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caty’s Travel Diary

Monday, 17 Oct 2005

Location: La Paz, Bolivia

MapHaving arrived in Puno in the pouring rain and freezing cold, I booked myself on the first bus in the morning to La Paz. Another 7am start.
We got to the Bolivian border about 9.30am. The scenery along the way was beautiful at times with the deep blue lake Titicaca on the left and the flat lands rising up to red hills on the right. At other time the scenery on the right was just like Ireland- flat boggy land with dry stone walls and sheep. The only difference was that the cottages were made of red earth bricks instead of being whitewashed.
At the border we were all herded off the bus on the Peruvian side to change money and get our exit stamps in our passposrt. There were about 3 buildings on each side of the road; money change, customs, border police and shops. Other buses arrived at the same time so there were huge queues to change money and to get the exit stamp. There was no hassle at all getting the stamp. I don´t even think they looked at my picture, just the entrance stamp.
Then it was a 200m walk up the hill to the Bolivian side. The only barrier was a chain accross the road (very unlike the pictures you had of the Indian Pakistan border Clare!). Handed over my entrance form and it & my passport were stamped in seconds. Then the bus drove up the road and we were all able to get back in.
Arrived in Cocacabana at 11am (hour ahead of Peru). It´s a pretty village built on a hill leading down to Lake Titicaca. The main street has lots of stalls selling sweets and soft drinks and jewellry. There´s plenty of hostels & restaurants. We had about 2 hours here before getting bus to La Paz. It was long enough for me to decide that I´s stay here on way back rather than Puno. Also it´s waaaaaaaaaay cheaper than Peru. A coffe was 40c as opposed to 1.20.
Back on bus. Again fabulous scenery. We climbed up into the red hills and lake Titicaca was down below. It was so blue. Looked like some photos of Greece or Turkey. Then we descended to the lake level and told to get out of the bus. ????? Turned out the bus was crossing the lake on a barge and we all had to get a boat accross. Another unexpected means of transport.
Scenery into La Paz was superb too- flat plains of yellow grass with a range of snow capped mountains in the background