Copacabana felt like the perfect spot to have a rest day before continuing on to La Paz. The Germans headed out onto Lake Titicaca to one of the islands and I decided to explore the mainland and climb the ridiculously steep hill overlooking Copacabana instead, as I had seen a few islands earlier from Puno. 

View from the hill

View from the hill

That night the temperature got down to below 0. This I know because my stomach was having a party so I spent much of the night walking backwards and forwards to the roofless outdoor Banyo.

By the morning I wasn’t feeling any better and continued my backwards and forwards trek to the Banyo.

Packing up to head out on the road

Packing up to head out on the road

By around midday Shima and the Germans were packed and ready to head towards La Paz. I felt like I was getting better so I decided to jump in and make my departure also.

Leaving Copacabana

Leaving Copacabana

The day started with a lazy climb to 4272m. I began the climb feeling great. We got some great views of Titicaca as we ascended the hill.

Views of Lake Titicaca from the hill climb

Views of Lake Titicaca from the hill climb

After about 30 minutes that sickening feeling came over me again and instead of subconsciously looking for possible spots to camp I was looking for emergency ‘rest’ spots… nothing appeared suitable so I held on. After about another 15 minutes I was forced to pull over and scamper my way down the hill for my first of many emergency stops. It certainly wasn’t an ideal spot, nor was it hidden from the many eyes peering out the bus windows but at the time it didn’t matter. As we continued up the hill I had several more ‘rest stops’. I was feeling fairly weak and definitely found it hard to enjoy the ride.

Feeling very average at the top of the hill

Feeling very average at the top of the hill

We eventually got to the top and made our way down the windy road to San Pedro.

From here we shared a rickety old ferry with a mini van and a car to take us to San Pablo, 500m across the lake. As the ferry slowly putted across the lake, I felt it creak and watched it twist with each wave. I wondered how far I would be able to swim across the icy lake if we ended up in the drink.

The boat was apparently 30 - 40 years old ... I would believe it

The boat was apparently 30 – 40 years old … I would believe it

We made it and on the other side we met David, an Aussie Cyclist who had come from La Paz. As it was getting late the 5 of us decided to find a campsite together. After exploring the lakefront we found a suitable spot and set up camp surrounded by pigs, sheep, and donkeys (which work as a great alarm clock in the morning).

By this stage I was beginning to feel better.

5 tents set up along the Lake umongst farmland

5 tents set up along the Lake umongst farmland

As I lay in my tent, I felt an unpleasant familiar feeling coming over me again. By this stage the temperature was pretty low and the rain had set in. I lay in my tent and put up with it listening to thunder crack over the surrounding mountains. As soon as the rain eased at around 5am I raced out of my tent and found a nice spot by the lake.

Feeling a lot better I began setting up for the day, packing my wet tent into its bag.

We had 110km in front of us starting with a decent little climb.

Hitting the road again for thast 110km to La Paz

Hitting the road again for thast 110km to La Paz

We said goodbye to David and the four of us rolled passed locals working in the fields, walking there sheep, and even had an old lady throw a rock at us (apparently old ladies throwing rocks at gringos on bicycles in Bolivia is a thing!). 

A large part of the ride was spent negotiating potholes on dirt roads as roadworks were being conducted along a lot of the journey. One casualty of the roadworks was André’s pannier which needed multiple Maguiver repairs done to make it to La Paz.

A casualty of Bolivias bumpy roads

A casualty of Bolivias bumpy roads

We eventually made our way through the outskirts of town where traffic went from almost non-existent to insane. Mini vans and trucks appeared everywhere and were blowing thick black smoke and dust all over us (because being at over 4000 meters, on a bike riding up hill isn’t enough of a breathing challenge).

That afternoon I came across some of the most aggressive drivers I have ever seen, watching a mini van try and sandwich Sam between it and a truck before racing up the inside lane and swerving in an attempt to knock Sam off his bike.

To get into La Paz was a really steep decent winding through very busy streets negotiating busses and thousands of mini vans. The view was spectacular as we looked down at the city from above. Enormous Ice capped mountains looking over a city homing around 1 million people.

La Paz

La Paz

As we rolled down the steep cobblestone roads, my rear brake cable stretched so far that it became close to useless. Eventually and in the dark, we found our home for the next few nights at Casa de Ciclistas, a funky home for weary cyclists in the middle of a busy city.

Stats;

Day 1

Distance – 42.01km

Av speed – 13km/h

Max speed – 69km/h

Av. HR – 135bpm

Max HR – 153bpm

Day 2

Distance – 108.7km

Av speed – 15.6km/h

Max speed – 58.6km/h

Av. HR – 115bpm

Max HR – 149bpm