Hiking & Inca Ruins of Samaipata & Amazing Sucre

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April 19th 2015
Published: April 19th 2015
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So here I sit in Sucre and it is raining. To be honest it is one of the few days it has rained in the last few weeks so I am not complaining. It also provides me the opportunity to update my blog with what has happened in the last few weeks.

After I was forced to have a rest in Santa Cruz, because of some serious health issues, I tried to make the best out of it - to simply rest. I had my own tent, which I called “the hospital” then, and all what I did was pretty much sleep, read and watch some movies. After about a week I ventured out into the city and explored it a bit. To be honest there wasn’t really much to see. The main square was pretty nice and a few museums where there to explore. I have met through Thomas, the hostel owner, another German that has set up shop on Santa Cruz. Sven was so kind to show me and a Norwegian fellow, the city on Saturday and some spots that normal tourists don’t go such as the party area on the river. When we were there no party happened much to the dismay of the Norwegian guy who was in town for month to party, meet woman and indulge in some of the Bolivian natural and not so natural narcotics. As a decent human being this is no my cup of tea, but each to their own.

On Sunday it was time to move on as I was restless and in my opinion I was ready to conquer the world again. So I took a bus to Samaipata, a town 3 hours from Santa Cruz and on the way to Sucre. Thomas has recommended its location as it is famous for the Inca ruins and a fern tree forest in the clouds. After arriving in Samaipata I checked my stuff into the hostel and started to explore the town. Thomas was right, it was pretty spot and not large at all. The only annoying thing was it was full of hippies that thought that their alternative life style has to be shared by everybody around. Since it was Sunday the town was pretty dead and not much was there to do. So an early night for myself.

The next Morning I took a taxi to the ancient Inca ruins of El Fuerte de Samaipata. The location of the ruins is about 10km away and I thought that I would drive up and walk back. Once at the ruins I got myself a guide that explained to me what the ruins were all about and I really enjoyed her explanations. When I was younger I always had to save money and never got guides which I regretted a lot as I never received the whole story about places. So now a bit older and have a little money I try to attain as much information as possible.

There is not much known about the El Fuerte de Samaipata ruins as it is general the case with Inca culture. They never wrote anything down and the only things we know about them is from the Spanish. They were not really interested in their culture, but only in their gold and to visciously convert them to Jew-Christianity.

The El Fuerte de Samaipata ruins were known in the Inca times as the mountain of gold and it is said that the whole mountain glittered in gold. The Incas, and before them the Amazon Indian tribe Chane, carved into the mountain, animals like jaguars and pumas as seats, symbols, etc. Why they did it at that location and how long it took them is anybody’s guess. There are several theories like the one that the Incas liked to look at the stars and not to look up all the time they filled the carved areas with water and looked at the reflections of the stars. Erich von Daeniken, a German-Swiss author, wrote several books about alien influence on earth and when I was in South America in 1982 I read his book Chariots of the Gods which impressed me a lot. When you are at the Inca ruins you have to ask yourself the question how the heck they build these amazing structures. After strolling around the ruins for a couple of hour it was off to see some nature so I went to a national park for a hike. The hike was not a long one and the waterfalls on the way were pretty cool as well.

For the next day I had booked a 7 hour trekking tour in the Amboro national park that included a visit to a fern tree forest in the clouds. In the clouds I guess as it was in 2000 meter altitude and covered in clouds. So after an hour drive we arrived in the national park and started the hike. Now if you think that it is easy to walk in this area you are totally mistaken. The path was slippery as hell, it went up and down, over tree trunks and under them, then throughout steep hills and rocky slides.Overall very demanding but of remarkable enjoyment. The legs and lungs hurt, but the views were spectacular and just being in nature like this is worth every minute. Just listening to the animals, the wind that drives the clouds over the cliffs, feeling the clouds on your face and watching the forest from the top of the mountain – Priceless.

Following an amazing day hiking it was time to move on to Sucre. To catch the bus from Samaipata to Sucre one has to go to the Samaipata toll station and wait for the bus. I arrived at the station at 7pm and only had to wait for an hour to catch a typical Bolivian bus. The thing was about to fall apart, but it moved so all was good. After a 12 hour ride I arrived in Sucre alive and in one piece.

Now Sucre is the official capital of Bolivia and I have to admit if I would have been asked what the capital was I would have said La Paz. Sucre is situated about 2800 meter high and it was the place where the Bolivian state was founded. It is a pretty nice town with lots of churches and buildings in the Spanish style. Sucre was founded in 1538 and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and once you visit the place you know why. The town kept a lot of its historical buildings and I must say they look after them pretty well. All are whitewashed and it is a real pleasure to walk through the town. The markets are very colourful and the Bolivian Indians dominate the streets. The woman are all dressed in colourful dresses and carry everything on their backs. And each tribe wears a different hat so they know who they belong to, like a uniform. Distinctive and impressive!Children are everywhere; I guess since it is pretty cold at night the boys and girls keep themselves warm with some activities.

Since I have arrived I not only explored the town, but went to most of the museums here. They have a lot of them here. I also went to the Cal Orck’o Cliff where you can see over 5000 footprints from different dinosaurs. The footprint are on a 70% vertical wall and if you wonder how the hell did the dinosaurs walk up that wall you have to understand that these footprints are 65 million years old and in that time the terrain has changed enormously. So once flat areas are now mountains and what once was a lake is now desert. The wonders of nature and this world.

So here I am enjoying this wonderful town. It is rather steep here and to reach some points you have to walk up some very steep streets. So I am getting a good work out and I am also acclimatising myself to the altitude. I am currently at around 3000 meters and the place I will go next, Potosi, lies around 4000 meters. So getting used to the altitude is important as the air is getting thinner and thinner. I am looking forward to Potosi as it is a mining town and one can go into a working mine and see how the miners work there. I know it is a bit of a human zoo experience, but these miners work there and that is reality. I want to see for myself how it is. Just my curiosity and yes I know it killed the cat.

Note: The only annoying thing here are the hordes of European, American and Australian volunteers; they really shit me. They think that they are in their own words “so cool”. I overheard a conversation from some Germans that work in an orphanage. Mind you they are there from 9 to 12 in the morning and the rest is free time. When you listen to them you have to ask yourself if they are here to help the kids or to brag to their friends what good people they are. Do-gooders opiate perhaps? One girl said that the children are so cute that she wishes they never grow up and she wants to take one home. Grrrrrrr…

Anyway, my next update will come soon. I hope you enjoyed this one and as usual leave comments.

Take care wherever you are and why not do something different today to what you normally do? I promise you it will not hurt you and you might enjoy breaking the monotony. Why not even challenge authority and practice a bit of civil disobedience?

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21st April 2015

The universe is talking to you
You were really sick so don't push it. You may want to move at a more relaxed pace for a couple of weeks. I imagine your body still needs some rest. It is strange when you travel and run into people who seem to be stuck in a period of time to hang out and get high or party all the time. Nothing wrong with that if that is what they want but it seems as if they are missing all the stuff that is around them. So much history and amazing ruins. Sounds like great hiking. We hope our path cross one day.
22nd April 2015

So true...
... what you say about fellow travelers. I was in backpacker hostels where I saw people just staying there and leave to get food or at night to the nightclubs. Here in Bolivia you have a lot of people just coming here for the coke. Well each to their own. I rather get high on the adrenaline and wonderful sights. My health is OK and I am dealing better with it than I thought. I am now at 4000 meter altitude and I am doing OK. Take care and thank you for following me. I hope you are getting something out of my reports.....
5th January 2016

You are always wellcome back! I hope we don´t loose the contact. Swen

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