Bolivia's National Day and Sightseeing in La Paz - Vikingess Voyages

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Bolivia's National Day and Sightseeing in La Paz

Today, the 6th of August, it is Bolivia's National Day. But unlike one would think they don't celebrate a lot on the day itself, but rather on the day before.
Yesterday, when I was walking to the orphanage where I work as a volunteer, I was lucky enough to get to see one of the parades. I filmed it, so for those who are interested you can check it out:

Though today is the real national day there aren't much besides the ordinary here in La Paz. There are quite a lot of stores that has been closed all day, and I have heard the sound of (probably) fireworks, but there hasn't been any parades or people dressed up. Me and Camilla, who works with Misjonsalliansen and has helped me a lot here in Boliva, went to the center of La Paz and spent the day strolling up and down small alleys, through markets and bustling streets.
The first street we went has a lot of exotic little shops, and is known as the Witches' Market. Here you can by anything from clothes to the stuff that gave the marked its name; herbs, remedies and so on.

Local woman walking down the street in the Witches' Market
At the Witches' Market (mercado de hechisería/bruja) you can find typical Bolivian products, as well as locals ladies sitting on the sidewalk selling their products, or just knitting or sleeping while waiting for customers.
A nice way to spice up your guitar, or..?
A shop selling alpaca yarn
One of the things they sell a lot of in La Paz is yarn or products made of wool, more specifically yarn from the alpaca. You can make some good deals here, I bought a sweater for 90 BOB, but I doubt that this one is made of 100% alpaca wool though.. Still, its going to be handy with another warm sweater here, cause it is really cold in the evenings.
Dead lama babies apparently brings luck if you burry them under the foundation of your new house..
It is no wonder it is called the Witches' Market when you look at some of the stuff they sell here. According to Camilla this varies a bit with the season, but for some reason this seems to be the season for dried Llama-babies and fetuses.. Yuk!

Here you can see the San Francisco square, which got its name from the San Francisco basilica to the right.
After passing by the San Francisco square we stopped by a cozy cafè/restaurant called Pan de Oro (which means Metal leaf) for lunch. Though the architect and the atmosphere is really nice, the prices are a bit high compared to restaurants aimed at the locals. But still I have to add that it is quite cheap for me, since the prices I am used to from both Norway and Japan are much higher. And.. The menu also comes in English btw.!
The entrance to Pan de Oro
I decided that I wanted to try out something new, and ended up eating a llama-steak to the neat price of 55 Bolivianos (which is about 8 dollars/600 yen/43 kroner). And the taste was good, specially the sauce.! Haha.. The llama was.. Alright. :p
Lama steak!
(The address of Pan de Oro is Genaro Sanjines 451, 591 - 2 La Paz, Bolivia)
We didn't come across any parades today, but by the Plaza Murillo we did however see some signs of the celebration. For example, as you can see on the pictures below, some of the buildings were draped in the colors of the Bolivian flag.
The cathedral at Plaza Marillo. Doesn't seem to be anything out of the ordinary, but..
In front of the cathedral there were some flower arrangements placed there in honor of the national day. Actually there were quite a lot of them, but of course you can't really tell by this photo..
And then there was the Palacio de Gobierno, which was draped in flags and with symbolic pictures.

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About Anette
Anette came to Japan as an exchange student in 2010, met the love of her life and got stuck. From her base in Tokyo she writes about her experiences as a full-time worker in Tokyo and about her travels in Japan and abroad. She's a free-spirited adventurer who enjoys both the great outdoors and her urban lifestyle.

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Adventures ofAnette

A modern day shield-maiden who loves to explore the unbeaten paths of the world. From her base in Tokyo, Anette takes on both rural and urban challenges, and goes by the motto "No challenge too big, no adventure too small"!
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