Welcome to Miami!!
After an uncomfortable night flight I arrived bright and early this morning in Miami. Wearing three layers, jeans and thermal socks, I was immediately hit by the rise in temperature, around 32 degrees at 8am, I was melting to say the least!
I am staying with friends whilst in Miami so they picked me up from the airport and we headed into the city centre to their Downtown apartment.
The apartment was pretty cool, great views of the city and a roof top pool which we checked out before heading out to explore a little.
After a bite to eat, we headed to Lincoln Road for a stroll and to check out some of the stores. Even though its scoarching hot, it’s still pretty busy and full of tourists. We stopped off for a much needed ice cream then walked to Miami Beach.
The beach was really crowded and the sand was very coarse in comparison to the white sands of Copacabana. I wasn’t up for a swim just yet but did dip my toe in the ocean. 🙂
We went back to the apartment to cool off a little – I’ve never appreciated air conditioning quite so much! Then we went to Biscayne bay where there are a number of stores and restaurants. I did a little tacky souvinier shopping and took in the views of the bay.
After a lovely dinner, I was just about ready to pass out.
Long, very hot day!
My transfer to the airport was not until 6.30pm this evening so today was about nothing other than shop shop shopping!!
I’d been told that the shopping in La Paz was very cheap so was excited to buy lots of souviners for the family… And I did! I spent a few hours in all the souviners shops bargaining for deals and even visited the witches market for some tokens! So 7 or 8 bags of shopping later I went back to the hotel to sort it all out only, the one thing I forgot was, where am I going to put it all!
Half an hour of packing and repackage followed with some minor panics in between but eventually it all made it in!
After saying good bye to a couple of the group members who were still around I hopped into my cab to the airport for my flight to Miami.
La Paz airport is quite small but the staff were all really helpful. One thing I didn’t realise though was I have to pay $25 just to leave! Depature tax sucks.
I bored the flight around 10.30 to Miami so all being well I will wake up there tomorrow!
We arrived in La Paz early this morning, very weary eyed after an uncomfortable journey on the night bus. We weren’t able to check in straight away so left our bags and headed out for some breakfast. Very little is open that time of the morning in La Pax but we managed to find a hotel that could knock us up some eggs and bacon which did nicely.
Today was a struggle. After a very interrupted sleep last night my body was refusing to cooperate with enthusiasm at the steep hills La Paz had to offer. Nevertheless we went for a walk around the centre of the city and explored the main square and there was also a festival going on with dancing and Bolivian music.
After 3 or 4 hours I headed back to the hotel praying that are room was ready and my prayers were answered! A much needed, lengthy siesta followed!
As today is the last official day of our tour, we went out for our farewell dinner this evening. A nice Asian restaurant with a really homely feel to it and… They had 2for1 happy hour Caipirinhas so I was a happy girl 🙂
The food was really good and we had lots of chat and giggles. After saying farewell and hugs with the group, we went back to the hotel.
Of course after yesterday’s delight we headed back to Florin for breakfast before we had to check out of our hotel at 11.
Today has been a bit of an admin day, trying to sort out a dodgy cash machine transaction in a bank where no one speaks English and my Spanish consists of being able to order off a menu. Pretty dull so won’t bore you with the details.
After the bank fiasco, I met the rest of the group at a lovely restaurant in town for a spot of lunch before hitting the shops again for some souviner shopping.
We are getting a night bus to La Paz tonight so I decided to grab an early dinner before boarding the bus and of course opted for the steak at Florin 🙂
This morning we decided to give the hotel breakfast a miss and try Florin, the restaurant from the night before. and you’ll never guess what, they only had a bloomin full English on the menu!!
I’ve never been so happy in my life I don’t think!
Feeling very satisfied, we headed out into the city to explore the sights. We passed by lots of churches and university buildings and headed to the large park in the north of the city. We grabbed some ice cream and watched the world go by in the sun, a good chance to chill out a little.
After a while we decided to check out the central market, a huge market which sells pretty much everything including huge displays of fruit and veg and every part of an animal you could want (or not want) – that part was actually pretty gross!
Another siesta this afternoon then out for dinner before an early night.
Pretty exhausted today
This morning we were up early for our transfer from Potosi to Sucre, the capital city of Bolivia. This journey was only 3 hours so was a nice change from the long bus journeys we were used to. And the landscape definitely began to change to. From the tiny villages set in the mountains to much large urbanised areas.
After checking in at the hotel, which was lovely, we headed out for a bite to eat. Our tour leader Joy, had been raving about this chocolate she gets in Bolivia so the next stop was the Para Ti chocolate shop round the corner.
I’m quite fussy about my chocolate and normally I don’t like chocolate from abroad (even Swiss!) but this was actually pretty good, and if you are on my lucky list, some of you may be trying some very soon! The ladies in the shop were really helpful and even asked if we’d like to go tour their factory. We of course said yes!
So a taxi ride later we were at the Para Ti factory and headquarters. Anna, the lady who showed us round was very passionate about the processes they use and the ethos of the company. 90% of the employees are women and as far as Bolivian standards go, the job benefits were fantastic. (Could be on to something there – change of career maybe?)
Back in the town centre there was time for a quick window shop before a much needed siesta 🙂
Tonight we dined at Florin, a Dutch owned restaurant/bar. It was a nice relaxed atmosphere, very much aimed at travellers which normally I’m not keen on but the food here was great. I ordered a steak with basil sauce and it is quite possibly the best steak I’ve had all trip (sorry Argentina!).
After dinner and a few caipirinhas we decided to carry on the party at a bar round the corner. After much dancing and some limbo my little legs were ready for bed. High altitude partying really does take it out of you!!
I woke up feeling refreshed today after a good nights sleep, ready to explore the city!
First stop was a local convent where you are able to climb (via some very dodgy stairs) up to the roof for some great views of the city. There was also a crypt where families used to store deceased members bones in boxes which reached from floor to ceiling in all the rooms.
After the convent we headed across town to a small restaurant which is very popular with locals serving traditional Bolivian food. There are only 2 dishes on the menu, a pork dish or their special volcanic soup. We all had the soup which came out with a hot rock in the centre which caused the soup to bubble and spit like a volcano. It was really tasty.
After a browse round the shops, I then went for a tour of the local beer factory which produces Potosina beer. It was really interesting to see how they produce everything and mostly very manually. Even though the tour was in Spanish I just about followed what Jose, our guide was saying.
We then met up with the rest of the group for dinner at the 4060 restaurant (4060 being how far above sea level we were)