Dear Diary

The sunrise is fantastic at our night camp on the shore of Lake Titicaca where the reeds are growing and the rush boats are docked. The day could have been so nice if the car wouldn’t let us down again. After a short drive, the engine is hot and I have to stop. We have hardly any incline. After a short break, the motor immediately gets hot again. Damned. Is the engine really broken? My tests from La Paz to La Cumbre were successful in the end.

I contact mechanic Felix in La Paz but the internet connection is very bad. He doesn’t want to come to help. In between I try to google and get help from my parents at home where there is a better connection. Is it the end of our journey? Is the engine finally over?



I ask a farmer if there is a mechanic nearby. He says no and says that the next car mechanic can be found in the next village.

I’m still trying to find the thermostat in the car as I suspect this part; but it is so well hidden that I prefer to go to the mechanic. The engine has cooled down and we drive off.

But again and again, about every five hundred meters, it takes a while before the engine overheats again. Shortly before the next village I ask a man on the side of the road for the mechanic. Surprisingly, the man says he has a mechanic who can help and points to two luxury tourist excursion catamarans. He fetches the ship’s mechanic, who at first thinks he understands something about diesel engines and then turns his attention to the car.



The ship’s mechanic also suspects the thermostat and cannot find it either. But he finds that the cooling water has completely disappeared and refills it. A test drive through the village and back shows success. The only question is where the coolant went. Felix in La Paz said he filled everything up. I hope it’s not a head gasket failure. But that will show in the near future.

I thank you warmly, show my thanks with money and magnets from Freiburg, and buy another twenty liters of diesel from the men before, against all hope, we head towards our destination for the day in the small town of Cocacabana, on the border with Peru.




At San Pablo de Tiquina we reach a ferry that is supposed to take us to the opposite peninsula with access to the other side of the lake. It takes our breath away because these things are made out of ramshackle planks and never seem to get fixed. As our wobbly ferry casts off, I wonder how many of them break apart each year.

Is our ferryman called Charon by any chance? We survive this rickety crossing and give the ferryman his piece of gold. It was almost as bad as crossing the Rio Mamore. Then we continue in the direction of our last stage in Bolivia: Copacabana!


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