Photo Project: 52 Bolivian Sundays [week 5, ‘Unique’]: the highest mountain in the Cordillera Real.

At 6,438 m (21,122 ft), mount Illimani is the highest mountain in the Cordillera Real, the second highest in Bolivia and the 18th highest in the Andes.
It lies just south of La Paz at the eastern edge of the Altiplano.
It dominates the city of La Paz like a sentinel on guard.
It has three prominent peaks seen from La Paz (it actually has several peaks over 6000 meters) and the most commonly climbed route is on the west face.
To climb this mountain one should have some experience and be very well acclimatized. It’s recommended to spend at least 7 days above 3000 meters and work on some high altitude trekking or climbed another 5500 meter plus peak.
Here, the magnificent peak, waiting for a storm to come… Despite the frightful image, the mountain remains peaceful among the dark clouds…

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At 6,438 m (21,122 ft), mount Illimani is the highest mountain in the Cordillera Real, the second highest in Bolivia and the 18th highest in the Andes.

Illimani

It lies just south of La Paz at the eastern edge of the Altiplano, dominating the city of La Paz like a sentinel on guard.

Illimani

It has three prominent peaks seen from La Paz  (it actually has several peaks over 6000 meters) and the most commonly climbed route is on the west face. To climb this mountain one should have some experience and be very well acclimatized. It’s recommended to spend at least 7 days above 3000 meters and work on some high altitude trekking, before any attempt! 

Illimani

Here, this series of images display the snow capped magnificent peak, waiting for a storm to come…a very common scenario during this time of the year… Despite the frightful image, the mountain remains peaceful among the dark clouds…

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…and after the storm has passed – the calming view of the mountain, once we’re safely back home, in La Paz! 

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♥ Thanks for reading! Curious about the previous posts on this Photo Project?

Photography: Fog, Snow and Fireplace… in August?!

It’s August, and surprisingly enough, we’re keeping ourselves warm while enjoying our new settings. This is what we see, throughout the neighborhood of Achumani in La Paz. The prominent peak that that dominates the skyline over the city of La Paz is the beautiful snow capped Mount Illimani. It lies just south of La Paz at the eastern edge of the Altiplano.

Mount Illimani has an elevation of 6,438 meters (21,122 ft), making it the highest mountain in the Cordillera Real mountain range (name of mountain chains in the Andes Mountains) of western Bolivia. It is the second highest peak in Bolivia, after Nevado Sajama and the eighteenth highest peak in South America. The mountain has five main peaks. The highest is the south summit known as Pico Sur. On the west side is Nevado Illimani, where the normal climbing route is located, which is a popular ascent for mountain climbers. At this time of the year, it’s possible to see the mountains covered in fog and thin snow, result from the cold night, and the perfect excuse for lighting up the fireplace… in the middle of August! 😮

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Sunset through the Mountains around Nuestra Señora de La Paz, Bolívia.

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Sunset… as it is! Beautiful, thanks to Awoodstock!

What we see looking though our TV room window…

We made it. We’ve been in La Paz for exactly 7 days, and here is a bit of what we’ve been able to see… But before we go into the image gallery, just found out that Jill is hosting another Foreign Service Blog Round Up (here we go, people unfamiliar with the ‘acronym world’- it became FS BRU!) – and, a fellow blogger, Ailsa, from “Where’s my Backpack?“, came up with a great travel theme: “sunset”!

Anyway, this week’s theme is coincidently: ‘your current post’, and 5 pros and cons of it… so, for somebody who’s got less than 2 weeks at post, take this list with a grain of salt… 😮 I’m sure things will change with time… for better… or for worse… let’s wait and see! For now, enjoying life in ‘Breathless La Paz‘ (you’ll soon find out why!). So, just taking advantage of a blog post written a couple days ago, to share my very own list of “pros and cons” or our newest post:

Nuestra Señora de La Paz is the administrative capital of Bolivia. It is located at an elevation of 3,660 meters above sea level, making it the world’s highest capital city. The city sits in a “bowl” surrounded by the high mountains of the altiplano. As it grows, La Paz climbs the hills, resulting in varying elevations from 3,000 meters to 4,100 meters. Overlooking the city is towering triple-peaked Illimani, which is always snow-covered and can be seen from several spots of the city, including from the neighbor city, El Alto. La Paz is an important cultural center of Bolivia, and we can’t wait to start discovering its culture, learning about its history, the people, the traditions…. and living surrounded by unique beauty!

