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The Travel Journal of Jacqui and Lars


Bolivia - 10 December, 2001



Location Latitude Longitude Elevation

Travel Distance

Start Hotel Andina, La Paz S1629.738' W06808.406' 3,689 m
Moon Valley . . . .
Cerro Chacaltaya S1620.971' W06807.621' 5,386 m 2 km (by foot)
Finish Hotel Andina, La Paz S1629.738' W06808.406' 3,689 m 150 km (by mini-bus)

Leg 1 Total:

5,761 km


771 km

Grand Total:

6,532 km


Weather: Mostly clear, sunny and warm with a breeze.  Cool in the shade and at night.



Bolivia01_LaPaz1_Moon2_C134_Web.jpg (90752 bytes)

Today we go on a day tour of some of the surrounding countryside.  We first head out to the local Moon Valley.  It is a short way outside town and is a valley of eroded sandstone.  The sandstone has eroded to form a desolate landscape that is full of strange shapes and forms.  It is interesting to walk around, but it is not so large as we were led to believe.  After a short walk through the formations, we headed on our way.


First, however, we stop at a local supermarket to pick up some food for lunch.  It is in the rich part of town and the supermarket is huge and well stocks.  We pick up some excellent pickings for lunch.  We are so hungry, that once we are in the bus we begin to make up some sandwiches.  We have a long drive - we first pass through the city and then head up to the surrounding plain.


From there, we off the paved road and onto the dirt road and we take a winding road up and up and up to Cerro Chacaltaya.  We have great views on our way up.  The ride is also very exciting - the road is only one lane and it clings to the cliff edge.  We were just glad that we did not meet any vehicles coming the other way.  We drove up to the mountain refuge near the top at 5,247 meters.  We then get out and climb the 140 meters to the summit.


Bolivia01_LaPaz1_Chaca4_Jac_C145_Web.jpg (72948 bytes)

It does not seem like much - only 140 meters - but do not forget that we are above 5,000 meters.  Even breathing is an effort.  The trail is shale and/or snow.  Often we will slip back half a step for each step forward.  After about 20 minutes, Lars makes it to the summit and, after spending a few minutes catching his breath, takes in the fantastic views.


Bolivia01_LaPaz1_Chaca7_Group_C148_Web.jpg (55984 bytes)

After a while, the whole group makes it to the top and we take some pictures.  We also take a pee (sorry, but it has become a bit of a ritual since our Trans-Africa, to make our mark in important spots!).


Bolivia01_LaPaz1_Chaca9_Descent_Jac_C150_Web.jpg (66526 bytes)

On our way down (as the clouds start to roll in), it is much easier than the way up, we have some fun throwing snowballs and sliding down the shale slope.  Once back at the bus, we all hop on and head back down to La Paz.  We once again "enjoy" the winding road down the mountain side.


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Back at the hotel we take it easy until dinner time.  We have a group dinner in the hotel with two purposes - a farewell dinner for Paul who will be leaving us here and a birthday party for Sarah.  The meal is on the roof top of the hotel (it is a tough climb up the many flights of stairs - we are out of breath when we reach the top) and we have a great view of the surrounding city.  We have a few drinks and then dig into the buffet meal.  It is huge and we stuff ourselves (what is new!).


Bolivia01_Lapaz1_Dinner_Cake_C156_Web.jpg (85542 bytes)

We all have funny hats to wear (but not everyone gets into the theme) and continue to drink over dinner.  Once we have all finished eating, out comes the cake for Sarah.  While Sarah is blowing out the candles, they push it into her face!!  Then there are the drinks - Paul and Sarah are given a few beers to down in one.  That gets them going!


We finish off the evening by heading out to a bar.  But as it is Monday night it is very quiet, so we do not stay for more than one beer.


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