The Bolivians would clearly prefer that nobody came this way, as the 7km or so between the border posts was in a somewhat dubious state…
In the knowledge that the Bolivian immigration officer goes on a 2-hour lunch break at 12:30, I was happy to arrive at 11:20, ready to complete my first border crossing and push on towards La Paz. I, however, was not aware of the one hour time difference between Peru and Bolivia and the officer had clearly headed off ten minutes early so I was forced to wait around for two hours! To give him his due, he returned at 2:30pm on the dot and I was soon on my way.
My initial impression of Bolivian roads was reasonably positive…
After a night in an alojamiento (they seem to call them that in Bolivia rather than ‘hospedajes’) in Escoma, I was back on the road and making steady progress towards La Paz.
Nearing the end of Lake Titicaca, the scenery opened up and revealed the snow-capped peaks that tower over La Paz.
I also got my first introduction to Bolivia’s fearsome winds, first as a crosswind and then, as I rounded the bottom of the Lake, becoming a tailwind. Roadworks necessitated a sandy (and therefore very dusty) diversion. Fortunately, I was able to take an upwind shortcut of many of the vehicles and avoid too much choking dust!
Taking advantage of the strong tailwind and some lovely new highways (under construction), I pushed on 111km to Batallas and found a pretty shabby-looking but surprisingly comfortable alojamiento for the night.
This left me only about 60km for the final day into La Paz, again taking advantage of highways under construction, at times with a carriageway all to myself!
After negotiating the relative chaos of El Alto, which is the (larger) neighbour of La Paz on the plateau above, I found myself overlooking La Paz itself. It’s an impressive sight – La Paz sitting in the valley below, surrounded by snow-capped peaks.
All that was left was a 12km descent down into the centre and to the Casa de Ciclistas, a gathering point for touring cyclists run by a local, Cristian.