Officially the most beautiful city on Earth

So, yet another jaw-droppingly beautiful city was on the agenda as my group boarded an early morning bus to La Paz yesterday. Needless to say the driver drove like a maniac at times (I’m used to that now!) but we arrived on the outskirts of the capital without incident. I felt my spirits deflate a little bit as I looked out of the window at endless shabby-looking shops, as I had read that La Paz is a stunning city, but a few minutes later we rounded a bend and… wow. Thousands of buildings sprawling up the sides of mountains, cars trickling down into the valley below… I had never seen anything like it. I couldn’t wait for the bus to stop so that I could get out and experience it all!

As soon as I got into the taxi that would take us to our hotel, I knew that La Paz was going to be exciting to say the least. I thought the traffic in Buenos Aires was chaotic, but that was before I got here! It’s beyond belief – narrow streets stuffed with cars travelling at tortoise speed because there’s just no room, people casually strolling in front of the traffic with horns honking at them loudly, drivers ignoring red lights and changing lanes whenever they feel like it with no indication…! I was so in awe of the whole spectacle that I forgot to feel afraid for my life!

My hotel is one of the best I’ve stayed in in South America so far, although its dodgy-looking exterior gave me doubts to begin with! I’ve got a room to myself for a change, which I’m really enjoying as when you’re almost constantly around 15 other people it can be difficult to get some time to yourself. I absolutely love the group, but because I’m so shy I really appreciate some space from time to time. For the moment I can indulge in a double bed, a warm(ish!) shower and a decent breakfast! 😀

This morning I wandered around the market with Maria, Robyn and Michelle. The stalls seemed to go on forever, packed into I don’t know how many streets in the centre of the city. I couldn’t stop staring at them all and the locals behind them, shouting out the names of products for sale at the tops of their voices. The funny thing was that there could be five or six stalls right next to each other, all selling the same thing!

I found an incredible Italian restaurant for lunch, which I’ll definitely be revisiting before I leave here! The whole group went out for dinner tonight too because as of Monday Chad will no longer be our tour leader. 🙁 I don’t want him to go because he’s such a fantastic guy and we’ll all miss him loads. To end his time with us in style, though, he’s going to ride down Death Road from La Paz to Coroico with some of us tomorrow. A few days ago I was flatly refusing to sign up for this bike ride, but somehow I convinced myself that I would regret not doing it. Whether we’ll all survive or not remains to be seen… I’m peeing myself at the thought of riding down this road!

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