Monday, August 18, 2008

La Paz to Copacobana

Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd August

Finally managed to leave La Paz and set out for Copacobana on the edge of Lake Titicaca. It's good to ride again.

Leaving La Paz is tough. Tough because It's been a great part of the trip. And tough because the streets are mental! It's hellishly steep and cars weave randomly in all directions. So do pedestrians, overspilling crowded pavements directly into my path. I can report that my brakes work!

Emerging from the backstreets, I tackle the main autopista leading steadily upwards to El Alto. It's 3 lanes of fast moving cycle killers.... I climb 500 metres up to the sister city and am rewarded with a last view of La Paz...

El Alto traffic is worse! There are no cars here - just Micro and Colectivo buses. It's a 6 lane traffic light grand prix as all vie for passenger's attention and drivers swerve and screech brakes once prey is spotted. Equally passengers lurch and blunder in and out of traffic as they board and alight. It's all spiced up with vendors who suddenly appear in the road. Pineapple anyone...

Outside El Alto things calm down - flat roads of new tarmac. It's a bucolic scene with a massive backdrop....

Still plagued by overloaded Colectivos....

I camp as I reach the edge of the lake. Or rather I find another abondoned building to "borrow" for the night. The cycle gods provide again. This is prime lake shore property....

Next morning starts with a climb away from the lakes and then back for the first memorable views of Titicaca...

Then a drop down to the boat station at Tiquina for a quick crossing on boats held together with duct-tape and hope...

Another gruelling climb away from the boat crossing before the breathtaking 8km descent down into the beautiful Copacabana sunset...


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