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Bolivia (in English)

04.06.2019, travelfood

My first impression of Bolivians is that they are quite serious people compared to the rest of South America. They dress quite traditionally and are not as talkative and do not gesticulate as much as their neighbors. And that suits us Finns quite well, since we are very similar! For me who does not speak Spanish too well, it is always very refreshing when the locals try to understand me with their not-so-good English and my not-so-good Spanish. That is not always the case in for example Spain.

Bolivia caught my attention when I noticed that it is fairly easy to reach Copacabana by Lake Titicaca by bus from the capital of La Paz. On my previous trip to Peru I did not go to Lake Titicaca because the Peruvian parts of the lake are more difficult to reach. But now I took the bus, and the trip took a quite adventurous turn when the bus was loaded on a quite humble raft and we crossed a bay on that. Fortunately the raft was not built by reed like some of the islands in Lake Titicaca were built upon.

I believed that I would not suffer from high altitude sickness after having coped with high altitude countries like Nepal, Switzerland and Peru without symptoms. But in La Paz I had severe headache, heartbeat and walking was really difficult. So you might wish to take mountain sickness into consideration when planning a trip to La Paz. On the steep slopes of the highly situated capital it might be worthwhile to save the strength by using the local metro, which actually is a cable car network. It actually feels like the city is situated among the clouds!

Bolivian food is similar to the food of its neighboring countries and is based on foodstuffs that are available in the Andes. The mostly used ingredient seems to be potatoes, and you can find both yellow and blue versions of them. I had ajiaco soup with potatoes and guasca herbs. Furthermore, I tasted Peruvian inspired lomo cerrado, which is a sort of flank steak, and garlic trout which was said to be from Lake Titicaca. Instead of typical Peruvian pisco sour I tasted in Bolivia maracuja sour, which was a very tasty alcoholic drink based on the tropical fruit.

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