Written on Monday, 7th October. (Posted today because we found wi-fi.)
When we were struggling with our Bolivian Visas I asked my good friend, Willem, if Bolivia is worth the effort. (Him and his wife, Andie, travelled through South America last year.) He said it’s only worth it if we cycle Death Road. So we couldn’t be in Bolivia and not ride this famous, most dangerous road in the world!
We cycled it and survived! We got the T-shirt! (Everyone literally receives free T-shirts at the end.) You ride 63km, all downhill, on mountain bikes along the edge of a very high and winding cliff. There are crosses marking where many vehicles have fallen off this road. (And a few cyclists.) The view is spectacular but also absolutely terrifying. (When you manage to sneak a peek.). My palms hurt a bit today from all the pressing of the brakes I did yesterday. My bum also took some strain from all the up and down bopping over the rocks. Marc said he stood up most of the way so he is not suffering too much today.
What made the experience even more scary was that it rained a lot of the way down! We were soaking wet and full of mud. We rode through and under many mini waterfalls along the way. It seems like a strange thing to do but it was very exciting and we are quite proud that we are Death Road survivors. I think with the right precautions and equipment it is not too risky.
There are many travel agencies offering this experience at different prices. We did the trip with Vertigo. They weren’t the cheapest or the most expensive but they only offered one good quality bike option and had a good name on the internet. Some places give you an option to use a cheaper bike for less money. (Don’t choose this option.) Christian, our guide from Vertigo was very kind, friendly and helpful. We were also very satisfied with the snacks and buffet lunch we got.
We had an awesome group! Besides our guide, it was only me, Marc and Jon. So we all got personal attention and care. I saw some groups that looked like they were almost 20 in the group. Jon is from Malto and speaks Maltese. Fortunately he also speaks English really well. We’ve never heard of Malto before we met Jon. (But slowly we are becoming more educated.). We got along well and had very interesting conversations. He ripped us off about our South African accent which was really funny because to us we sound normal! On our trip so far he has not been the first to do this either.
At the end of the Death Road we saw these big, blue butterflies flapping around us. Jon was quite chuffed when one decided to sit on him. It was pretty cool. We conquered Death Road! It feels like a physical and mental accomplishment! If you have this opportunity…. Do it!