Highest Point in the City
We packed a lot into one day. We took the van up to Mirador Killi Killi, one of La Paz’s most impressive viewpoints. It provides sweeping views over the sprawling city with a viewing range of almost 360 degrees. From the lookout one can see La Paz’s most prominent buildings with Illimani mountain providing a striking backdrop to the city.
The Witches Market
Our last excursion was a visit to the Witches’ Market. It is not your usual market place but a series of little shops along several streets selling herbs, folk remedies and a variety of fascinating ingredients used to appease the spirit of mother earth. Common products are herbs, seeds, and various animal parts used in religious rituals. The most disturbing but prominent are the llama fetuses used for burial in the new house or business foundations to bring protection and good luck to the owners. A plate is often filled with all kinds of charms and that is also buried beneath foundations. Often circulating throughout the market are the Yatiri(shaman or medicine man) offering healing and fortune telling services. There are also many amulets to buy: frogs – wealth, snakes – health, turtles – long life, puma – strength, llama – energy.
We had a quick walk through Murillo Plaza, the city’s central plaza, which was crowded with people. At the sides of the square are the government buildings – Presidential Palace, National Congress, and the Cathedral of La Paz. I enjoyed watching the people and also getting a few photos.
San Francisco Cathedral
Our last stop was next to the San Francisco Baroque Cathedral where we waited for the driver. Lots of people standing around, others selling all kinds of goods. We sat down and I had a good opportunity to get a few photos. The ladies with the bowler hats and long skirts are from La Paz. They can be very rude if you try to take a photo. Thank goodness for long lenses! My La Paz guide is Aymara and her mother dresses like this. My guide is single and lives near the airport with her parents in a city called El Alto. It is the second largest city in Bolivia and is populated mainly by Aymara migrants.
This was the end of a very long first day. I was glad to get back to the hotel and just relax. It was nice having a kitchenette so I could have tea whenever I wanted. After resting for a while, I decided to explore the streets around the hotel. I returned to the grocery store I discovered the day before. I bought a few veggies and fruit and was glad to make my own dinner and stay in for the evening. The next day I was on my own and so could sleep in but wanted to get up in time for breakfast. Almost every hotel has a free breakfast and I didn’t want to miss it a second time.