Bolivia, Destinations, Musings, Photography

Photos from La Paz: Cathedrals, Moonscapes, Pigeons in the Park

February 17, 2012

Welcome to Sights from Our Adventures in the City, episode two. See Lima to catch up on episode one. It’s riveting entertainment, let me assure you.

This post’s title makes sense mostly in the non-sensical context of Kilban’s lines:
Piggly, wiggly, bird bath, pie
Cat hips, fish lips, poke you in the eye!

Aardvark, percolator, five-cent cigar
Rhinestones, soup bones, midgets in a jar

Please, pull up a seat and follow along our wanderings in downtown La Paz, Bolivia…

Plaza Murillo…renamed in 2009 from Plaza Mayor or 16 of July Square

Beautiful, hardworking indigenous Bolivian women...



The Plaza at Iglesia de San Francisco, after the crowd thinned following the Alasitas Festival


Iglesia de San Francisco, built in 1784 on the foundations of the original 1548 structure that collapsed under weight of snow in 1610 (say that five times fast), housed a surprising collection of indigenous and European Catholic art featuring Saint Francis of Assisi and the Virgin Mary depicted in beautifully non-Western styles.

We also poked around ancient monastery brewing equipment (no pictures allowed, sadly), and visited the courtyard gardens and rooftop views… Their (also “unphotographable”) collection of silver pieces was a sobering reminder to us about how much of Bolivia’s precious metal was ultimately extracted from the land and sent over the oceans to fuel the Spanish empire.

Contributing workers carved their initials in the bricks during reconstruction of the church…



Edibles, herbs, medicinal plants, and food for the soul still grow in the courtyard gardens…


Pigeons in the Park at Plaza Murillo…



And a visit to the Valle de la Luna on our way out of town and back to home


Eerie moonscapes and desert blooms…

To learn more about the impacts of Spanish culture and Catholicism on the development of Bolivia and its neighboring countries, consider watching a documentary we checked out from the library before leaving on our trip:

When Worlds Collide: The Untold Story of the Americas After Columbus: “A highly imaginative exploration of one of the most intriguing epochs in human history: when the ‘Old World’ first encountered the ‘New World.’ Travel from Granada in Spain to Machu Picchu in Peru, and from Mexico to Madrid in Spain. Explores how the collision of these two sophisticated but different worlds led to the birth of an entirely new Latino culture.”

Thanks for looking through our lens! Which was your favorite view?

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10 Comments

  • Reply Andi of My Beautiful Adventures February 17, 2012 at 6:22 am

    I loved all of these pics, but there is something so special about the last one!

    • Reply twoOregonians February 18, 2012 at 6:14 am

      Isn’t it amazing to see cacti growing *and blooming* in such rocky, desolate spaces? Perseverance and persistence = beauty!

  • Reply Cindy Buck February 17, 2012 at 9:19 am

    The photos of the two children in the plaza are precious . . . all of the shots are breathtaking . . .

    • Reply twoOregonians February 18, 2012 at 6:26 am

      They were so happy! : )

  • Reply Kim February 17, 2012 at 10:11 am

    Beautiful photos. There was something haunting about the, maybe it was the sky? I have so enjoyed traveling along with you!

    • Reply twoOregonians February 18, 2012 at 6:34 am

      And I’ve so enjoyed having you along! Yes, the skies are so incredible: the color, the cloud formations… (Plus, they’re not dripping with Oregon rain!) ; )

  • Reply Ursula February 19, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    Spencer likes the tile rooftop photo with the gray sky. I like the woman carrying her baby. Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply twoOregonians February 23, 2012 at 9:01 pm

      And we’re going to like that {future} picture of YOU carrying your baby! When’s she getting here?? : ) Much love to you guys! We were just talking about Screen Door today… Can’t wait for a Portland Breakfast Reunion.

  • Reply Molly McEwen February 20, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    I think you two must have some underwriting from a travel magazine!!! Your photos are fabulous and your stories equally as good. I’m so enjoying the travelog. Thanks for letting me join in the adventure!

    • Reply twoOregonians February 23, 2012 at 9:06 pm

      You’re such a dear to say that, Molly! Thank you. I wouldn’t turn down underwriting from a magazine, but it’s all amateur for now. Just grateful to share my love of travel and art of words and photos with so many good friends. : ) Hugs to you xx

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