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Turning 30 South American Style With the dreaded 30th birthday looming, I ran away to South America to celebrate the landmark birthday in style.

Lovely La Paz

BOLIVIA | Saturday, 17 May 2008 | Views [743]

Now safely in La Paz which is quite literally a breathtaking city. It is one of the most amazing places I have ever seen and quite unlike anywhere else on earth. It is 3800meters up in the mountains, set in a valley, ringed by the most impressive peaks and just amazing. The city itself has spewed out of the central bowl and is climbing up all the hills around it making it look so awesome at night. It is a great place, even if it does take three days to adjust to the high altitude. On our first night we had to pause for breath every ten steps, now we know what it feels like to be old. So we finally left our fury and feathered friends behind, and even the human ones too. It was quite hard because we had a lovely time but we were so tired we knew we had to leave. Oh all right then, it was because we were stuck in a town with no cable and just had to watch the final day of the Premiere League, no way I was going to miss Manchester Utd being crowned champions again. Even if the TV we were watching it on did break down in the final minute of the game. Sorry, back to the point. Anyway we had a few days in Cochabamba where I was stuck down with an awful cold but the city itself is lovely. It too is set in a valley, fringed by mountains but just not quite on the same scale as La Paz. Still tired from the month of hard slog, we just lazed around and took it easy, managing to make it out for dinner was about the limits of our exertion here but it was nice all the same. Then off to La Paz where we are having a lovely time. Fully adjusted to the crushing weight of altitude, we have been out today exploring to the church, the markets and the coca museum, all about the history of the favourite recreational drug of the 1980s. We stopped for some coca tea and a coca biscuit which left our mouths feeling slightly numb and ourselves slightly light headed for all of two minutes. Think we are safe from addiction for now though. Other than that we have just been wandering and getting back into the traveling lifestyle after a month of standing still. This has involved walking up and down hills (steeper than Sheffield), surveying stall after stall of brightly knitted woolly hats and almost being coaxed into buying a dried llama foetus - for luck apparently. Off to Lake Titicaca next for a whirlwind tour of the Isla del Sol, life is lovely sometimes isn't it.

Tags: bars, bolivia, city, coca tea, la paz, llama, mountain, pubs, restaurants, witches market

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