Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Into the Yungas

One of my other reasons for choosing to stay at the Adventure Brew is the free pancake breakfast. Oh yes, no cold, halfways-stale toast and dulce de fricking leche here, we got pancakes. Thus fortified, I took yet another taxi over to Villa Fatima, where I dumped my main pack with the minibus company and popped over to the road to indulge in more cheap, fresh Bolivian fruit juice. Yum. Eventually, only about 15 minutes late, the company had stopped trying to sell yet more additional tickets and departed, heading via the new road down to Coroico. This would have given me a chance to better enjoy some of the scenery from the early bits of the bike ride, were it not for the truly dismal weather. Ah well, you can't have everything. The final approach to Coroico, from Yolosita (one of the towns down in the valley where the bike rides actually finsh), was dead steep, switch-backing up the side of the ridge on which Coroico perches - as with a fair number of towns in Bolivia, the setting is nothing short of spectacular.

After staggering up the ridge from the bus station to the plaza with my packs on (an activity that would have had me wheezing and on the point of death in La Paz but here just left me a bit hot and bothered), I grabbed some lunch at a little restaurant called Back-Stube (yes, it's co-owned by a German) and then checked myself into the Hostal Kory, a place just over the plaza with a terrace making full use of the amazing views and a decent-sized swimming pool. Luxury indeed, and a single room still only cost me a fiver a night. Bolivia's great! (except some of the buses and roads...)

That afternoon I had a leisurely look around town (it doesn't take long, Coroico's pretty small and the centre is all perched precariously near the ridgeline), sorted my onward ticket to Rurre for Friday through an agent in town, caught up a bit more on my journals, and then went to grab some food at one of the pair of restaurants on the square both called Pizzeria Italia. Utterly unoriginal name, and to be honest the slowest service I've had in Bolivia, which is a reasonable claim to fame. After this I went back to the hotel, where I ended up chatting on the terrace with an Irish couple, Terry and Fran, and a German guy whose name completely escapes me, drinking the odd glass of wine and then heading back to the plaza to play pool above one of the restaurants and then at the Moskkito Bar (their spelling, not mine), which we had to ourselves - normally, that'd be cause to up and leave, but when it means you get to monopolise the pool table, kinda handy. In the end, I left the others there about midnight and headed back, as I was feeling tired again. I must be getting old.