Crossing the Border

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.


      1. Do you ever dictate text? I have my mac set to hit hitting “Function” twice and it types everything I say – as long as I know where I am going with my story – saves me 3/4 of the time!

  1. Thank goodness you’re giving those peaks surrounding La Paz a miss … they look chilly. And big.

    I love the pics of the last night in Peru. Those stars are something I really would like to see. xxx

  2. Love it bro! Ah titicaca looked so stunning! And I loved hearing you talking about eco concerns, it’s great to hear your passions coming out too, so don’t ever worry about being boring, this planet needs us to sit up and be vocal… BTW just watched Leo DiC’s doc Before the Flood, it’s a good one to pass on to anyone who doesn’t believe in environmental probs (like DT :-0)…
    Hope the Atacama is amazing, Love you x x x

  3. Nice one Campbell! Must be so liberating to just keep on cycling! To see where you end up the next day! One minute camped up overlooking lake Titicaca thinking the views can’t get much better! Then in the distant those huge snowy peaks rise up out of nowhere! Amazing! Keep it up dude!
    And you’re totally right, we have such a problem with out of sight, out of mind attitudes to rubbish here! To the point that most people can’t be arsed to even recycle as they don’t see the impact or where it all ends up! One trip to a dump can shock you in to realising how much crap gets thrown away in a couple of hours!!
    Consumerism culture is to blame, and can’t see that going anywhere anytime soon, unless there is some major shakeup of some sort!
    Anyways keep on riding and adventuring for us all dude!!!!

    1. It is – it’s taken quite a while to shift mentality and accept that I don’t know where I’ll be staying/camping from one day to the next! Great to be in the developed world Chile and, shortly, Argentina though!!
      Hope you’re getting out on the bike regularly? Fancy joining us all for the Tour of Cambridgeshire on 4th June?!

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