The city hosts several cathedrals belonging to the colonial times, such as the San Francisco Cathedral and the Metropolitan Cathedral, this last one located on Murillo Square, which is also home of the political and administrative power of the country. Hundreds of different museums can be found across the city, the most notable ones on Jaén Street, which street design has been preserved from the Spanish days and is home of 10 different museums… We haven’t had a chance (yet!) to really go through the main attractions, but, ‘high altitude permitting’ (!!), we’ll begin… very soon!

PROS of our current ‘setting’:

  • The beautiful views surrounding our house, the mountains, the unique geography throughout the city of Nuestra Señora de La Paz, our #1 bid… I seem to never get tired of looking at these mountains…
  • The School. We were finally able to be at a post where we enrolled our kids (almost 7 & 4,5 yrs old) at an American School [in Mozambique, our son went to a Canadian Montessori Academy, and in Brazil, the oldest ones went to a private local school – for now, let’s just leave any discussions behind us… let’s say we were lucky to have different options for our children!]. Regarding their current school, we’re quite pleased with what we’ve seen, so far… Baby girl is still too young for school days, so, for the time being, she’s staying at home with….
  • … a great NANNY! Close friends (from our time in Mozambique) who were living in La Paz, hooked us up with their nanny/maid pair, right before they had to depart to their next posting – so, we had both ladies waiting for us at the house the day we arrived at our new home…
  • Our ‘sponsors’ have been in country for over a decade. They’re pretty ‘plugged in’, have a lot of insight info to share, tips, recommendations… they’ve got kids at similar ages to ours, and… are pretty involved with tourism, extreme sports, mountain biking, hiking… That said, we’ve already built a good ‘network’ during our few days in country…
  • The food! I’m simply loving it! Very tasty, so far, very safe to our ‘foreign stomaches’…  Our maid is a trained cook, and tries to ‘surprise’ us with a different recipe each day. Groceries seem to be way more affordable than back in Recife (Brazil) or DC/Va, for that matter. That said, going grocery shopping has become an entertaining task for this still-stay-home-mom!

Now, the, ‘not-so-positive’ remarks:

  • ‘mate’ (tea) does help with the high altitude effects… A lot, actually! 😮

    The ALTITUDE. Coming from our 4 weeks of home leave in the US, and before that, a great couple of years posted in Recife, Brazil, pretty much across the street from the ocean, the effects of the high altitude resulted in a shock to my body …

  • The HIGH ALTITUDE. I DEFINITELY WAS NOT MYSELF for the first 36 hours in country. Had the husband call the med unit at the embassy, and thought: “has somebody ever asked for curtailing after less than 48 hours at post?“. Became best friends with the oxygen tank. It made it possible, so, i’m very grateful to whoever came up with the idea of portable/personal oxygen tanks/cylinders. My deepest appreciation to you, Mr Inventor, whoever you are….

    One of my newest ‘best friends’ here in in La Paz!
  • The VERY HIGH ALTITUDE. Besides the oxygen, I learned about keeping your body filled with fluids… Any kind, just avoiding the obvious options of alcohol, sodas, coffee… What??! Can’t I drink coffee?! I’m born in Brazil, to a Portuguese mom, and we’ve been drinking coffee since I was in grammar school! [I know it’s sounds horrible, but, hey, blame the Portuguese culture for that!] 😮 That said, imagine somebody, already dizzy, with a killer headache for literally almost 2 full days, lacking her daily dose of caffeine… Simply, not fair… But I survived… and now, guess what? I’m back into drinking my favorite beverage… And it’s all good…
  • The COLD WEATHER. It’s pretty cold over here, no central heating system, so we’re managing with several portable space heaters (thanks GSO!), but I’m sure we’ll adjust. Right now we’re leaving out of our suitcases, waiting for our stuff to come from Brazil (hasn’t left yet!) and from the US (part of the HHE/UAB coming from the east coast). Despite the cold, it’s quite easy to get a real SUN BURN if you’re just outside, trying to warm your bones up… sunscreen is a must! As they say here, “you’re closer to the sun, so, gotta respect that!”.
  • And lastly, it’d be great once we have a working cable TV… no shows for the kids, yet. No cartoons… but it’s giving us a chance to talk more (at least, that’s what we’re doing to forget about the lack of a TV). It’s been good to talk with the kids, and inquire about their first impressions of this new life. Talking’s been good. Unless, they get on our nerves, and guess what? Then it’s time for bed, school days are back, and the school bus doesn’t wait for long in the morning!

After the adjustment to the weather and the high altitude, it’s possible to enjoy the beauty that surrounds us…

Here, ‘peeking’ into our new life… and this is just the beginning!

A view of the American School, La Paz