Blogs from Potosi, Potosí Department, Bolivia, South America

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South America » Bolivia » Potosí Department » Potosi June 29th 2015

Hello Friends, Today we started the Silver Mine tour at 9am, after a good breakfast of scrambled eggs and cereal. We had the opportunity to witness working conditions in one of the cooperative silver and zinc mines, the conditions are among the most grueling imaginable. We had plenty of guide books telling travellers not to underestimate the dangers involved in going into the mines and to consider the voyeuristic factor involved in seeing other people’s suffering. It definitely was at our own risks, and there were plenty of dangers with the stability of the mines, which had me terrified during most of the tour. Although we didn’t feel like we were prying on the workers, the miners are proud of their work in such tough conditions and generally happy for visitors to observe their toil. We ... read more
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South America » Bolivia » Potosí Department » Potosi June 28th 2015

Hello People, Today we had nothing planned, and as it was a Sunday there wasn’t anything open for us to do anyway. We did have a walk around Potosi however, to discover there really isn’t much here! I wrote up a cover letter for P&O to apply to the Tours and Excursions department because Neil has been offered Arcadia from October. There is not a youth department onboard, so I’m going to see if I can work onboard Arcadia in the tours department instead. It could be a long shot to actually get the job and then specifying only for Arcadia. Who knows what the future holds. All I know is that I don’t want to be apart from him for 3 months, and I don’t particularly want to be an unemployed travel partner...but a world ... read more
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South America » Bolivia » Potosí Department » Potosi December 12th 2014

Nous réservons donc un tour dans les mines auprès de notre auberge. Le départ se fait le lendemain matin. On commence par s'équiper : bottes, pantalons, veste, foulard, casque et grosse lampe frontale. Avant de sortir de Potosi, un petit tour par le marché des mineurs. La coutume veut que l'on offre des cadeaux aux mineurs qui nous laissent visiter leurs galeries pendant leurs heures de travail. On peut leur acheter des feuilles de coca, de l'alcool pur, des jus de fruits (à mélanger avec l'alcool), des cigarettes artisanales et même de la dynamite. On se dirige ensuite vers le Cerro Rico (le "Mont Riche") avec Orlando, notre guide. Les mines étant considérées comme l'enfer, Orlando commence par nous présenter le Tio, autrement dit le diable. Nous lui faisons quelques offrandes, comme des cigarettes ou de ... read more
Mineurs au travail
Apero en enfer
On se fume un pétard

South America » Bolivia » Potosí Department » Potosi November 25th 2014

24 novembre 2014 - Jour 38 Ce matin, départ pour Potosi. En sortant de l'hôtel, on fait signe à un taxi et là, surprise, une femme au volant! C'est bien la première fois qu'on voit une femme conduire un taxi. On papote un peu avec elle et elle nous confirme que la profession n'a pas un grand succès auprès des femmes, elles ne sont que 5 dans la ville à avoir leur licence! On discute un peu de tout et dans la conversation elle nous apprend qu'il n'est pas rare ici que les gens aient des enfants à 15 ans! La vache, on avait croisé quelques filles avec des bébés mais on pensait que c'était leur petit frère ou soeur. On prend notre bus pour Potosi, 3h de trajet. On est pas très confiants dans ce ... read more
Boum!
Entrée de la mine
200kg de gravats

South America » Bolivia » Potosí Department » Potosi June 8th 2014

soviel hab ich bereits darüber gelesen und jetzt, endlich, erleben wir es hautnah!… wir verlassen tupiza in richtung sucre, mit nächtigung in potosí, um den möglichen gefahren des direkten nachtbusses zu entrinnen. wir besteigen also unseren sehr schönen bus (für bolivianische verhältnisse!) und umgehend baut ein, zuerst als gealterter hippie abgetaner, bolivianer sein kleines microphon aus und beginnt. nicht etwa zu singen, sondern sein “wundermittel” anzupreisen. volle eineinhalb stunden wird der gesamte bus von den wunderingredienzen ginseng, knoblauch, quinoa und banane zu überzeugen versucht. ein spannendes beispiel des viel verbreiteten südamerikanischen (aber)glaubens. das wundermittel heilt alles! potenzstörungen, diabetes, übergewicht, gelenkschmerzen und natürlich auch frühzeitigen samenerguss! das ist nicht erfunden, ich bin nur stolz, d... read more
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bolivien-omi
marktstimmung

