You’ll love or hate La Paz, they say. I didn’t feel either, I just found the capital a bit ‘meh’. Santiago is the bar with which I judge other capital cities and La Paz fell drastically short. But that wasn’t the reason why I didn’t enjoy it, since it would be unfair to expect Bolivia and Chile – countries that couldn’t be more different – to have comparable capitals. I felt that La Paz wasn’t as pretty as Sucre, the constant warnings about crime put me on edge, and there wasn’t anything that felt unique to the place other than being at altitude, which isn’t really that interesting after a while.
From my experience, people who rave about La Paz talk about San Pedro prison (I finally started reading Marching Powder after my visit) or talk about the night life and evangelise about all-nighters in their hostels with other backpackers. We were strongly warned against doing a prison tour and didn’t want to stay in a hostel full of people knocking back beers and lines until the early hours, so it was probably more the case that this just wasn’t the place for us.
There were things in La Paz that interested me though. We learnt on the free walking tour about how politically active the residents are and how often they will protest – something that I pray catches on in England with all the news I see about home. They have epic fried chicken. The Cholitas Wrestling was the most bizarre evening I will have for some time.
But, for me personally, there wasn’t much to La Paz and I didn’t love my time there. It was no Pisco, which will forever be known as The Place So Horrible I Cried (more on that later), but our handful of days passed by with minimal interest. That’s why this blog post is so short – I want to talk about the things I loved, and unfortunately this wasn’t one of the places. That will happen when you travel for seven months.
I couldn’t have been more excited to get to Lake Titicaca – and the journey there was definitely the most interesting we’ve had so far…