We made a great roadtrip last weekend. It was intense, involving 30 hours of driving over three days and traveling the legendary “most dangerous road in the world” in Noryungas, Bolivia.
We left Cochabamba after lunch on Friday and traveled up to the city of La Paz. Stopping briefly in the city, we traveled up to 14,500 feet and then down to the city of Coroico in Noryungas. There, after a night’s sleep, we helped celebrate the 25th anniversary of the founding of the diocese of Coroico. At the Mass, the bishop of Coroico presented us with a plaque celebrating the assistance of Holy Name Province in the establishment of the prelature and, later, diocese, and the hard work of the friars there.
After lunch, we climbed back up to La Paz on the old road linking the two cities. This is the lengendary “death road” — both because of the massacre of the Paraguayan soliders who built the road by the Bolivians and because, before the new road was completed an average of one vehicle plunged off the side every two weeks. Except for a group of bicyclists and their support vechicle, we didn’t encounter any other vehicles and so had a safe journey up to La Paz. (In any case, going up to La Paz is the safe direction for this road. Vehichles travel on the left, rather than the right, on this road, and vehicles going uphill have the right-of-way over vehicles going downhill. This means going uphill one both is able to avoid the cliff side of the road and backing up.)
When we reached La Paz, we attempted to curcumvent the city but encountered various groups of dancers blocking the road, making short work of our intensions. After dinner in El Alto, the growing city on the altiplano overlooking the city of La Paz, and searching for a birthday cake to take with us, we headed out over the altiplano towards Copacabana.
Turning off, we drove down to the town of Sorata and then lower to the La Espada seminary. There, we were met by the lone remaining HNP friar working there.
The next morning, we had Mass and then celebrated the friars’s 81 birthday with a festive lunch. (Somehow, the cake miraculously survivied our bumpy descent to Sorata. New new road is a vast improvement over the old road, but…) Departing, we headed back up to the altiplano, back to El Alto, back across the altiplano in another direction and then down to the city of Cochabamba.
Photos of our trip can be viewed in my photo gallery.