December 20, 2019 – January 9, 2020
Day 437 – 457

Here we are in La Paz, our second stop in Bolivia. We are the 20 of January, and the end-of-the-year celebration are on the way. With Mathilde, we have decided to stay somewhere during this period, as it is easier to organize something and meet people.

And what is better to meet people than to do… a volunteering. We find a good hotel/hostel to volunteer for about 2-3 weeks (to spendf chritmas and new year’s eve). This will be the first volunteering for Mathilde.

So we go to The Rooftop Hostel. This hostel was actually a hotel a year ago, but the new owner decided to turn it into a hostel. So lucky for us, we have all the comfort of a hotel with a huge kitchen and our own private room with… a bathtub (first time I get one in 15 months travelling).

We will work at the reception, doing 3 shifts per week. I personnaly do more the night shifts. It is indeed more exhausting, but you have less to do so I can work on my own stuff in the meantime.

The Rooftop hostel has obviously a very nice rooftop to enjoy the view of La Paz, with a background of the Illimani mountain.

La Paz is actually a funny city which is, in my opinion, beautiful from far away, but not that great in the details. The city center is for example nice, but nothing really fancy.

One funny thing of La Paz is its markets, where you can find anything you want, including stuffed lamas and baby lama momies or whatever it is…

We spend Christmas and new year’s eve in the hostel, with a nice atmosphere as our boss and the other volunteers are very friendly. we try to bring as much as possible the Christmas spirit here. This is again a time of the year where we miss our family home. But at least we have each other.

We spend Christmas in a french restaurant with many other french travelers. And we spend New year’s eve in the hostel, doing a party on the rooftop. We can look at the midnight fireworks: The most impressing I have ever seen in my life.

Here in La Paz, there is not one firework made by the city. But instead, it is everybody that makes his own firework. So from the rooftop, we can have a 360° view from La Paz with its fireworks.

The amazing new year’s eve fireworks of La Paz

As I said, La Paz is especially nice to see from far away. And the city is perfectly fitted for that with the teleferico: the biggest cable car network in the world. With it, you can go anywhere in the city and see it from above.

You can especially reach the city of El Alto, a city just next to La Paz. As the city of La Paz expanded, people started to go on top of the mountain bording La Paz and they created El Alto. Now, it is actually the biggest city in Bolivia.

And the city of El Alto is especially known for its market. Every Thursday and Sunday, you can go there and just enjoy walking around in order to thing approximately anything you can imagine. It is said that it is the biggest market in south america.

I myself take the opportunity to be here for quite a while (and to have such a big market) to review my gear and buy some new things. By reaching south America (after the caraibean), I had to buy new gear for the cold of the altitude. I also travel now with a tent, a much warmer sleeping bag (3-4x bigger than the last one), a sleeping mat, hiking stick, a camping stove, crampons, gloves, a warm jacket, ….

Anyway, all this make that my 40L backpack I started with is a bit small to carry everything. And especially when I have to carry food for trekking, it is too small. So, with a lot of sadness, I changed my bag for a new one, bigger. I also bought some new gear for the rest to come.

Another curiosity of La Paz is the neighborhood of Chualluma, one of the newest “attraction” of La Paz, as it only a 6-8 months old. At that time, a project intent to paint this entiere (poor) neighborhood. And I have to say the result is beautiful

During our stay here, we also take 2 days off to go on a hike to the Huayna Potosi in order to climb it to the top (6,088m) ! I tell more about it in this other post.

We end up staying a bit longer at The Rooftop Hostel, as we really enjoy the atmosphere there. And after 3 weeks here, we finally leave to continue our journey in South America and Bolivia…

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