Welcome to La Posada de la Abuela Obdulia
A brief history of the place
The streets Sagárnaga and Linares were established as the first settlement named "town of Indians", lodged in this zone of the city, sheltered by the Church of San Francisco. Through the centuries, these streets have maintained their mysticism, as the poet from La Paz, Jaime Sáenz wrote: "Their stores are stores with a mysterious scent, with a blowing of unreality". But at the present time, between old potions are mixed new products that came to revolutionize beliefs and traditions. Everything in two paved streets filled with history that makes a fascinating route.
Perpendicular to Sagárnaga street is the Linares street (that takes its name after president Jose Maria Linares, 13th executive president of Bolivia, who governed between 1857 and 1861), but is more well-known like the Street of the Witches. In a block most of the black and white magic is locked in, more than you can imagine, in addition to the many components of the Bolivian traditions, although some were lost and are no longer so common. There were yatiris who sat in the thresholds of the doors offering to read the luck, in cards, the hand or the coca leaves. This singular and strange street continues being one of the main attractive places in the city.
The healers of the Kallawaya culture ("yatiris" in aymara, originating mainly from the towns of Curva, Chajaya and Charazani) offer all the necessary elements for the different offerings and ceremonies for the Pachamama (earth goddess) and the mystical deities aymaras that are used to honor in the months of May, August and during the Carnivals. The medicinal herbs are sold at the rate of 1 Bolivian (USD 0.10) for a handful and include all the variety found in the plateau. The herbal remedies are used for “cleanings” (of the soul and body), baths of luck or health or simply be used as homeopathic medicines. The rue is indicated for the luck, as well as the Spanish broom or the rosemary. A prescription very advised by the salesmen to move away the bad luck and to clean themselves of negative waves is to add to those three herbs, the plant Saint Mary, then adding hawthorns of all class including anuchapi, make the mixture boil and to bathe with it. This bath can be done Tuesday or Friday during three followed times. The vendors ensure an absolute success. In the shops it is also possible to find roots, solid sulfur and in dust, starfishes, homemade wines, remedies against kidney or liver diseases, anemia, sexual tonics, etc.
The house where the Hostel “La Posada de la Abuela Obdulia” is located dates from 1908 and belongs to the republican time. It was restored between years 2005-2006 and it constitutes part of the heritage neighborhood and architectonic patrimony of La Paz City. The restoration works were made by Doña Blanca Lily Sáenz Luna, as a tribute to the honest work of her mother Doña Obdulia Luna vda. de Alaiza (1915 -), who was a pioneer in impelling the artisan activity in the Linares street. It is in her honor that the Hostel receives its name. Who with her anxious and arduous work in the neighborhood, is recognized by the neighbors as "the grandmother".
Although the stones were changed by paving stones, and the houses of adobe and roofing tile are disappearing, the certain thing is that the streets Sagárnaga and Linares seem to stop in the time and, for that reason, the tourists and Bohemians have made their preferred routes and they look for the air of the old city that the time wants to bury. Jaime Sáenz, Antonio Paredes Candia, Guillermo Bedregal, Humberto Quino, Víctor Hugo Viscarra, described these streets in their stories about the city, and there is no La Paz postcard that can avoid its corners. Sample of the syncretism and transcultural icon that day to day take a walk by their paths, their inhabitants are symbols of the racially mixed spirit of the history of these old neighborhood of Chuquiago.
(1) Of the book "J.B.Sagárnaga Rebel" (Jédu Sagárnaga)
(2) Fragments of the Magazine OH of the Times of Cochabamba, 24 of April 2005, Year VI, Number 309