La Paz, please accept our apology, we arrived with a negative bias about major cities, and you pleasantly surprised us.
Our morning started out with ATM trouble. Unable to solve the issue until the following day, we decided to make the best of our time and explore the city.
From our modern neighbourhood of Sopocachi, we headed in the general direction of the historic district walking north-west along the tree-lined pedestrian walkway El Prado, passing embassies, skyscrapers, trendy restaurants, and well planned urban spaces.
Near the centre, we rode the Mi Teleférico cable car to El Alto, a sprawling city in itself built on the altiplano surrounding La Paz. The vistas are spectacular. The setting of over a million habitants cover the slopes of the valley in all directions.
From the gondola, we had a view of the mausoleums and the crowds queuing to visit deceased loved ones, an exceptionally busy event since it was All-Hallomas or All Saints’ Day.
The streets are brimming with colourful flower beds, murals and building facades.
Walking back towards our neighbourhood, we came across the Parque Urbano Central. An elevated walkway winds above the park offering terrific panoramas of the city, and the soccer fields and amusement rides below.
This small playground has a great view as well.
Brightly painted, funky buses ply the streets for fares, each with its personality and name.
Doing the tourist thing, we visited the Museo Nacional de Arte, a small museum showcasing the history of Bolivian art, and many stunning religious paintings. But it’s the colonial-era palace, in the Baroque architecture style that captured our attention.
This marble fountain nicely complements the interior courtyard.Near the museum, the central square, Plaza Murillo is surrounded by beautiful buildings; the Presidential Palace, National Congress of Bolivia, and the Cathedral of La Paz.
Look closely at the Congress building’s clock, the numerals are inverted, and the hands turn anti-clockwise. Dubbed the “Clock of the South”, it’s a reminder for Bolivians to remember their roots and to continually question established norms.
The square was buzzing with activity, adults and children alike feeding the pigeons.
And lastly, a photo that makes us chuckle. How would you like to be the cable guy and have to make sense of these?
The ATM incident turned out to be a fortunate event which kept us in the world’s highest capital longer than we had planned — La Paz, Bolivia a worthwhile visit.