South America » Bolivia » Potosí Department » Potosi June 8th 2014

Back in Bolivia. I was last here on the cusp of 20, almost 7 years ago. It marked the start of my twenties and a decade defined by travel. Peru and Bolivia in the summer of 2007 was my first big trip away from home. It was chiefly meant to be volunteering in orphanages and adolescent prisons in Peru with a few others from university, but I was forever restless. I became disenchanted about the good we were actually doing and spent every free minute pouring over maps and guidebooks working out where we could explore in our time off. With two friends, I visited Lake Titikaka, the death road, the salt flats, the pampas and had some fun times in La Paz. It was however, during the final week of my trip travelling back to ... read more
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South America » Bolivia » Potosí Department » Potosi April 29th 2014

Set high, amidst pock-marked mined mountains at 4,100m, Potosi has a faded, drained air. It's glory days are long gone, and while remnants of beauty remain, the flesh has clearly been picked from it's bones. Twenty-three kilometers, 30 minutes, and another world away, lies the rich fertile valley and hacienda of Cayara; the oldest country estate in the continent of South America. Titles were granted to Don Juan Pedrones – one of the original conquistadores – in 1575. Arturo, the present owner, still has them 'somewhere', along with the breast plate of Don Juan's armour. At Cayara, time has only increased the bounty of treasure, each family and generation adding to a melting pot of history and culture, until boundaries become so bent out of shape they cease to exist; countries, personal stories, and world history ... read more

South America » Bolivia » Potosí Department » Potosi April 23rd 2014

Days 63-64 Today was a 4 hour trip to Potosi by local bus for a two day stay at a hostel built in 1792. The trip was a constant climb of nearly 1400 mtrs over a 150 km's as Potosi is the highest city of its kind in the world (nearly 4100 mtrs). The country was mostly arid following a huge dry river bed but which must be huge during the wet season as all the bridges along the way cover the whole width of the river. On entering the outskirts of Potosi it was just like all the other towns & cities we have stayed at along the way of our whole trip, (ie intensely poor people, ramshackle & decrepit housing, litter strewn everywhere & wandering mangy dogs) & our thoughts began to wonder why ... read more
Mint Gate
Mint Courtyard
Original coin stamping machine

South America » Bolivia » Potosí Department » Potosi September 27th 2013

Dès le lendemain de notre arrivée à Potosi, c'est équipés de la tête aux pieds que nous partons aux mines de Potosi. Premier arrêt au marché où le guide nous explique ce que les mineurs consomment : feuilles de coca pour couper la faim, gros cigares, dynamites et alcool à 96° ! Nous profitons de l'occaz pour goûter aux salteñas, petits chaussons fourrés de viande et de légumes, délicieux ! Arrivés à la mine, nous pénétrons dans un passage déjà étroit et qui ne fera que rétrécir. A la fin d'un conduit, nous faisons une pause à côté d'une sculpture du diable. Les mineurs lui font des offrandes afin d'éviter des éboulements dans les galeries. Nous rencontrons ensuite des hommes en plein travail avec qui nous nous asseyons longuement en buvant des coups. Nous en apprenons ... read more

South America » Bolivia » Potosí Department » Potosi July 26th 2013

It’s 4 weeks until we leave Bolivia after 10 years here. Our final official Latin Link activity is the Team retreat. Andrea being a professional retreat leader has been asked to lead the 2 day retreat. She’s chosen the title “The art of letting go” which is fitting for us. So the past few weeks have seen Andrea spending many hours writing the material. We’ve decided we’d like to visit some friends (Walter, Adela, Brisa and Cielo) who live in Tarija and we’ll take in Concepción and Santa Cruz whilst we’re at it. Today Wednesday we’re up at 5:30am. It’s cold in Cochabamba this morning and making the porridge the milk seems off. I open another bag of milk and that’s off too, so give up on the porridge. We’ve run out of tea bags too ... read more
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