One Sunday afternoon, the fiance and I deviated from our standard vacation schedule of eating, napping, eating, watching TV, puttering about the kitchen, eating, relaxing in the jacuzzi, watching a movie, and -wait for it- eating to head outside of the city to a lake about an hour away.
Getting there was an adventure in itself. We started off from the apartment with another couple and their 2-year old son, walking to find the stop of the appropriate taxi ‘trufi’ (not as exciting as the colorfully painted ex-school buses with religious quotes all over them, trufis are more like group taxis where everyone piles into the minivan and additional passengers are picked up along the way). The trufi dropped us off at a dust-covered roundabout (although it didn’t really have an exact shape), where we could admire the beginnings – or abandonment, I’m not sure – of an overpass. After some sharp sighting skills on R.’s part, we were safely ensconced in a taxi and whizzing away to our destination. I can’t really say what we saw along the way, as I engaged in my default activity while in a car in Bolivia (sleeping), waking up long enough only to get a glimpse of the petroleum refinery.
When I opened my eyes, we were in heaven (and no, not because of the taxi driver’s skills):
We had arrived at La Angostura, a lake created by an irrigation project apparently the biggest of its time (1945). Those preparing for romantic hand-holding while strolling alongside the lapping waves of water would be disappointed, however, as the village is more of a family-friendly amalgamation of restaurants overlooking the water where swan pedal boats are driven by teenage couples or frazzled fathers while kids (and some adults…) zipline overhead. The neighboring lake also has its share of larger boats, some of them in shape and color of bananas.
But the taste of heaven was in the food. Simple, yet rich and melting in your mouth – with specialties being the trucha (trout) and pejerrey (king fish), fried in a delicious batter and served with rice and french fries.
During a thoroughly enjoyable, sunny afternoon, we took full advantage of the entertainment – engaging in swan pedal boat races while pelting real swans with popcorn,
ziplining over unsuspecting boaters,
forging a trail to an abandoned railroad track, admiring the view of the mountains above the water from the dam, letting down our hair like Rapunzel in the neighboring castles and dropping ice cream cones all over the place.
If you ever find yourself on Cochabamba on a clement day, and you have a child (or are a child at heart…), or you just like delicious fresh food in a fun setting, it’s definitely worthwhile to make a trip to La Angostura! If you go early enough, you might even snag one of those coveted seats on the patio and admire the swan boat races below.