Wednesday, 10 October 2007

La Paz

Rolling over the altiplano from Lake Titicaca we could see the snowy peaks of the Cordillera surrounding La Paz. It wasn’t until we passed through El Alto, the commuter city at the very rim of the valley, that we could see La Paz. And there it was: the carpet of buildings flows down the side of the cauldron shaped valley, a crazy jumble of adobe and brick that I haven’t really seen the likes of anywhere else. The unusual thing about La Paz is that it is inverted - with the CBD and fancy districts in the very base of the river valley and everything else growing up above.

We found a comfy hostel, The Adventure Brew, near the bus station and markets with great views from the roof.

The San Francisco Basilica is just a couple of blocks below us. The museum was actually a guided tour around the restored colourful cloisters by a bouncy attendant who explained the religious art, the architecture and showed us the great view from the roof.

The church is a mix of Adobe (mudbrick), river stones and square cut volcanic rock. Each of the blocks bears the mark of the indigenous worker who brought it. The walls when you look closely are covered with faces, letters and symbols that they carved as they brought them.

Sadly I’ve been sick so we haven’t seen as much as we’d planned but it is a very pleasant city with lots of funky museums. We particularly like the musical instrument museum that contains all manner of pan pipes, flutes and the guitar like instruments they make here that have armadillos for their bodies! This is one of the more "experimental" changos

Just wandering the winding cobbled streets has been lots of fun. Especially as interesting street panoramas crop up all over the place.


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