We made it to La Paz. And another strike!
After the long night, Simon luckily woke up fully recovered, so we got ready to reach the capital today. The route should be mostly flat, with only a slight uphill to El Alto at the end of the day.
Most people had recommended to stay in El Alto, at 4200 mts, instead of going down to La Paz, at about 3600 mts. That way, we would avoid the crazy traffic in the city, and also the difficult climb to get out of it. Also, since the instalation of an excellent cable car service in the last few years, you can reach La Paz very easily from El Alto without the stress but with all the great views.
The morning was very cold, and in the backyard of our hostal all water surfaces were frozen. Luckily it was sunny so soon it got warm enough. The owners warned us there was an strike further up and traffic was not allowed to go through. But after our positive experiences in Peru, we hoped bikes would be exempt from the strike.
We knew when we were approaching the location of the protest, as some cars started to leave the highway towards an alternative route on dirt tracks. Further up, some cars were even returning against the direction of the road. But we continued.
As expected, we were allowed to pass without discussion, and even with some cheers when they saw the kids cycling too.
The approach to El Alto was relatively stressful, as the traffic got much busier, and there were plenty of “collectivos” picking and dropping people everywhere, sometimes in front of our front wheel, without any warning.
We were cycling slow as it was slightly uphill, so we took it easy and cycled with extreme care.
When we arrived in the center of El Alto, we were quite lucky as exactly that day the huge market of Av 16 de Julio was taking place. We went to a hotel nearby that had a very reasonable price on booking.com, but upon arrival they claimed the prices were not real as they had been “hacked”. Whatever. Anyway, the quoted price was still aceptable and the location was unbeateble so we stayed, directly on top of the market.
Susanne and the kids stayed in the nice room and enjoyed the fancy bathroom and TV while I went down to savour the market and get stuffed on delicious street food. Tomorrow we’ll go to visit the capital.