The more that you travel, the more that you realize that the scenery of most places will remind you of some other place that you have visited. When we first started traveling we expected to be find everyplace that we visited to be strange and exotic, but were often surprised at how familiar the landscape actually was. Part of that is for obvious reasons. The various regions of the planet are by there very nature similar due to forces of nature and the climate.
We were driving through the countryside of Bolivia outside of Cochabamba and we came across a tiny village with an old Spanish church. We stopped and talked to the locals, but apparently the church was no longer in use and they didn’t have keys to let us inside. We walked around the church and found a window with a mesh screen that was loose and peeked through to see some of the contents inside. It felt as though we were looking back over a hundred years in time.
Whether visiting Peru or Bolivia, it is definitely worth taking the time to visit Lake Titicaca. The lake extends into both countries and has several islands with Incan ruins that are thousands of years old. Obviously, we visited from the Bolivian side of the lake and we visited both Isla del Sol (Island of the Sun) as well as Isla de la Luna (Island of the Moon), which were fascinating. There are several tour companies that will take you out to the islands via boat or hydrofoil and it is even possible to spend the night on Sun Island. Our trip out onto the lake started out a little choppy as a single rain cloud seemed to follow us out to the island. We even saw a waterspout at one point and had to take cover inside of the cabin of the boat. We saw many interesting things during our time in Bolivia, but visiting the ruins on the lake was certainly one of the highlights of our time there.
We went back and forth on whether we would do “Death Road” while we were in Bolivia. Part of it was due to how much time we had while we were in La Paz and part of it was due to the reputation of how dangerous of an adventure it could be. In the end, we decided that we didn’t want to miss out on the experience, so we chose to be another couple who survived this treacherous experience. As we look back, it was definitely a worthwhile, but not without incident. It is a gravel road that is extremely narrow with blind turns and 1,000 meter (3,000 foot) cliffs all along the edge, which is why so many vehicles have plummeted into the jungle killing all of those inside. It certainly isn’t to be taken lightly, but it isn’t as bad these days as it was in the past.