I got up early to organize everything and then went down to breakfast. It was actually the worst breakfast so far. It looked like almost everything had been eaten and they didn’t bother to replace the food. The hotel was lovely and I loved all the local color but customer service left a lot to be desired. I had a cup of tea and went to meet Marisol. She was prompt as usual and we loaded my luggage in the car and then took a walk to the local market.
Blessing of the Vehicles
The Bolivian vehicle blessings happen every day around 10am in front of the church. A priests blesses each vehicle for good luck and safe passage. The cars are lined up and decorated with flowers and all kinds of trinkets. The stalls sell flowers, colorful trinkets, champagne and beer. After the priest blesses the car, the owner sprays champagne or beer all over it and probably some on his family as well. Then the owner lights fire crackers. I kept seeing this little old lady following the priest and Marisol said she was giving the mother earth blessing to the car as well. Thought Bolivia is a Catholic country, the popular religion is a blend of Christian ideology and pre-Columbian indigenous rituals.
After watching for a while, we took a tour of the Basilica. We saw many Virgin Mary replicas. One especially stood out. It was made by a young converted native in 1583. His first statue was so bad it had been thrown out so he decided to learn the craft. As a result, the statue he turned out was a real work of art – the Blessed Mother and Child showed the physical features of the indigenous people of the area. It became one of the first shrines to Our Lady in the Americas. No photos inside the church. Here is the only one I took.
Waiting in the Town Square
We wandered around the town square waiting for the driver. We saw the car but he wasn’t in it. Here are a few photos I took while we waited.
The driver finally arrived and we were off – back to La Paz. I took a lot of photos on the way back and mostly out of a moving car. It was a long and tiring trip back – you will have to judge the photos.