One of my favorite finds in La Paz is Calle Jaén, the most colonial street in the city. About a ten minute walk directly uphill from the Iglesia de San Francisco, Calle Jaén is a magical place. Colored in Spanish Colonial hues of brilliant reds, blues, greens and pinks, walking down Calle Jaén’s narrow cobblestone street feels like stepping back in time.
It took a little bit of wandering around to find it and sadly I almost got pick-pocketed by a very normal looking man (thank you Mom for lending me a jacket with a complicated button closing the pocket! Otherwise he would have been able to grab my travel wallet!). When I felt the tug on my jacket and realized what was going on, I started to yell and he was gone. It was a close call though not enough to keep me away from finding Calle Jaén. I was determined to find this hidden treasure.
The day had grown rather overcast which was a bit disappointing as I knew the views would be lovelier in the warm sunshine. Then the colors of the buildings would really jump out. But obviously I had to take what I could get. You can’t control the weather.
Once again, I enjoyed capturing the deteriorating buildings along the way. For some reason, they always fascinate me.
As I was taking pictures, a man said something to me in Spanish and asked me to take his photograph. Why not?
It was right after this picture that I turned around and started walking up the hill to feel the tug on my sleeve. It was time to put my camera away and pay attention.
We arrived at a small plaza and I knew we were almost there. I pulled out my map and saw the narrow entrance to Calle Jaén across the street.
There are four small museums near Calle Jaén called the Calle Jaén Museums. I didn’t go to any of them due to lack of time however they are highly recommended in the guidebook. I was mostly interested in seeing the beautiful colonial street and it was worth the preposterously steep walk and almost getting pick-pocketed to see it. Calle Jaén is beautiful!
The colors, the wrought-iron balconies and the lampposts made me smile. It was so quaint and no one was there except a few passerby. The cobblestones were intact and it truly was the most beautiful street I had seen in all of La Paz.
I just loved all the red!
The sky was getting darker. I had an umbrella in case of rain but I had hoped it wouldn’t ruin the walk.
The street is short and ends rather abruptly. I took a couple final shots before saying goodbye to Calle Jaén.
By far this street was my favorite find in La Paz. I can only imagine what it would be like on a bright and sunny day. Magnificent.
So charming! I too would have walked up steep hills to see this gem. Thank you for your beautiful photographs.
Thanks Alison! 🙂
Great reminder to never get too complacent as a traveler! Your photos do a wonderful job capturing the character of the special street.
Yep. I did know before putting my iPhone in the pocket that it was almost impossible to open. Otherwise I wouldn’t have put it there. But it is true, you must always be aware as a traveler!!!
Very picturesque….and quite the workout, by the look of it!
Thank you! 🙂
Thanks Leslie! 🙂
While the colorful buildings in the foregrounds are certainly beautiful, I loved seeing the crowded hillsides in the background just as much! They give such a great sense of the city’s topography.
Thanks! I loved how those pictures turned out with the hillsides so vivid and crammed packed with houses. It is the craziest city I’ve ever seen. I can’t believe they built it on such steep cliffs!
Beautiful photos of the alley, Nicole. We always use something like this: http://www.amazon.com/Lewis-N-Clark-Luggage-Waist/dp/B0088LONB0/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1422496603&sr=8-9&keywords=rick+steves+money+belt
to secure money, credit card, and passport.
I do too! I had a money belt on but my iPhone was in my pocket as I also use it occasionally to take pics for Instagram. I wasn’t going to keep it in my pocket but the button was so hard to open that I figured it was safe. So I carried it there and thankfully the would be pick pocketer couldn’t open it either!!!!
It happened to us when we were in Paris many years ago before we knew about money belt. It was a terrible experience.
Yes it is never nice getting robbed! I got robbed in Peru inside a taxi cab! The guys came up with a bat, broke the window and grabbed my bag. I was just getting into the country and heading from the airport to my hotel. It was awful.
Any place with so much color is one I’d like. La Paz looks very dense.
Yes it is very colorful but very dense indeed.
You can make a house or building with graffiti look beautiful. Do you ever use your iPhone for your blog or is it just mostly for instagram?
Ah thank you! I usually use my regular camera (about 95% of the time) and my iPhone is when I remember to pull it out and take a shot!
Oh so nice you find it! It’s beatiful! I went to La Paz and I didn’t know about this street, it’s so bad I missed it.
Thanks! Glad you enjoyed the photos!
Beautiful photos of the colorful buildings! Your perspectives really show the STEEP mountainsides and the density of the city.
Beautiful images Nicole! So glad to hear that the pickpocket did not succeed. I love the way you capture the crumbling buildings amidst the vivid colors. You always manage to capture the essence of a city.
Thanks LuAnn! 🙂
It looks like the walk was worth it.
Yes it was! 🙂
Those warm Spanish colours are lovely, Nicole. I love the way you are always drawn to the ramshackle too 🙂
So many people are kind when you travel. The pickpocket must have come as quite a surprise!
Yes it was a little bit of a surprise but I guess it does happen. 🙂
Nice work, Nicole! Was that your first experience with a pick-pocket? Glad to hear that button was too hard to open. It saved you much frustration. 🙂
Thanks! No, I’ve been mugged out of a cab before! They broke the window with a bat and stole my backpack in Lima. It was awful and quite scary.
Sorry to hear about your experience, luckily you were prepared with a complicated pocket 🙂 That street definitely looks worth the visit though. Such fabulous colours!
Ha Ha….well I’ve had worse. I’ve been mugged from a cab. Window broken with bat and bag snatched all within a flash.