste of La Paz – read Marching Powder by Rusty Young. A book set in the La Paz’ prison San Pedro, not exactly well written but truly interesting to read.