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Published: October 7th 2016
The bus ride from Uyuni to Potosi traversed some dramatic mountainous countryside as we continued our journey north through the Andes. There were a few close calls with Vicuna and llama which slowed the journey a little, about an hour out of Potosi a salesman got on the bus and delivered his pitch to a captive audience, he went on and on about the benefits of what ever snake oil he was selling.
On arrival in Potosi we hopped in a cab to our hotel high in the old town, travel in Bolivia is very cheap compared to Chile, so the two dollar cab fare was a welcome surprise. Potosi has a world heritage listed old town with a strong Spanish flavour, this is not surprising considering the tonnes of silver dug out of the mountains surrounding the town. Potosi was the world's richest and largest cities during the 16 and 1700s and boasted 10 convents and 32 churches at its height. The town still contains lovely period architecture including some lovely churches and the buildings surrounding the main plaza.
One of the most impressive was museum which was once the mint, the mint was active between the 1730s
and 1951 and produced coinage for many nations. The museum is well maintained and certainly worth a visit. When we exited the museum it was raining after the dust it was nice to have the rain freshen things up.
We have been living at altitude for about a week and although the headaches are residing I still get an occasional blood nose and shortness of breath. I also can not seem to shake that awful cold which seems to makebthe sickness worse.
After breakfast we called a cab to take us to Sucre our next destination the trip was far faster an more comfortable than a bus so for $40 we decided that was a bargain, fast door to door service and no bus stations.
The main differences for this section of the journey were the increase in domestic farm animals familuar to us and the disappearance of native herds and the significant greening of the mountains as we left the deserts behind. Sucre is one of Boivia's capitals and was founded in the mid 1500s, the city contains a large old town of narrow streets and lovely traditional Spanish architecture. Ruth and I walked around admiring
this as there was not much else open on a Sunday afternoon. I did locate an adaptor in a market but I was not impressed by the rudeness of the bowler clad Cholita proprietor.
Next morning it was time to visit some of the cities museums including the Anthropological Museum and the Museum of Indigenous Art both of which were interesting, if a little small. We then took a cab out to Parque Cretacico to see dinosaur foot prints but it was closed, we took a few pictures through the fence before looking for a way home. We boarded the number 4 bus mixing with the locals as we traversed the city I don't think they see to many foreigners on their micros and we enjoyed talking with them.
We disembarked near the Central Market just as the skies burst, making a run for the first open doorway which turned out to be an icecream parlour, over lemon icecream we watched a huge storm roll over the city, thunder, lightening and heavy rain pounded down for more than 40 minutes. We then went to a bar for a few mojitos, beers, wines and nachos to line our stomachs.
Next morning after breakfast we hopped in a cab for the "short" trip to the airport, which took more than 40 minutes. It seems they had built a new airport that we were unaware of, much further out and for a time we thought we might miss our flight. An hour later we arrived in La Paz, a city like no other I have seen, it is spread out over a series of mountainsides and to be honest is quite ugly. We stayed in a reasonably nice and safe area of the city although we heard gunfire on a number of occasions.
We walked around the main tourist area stopping at an English pub for vegetarian breakfast before wandering down the artesania alley to nose around the souvenir shops. Next morning we visited Tiwanaku, Bolivia's premier Inca ruins, it took us several hours to get there due to dense traffic and poor roads. I love archaeological sites and this one was certainly no disappointment. The temples, pyramid and carved statues were highlights as was the fantastic ceramic museum.
This morning we checked out at 630am and began the 4 and a half hour 95 km trip to
lakeside Copacabana. La Paz is structurally ugly yes but it is the garbage lining every road that really disappoints, due to road work we were forced to travel through some of the cities newer uglier suburbs even crossing a few river beds before finally arriving at the lakeside ferry town of San Pedro De Tiquina where the bus was loaded onto a wooden ferry and transported across a narrow section of Lake Titicaca.
We arrived in Copacabana around 1130am which gave Ruth and I time for lunch before our trip out to the Isla del Sol a large island located in the Bolivian section of the lake. We visited Inca ruins at Pilton Kaina and the village of Yumani before reboarding our boat for Copacabana in mid afternoon. Worth the effort if you are passing by.
At 5pm we walked across the Peruvian border into the third country of our journey.
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