Now we need to get back to Peru ASAP. This meant back tracking the 156 Km on the RN 5 to Potosi and then go 303 km north on the Pan-American to Oruro.
The entire distance is under construction with constant desvios (detours). We cannot understand why they don’t just do the road in 20 km stretches to completion and then move on. Now there is 300 km of mayhem. There are a huge number of transport trucks and busses too all belching black smoke. We also saw some snow on the way.
Now we are in striking distance of the border.
The RN 1 north goes directly thru La Paz. The road conditions are pretty bad and there are hundreds of mini busses jostling for position and passengers. We had decided to try to bypass as much of the city as possible and too the Rt 9 southwest to Viacha. There is then a connector road back to the RN 1 at the indigenous town of Laja.
This is 20 km of dirt or as it was today mud for much of it. The dryer parts had two tracks to ride on except when the transport trucks were oncoming and you had to pull off onto the muddy shoulder. That said the first few km and then a few deep mud sections after this were the worst.
The town of Laja is filled with people in traditional costumes.
Then it was only another 35 km to Tiwanaku.
This town is set on the Altiplano as is the ruins of the ancient city of Tiwanaku or Tiahuanaco.
It was founded 3000 years ago and lasted about a thousand years and had a population of about 50,000. In Bolivia and Peru the highlands and lowlands are divided by an imaginary northwest-southeast axis aligned by water bodies, making Tiwanaku the axis point. The city was the center of Andean civilization and was the inspiration for the Inca Empire.
The site is fairly nice with signs and a guide paper in “English”.
There was an amazing sunken plaza where the walls were covered with stone masks.
There are several nice arches and statues too.
There is also a museum housing artifacts of ceramic.