We are now in Chile and are writing a blog on Bolivia. It is shorter than the others as we were only there for two weeks.
Mum: I have loads of great memories of Bolivia. I think it was better than I expected. The whole trip to the Salt flats was incredible. On the last day we had to get up at 4am to see the sunrise, it was freezing, but the main reason was to head to the geysers and see them at dawn. The view was incredible, huge bursts of gas and steam shooting out from the earth; thick grey mud bubbling away and volcanic craters everywhere. Was like being in Star Wars and something I couldn’t ever have imagined unless I had seen it with my own eyes!
Other highlights included the beautiful hostel in Copacabana. Beautiful views; hot tubs; hammocks and the best family room we have stayed in. It even had heaters.
Isla del Sol. The birth place of the Incas was like a Greek island. Colourful flowers and perfect lake water although there was an extremely bright and strong sun.
La Paz, flying over the city on fantastically modern and efficient cable cars; why the rest of the worlds big cities don’t have these for the commute I don’t know, such a civilised and enjoyable way to travel!
Dad: I went on a day trip to mountain bike down the famous death road in La Paz. It starts at an altitude of 4500 meters and ends at 1000 meters in the jungle. It’s 20 km on road and 30 km on gravel track, all downhill which was was pretty cool! I also got to share a bedroom with a very attractive young Brazilian woman whilst in the salt flats………. the rest of the family were in there too though.
Alex: My best memory would have to be the Uyuni Salt flats and Geysers, I really enjoyed it. The landscape of nothing but salt was incredible. At 4 am we went to see the geysers and they were stunning I will never forget the image of coming over the hill and seeing the jets of gas shooting out of the earth, and being so high at 5,000 meters (the same height as Everest base camp). Later we were so high we went to play in the snow! I did really enjoy feeding the alpacas in Copacabana as well.
Georgia: As everyone else has said I really did enjoy the salt flats but not the geyser, although they were incredible, I was ill (probably altitude) and couldn’t really leave the van although they did look stunning. I also liked touring La Paz on the cable cars but couldn’t believe they don’t have them in London or other big cities
Dylan: Going on a pedalo at lake Titicaca, it was really wavy like the sea, we also saw snow 4 days before Christmas
Mum: La Paz was such a contrast between rich and poor. Huge ‘ footballer’ type houses ( as described by the kids) plus the biggest number of beggars and street kids we have seen anywhere. As we pulled out of La Paz on the night bus after seeing so many young children roaming around the station we looked up and saw a city park FULL of women and children bedding down for the night in freezing conditions. There were hundreds and hundreds. It made me really reflect on our lives and the safety net of the UK social state. It might not be perfect but its something which they don’t have at all here. We hardly ever saw men on the streets, just women, feeding babies sand toddlers with loads more around. ( As a midwife that’s one positive thing , the attitudes to breast feeding are just so totally different. Babies are always attached and in slings being fed constantly and it is lovely to see. Although I constantly wanted to tell all the young girls there were ways that they could stop having children if they wanted, but I guess it’s a strongly Catholic country so maybe education is limited?).
Dad: I got a very nasty tummy bug in Copacabana, spent 15 hours, literally, on the toilet, it was a dark time! Took me about 5 days to fully recover.
( Mum: We were all in one big family room; seriously bad times for all of us!)
Alex: My worst memory was probably being stuck in a zorb with Dylan and Georgia crying there eyes out when I was trying to have fun. I did have a laugh though.
Georgia: My worst memory was the last day at the desert/salt flats, I really wanted to enjoy it but I felt so ill. We had to get up at 4 to watch the sun rise but i couldn’t get out of the car to watch it but it still looked stunning through the car window.
Dylan: I really did not like the zorbing as I felt like I was stuck in it and we would all float away towards the middle of the lake.
Mum: Go to La Paz. It was way better than I expected, it had lots of markets, cool ways to travel and is cheap. I had heard it was really hectic and not a great city but we had a good few days there.
Dad: Don’t drink water out the tap, wash your hands all the time, be careful what you eat! The altitude will affect you over time too, be prepared to wake up feeling like you have a hangover every morning!
Alex: If you go to Copacabana I recommend going to the Isla Del Sol as you get stunning views of lake Titicaca and it is so peaceful.
Georgia: I don’t know what my top tip is other than go to Bolivia, although it is a small country, in the middle of South America, it is epic!
Dylan: Go on the cable car in La Paz, don’t go on a zorb!
Mum: We were all so excited to check into the lovely villa in Copacabana. It even had Llamas. The first day we went down the garden and were chilling on the hammocks, when one of the llama starting charging at Georgia. Despite being told not to run , she couldn’t help it and it nibbled her a bit. From them on we were all terrified of the llama ( well the evil brown one!!). It was so funny, as we had all literally been non stop talking about how amazing having llamas in our hostel was!!
Dad: Getting to enjoy a lush swimming pool in the jungle, on my own without the kids, knowing how much they would have enjoyed it! I did feel a bit bad though……..
Alex: I really laughed when we were on the salt flat tour and Dylan kept showing this lady called Yasmine pictures of him on a horse and wouldn’t shut up; we thought he had a crush on her!!!
Georgia: I agree with Alex it was hilarious Dylan kept showing this girl him on a horse and after me and Alex couldn’t stop laughing a lot. LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Dylan: When we were in the salt flats we went to a hostel and we didn’t have electricity, but then it came on and everyone jumped up and said YAY!!!!!!!!
Biggest Strop: When mum could not find her new headphones and dad refused to help, mum had a massive freak out and went berserk. (note from Dad, he had packed them away safely but couldn’t give mum precise location immediately and didn’t appear to ‘care’ enough, hence her strop.)
Items Lost: 3 hats,(all Dylan’s)
Illnesses Had: Dad, very bad tummy and man flu
Georgia sick at the Geysers ( altitude sickness)
We all lost quite a lot of weight from being at such high altitude for so long which killed our appetites. Don’t worry, we are all now back at sea level and have eaten bread and burgers nearly every day, it’s all back on now. Seriously though, the kids are looking a bit better. Although we didn’t really get altitude sickness I think the height did take it out of us and we all feel a bit more energetic now we are at sea level!