One hundred kilometres of glorious, appreciated tarmac took us to the outskirts of La Paz, the highest capitol on earth. We needed no signs to tell us that we were close, the thick traffic told us everything and with all the stop/starts that came with it, both bikes were suffering with the altitude.

Street Vendor cradles her baby at the side of the road

After passing a tollbooth the highest capital on earth ironically appeared below us, a sprawling mess that seemed to hug the mountains that created a bowl around it. One or two snow capped peaks towered over the mess of buildings and we could almost feel the buzz of energy that came from within.

The rollercoaster road that descended into the city took us straight to the central and from there, using our Lonely planet, it was surprisingly easy to track down the somewhat legendary Loki hostel, party central and the first of many we would visit along the way. This marked our half way to Bogota point and a well deserved week off.

Way up in the Andes, at over three thousand six hundred metres high, La Paz is surrounded by mountains, trapping pollution and making it one of the most polluted cities in the world. At such an altitude with oxygen quite scarce and everything seeming to be an uphill struggle, getting around on both the bikes and on foot is a challenge. A sprawling mess of buildings though it may be, its not without its charm and much like Uyuni, Oruru and every pueblito in between, locals wore traditional clothes and often sat around chewing coca leaves, culture seemed highly regarded and best of all, just about everything could be bought at a rock bottom price. La Paz also attracted a many different types of travellers, from the 18-year-old “gap yaaaar” kids to the hippy shoe string perma-backpackers. With its abundance of cocaine and cheap living, there where many there simply in search of the marching powder, the best of which was produced in the cities notorious San Pedro prison however in the well known bar, route 36, lines came free with the beer.

Frosty mountain tops overlook La Paz on a chilly Altiplano night

A favoured La Paz past time, Cholita wrestling

In the days that followed both bikes went in for a full service, coming back gleaming and purring like kittens, we shopped in La Paz’ fully stocked market where just about every llama or alpaca product could be found. We had tailor made leather jackets made and soon we were looking the far more easy rider. We ate good food and of course, we partied.

Dutch Chris and Dutch Loes were exploring the East of Bolivia but back in Uyuni we had been introduced to Jeroan and French Mel who had previously travelled with Loes. By the time we had reached them in La Paz they had already accumulated a small contingent with which to hit the cities bars and clubs, such was the hostel culture there, and so La Paz was ours.

Dan takes the prize as the gringo's crash the ring, La Paz was ours!

La Paz saw an addition made to our duo. Many strange things could be found for sale down at the witches market where locals bought ingredients for traditional potions or Bolivian rituals. The strangest being a semi formed, two foot tall llama foetus which, naturally, I had to buy, carefully place in Franks bed and wait for his arrival. Strangely enough, Frank saw the funny side and even fell in love with the eerie addition, naming it Larry and vowing to take it the rest of the way to Bogota.

Frank gets a new side kick

In our last days we had met Brian and Kyle, a pair of Americans headed south on Kawasaki’s. It was yet another great opportunity to grab some knowledge on the road North and Brian was more than happy to help us out. It put my mind in good stead for what lay ahead and it was a pleasure to meet both guys.

Gearing up to leave outside the Wild Rover