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Published: September 4th 2013
A 36 hour bus ride........... ouch! I started to forget what the outside world was like. We arrived in a place called Jujuy, said ´who who-ey´, a small town in Northern Argentina. It was pretty much non-descript, but we decided to mix it with the locals and ended up eating some really good food there. Very much needed after the bus journey. After a night in Jujuy it was another bus journey, only a 6 hour one this time..... piece of cake. Our eyes were on a new country. It was sad to be leaving Argentina as we´ve seen so much, but we were looking forward to arriving in this new country..... Bolivia!
It was early afternoon when we arrived at a little border town called La Quiaca. The first thing I noticed is how hot and dusty it was. Very different to the colder climates we´d just come from. Our next mission, to find the border crossing. After wandering for a little while, hoping we´d just fall upon border crossing, also bearing in mind we had our heavy backpacks on us, the weather was very hot and the altitude was making every step an effort, we needed a plan.
Que the Spanish lessons, the only problem being we didn´t know how to say ´border crossing´in Spanish. But Jen took the bull by the horns, asked the first guy we saw "¿Donde Esta.... Bolivia?" (with a little animated shrug), which did the trick and the next moment we were on our way to the crossing.
Our first unsupervised border crossing, exciting in it´s own way, especially going into a country like Bolivia. After a little trepidation we got through very quickly, a little too quickly if you ask me. After marching about 100 meters in Bolivia, breathing heavy from the heavy bags and high altitude, it suddenly dawned on us..... we were stamped out of Argentina but we were never stamped into Bolivia! Back to the border crossing we went and after lots of laughing, mainly by the border guards, we got our stamp. From then, we knew we were going to have an interesting time in Bolivia.
After 2 bus rides, a short stop in Jujuy, a dodgy border crossing and a shared taxi (7 people squeezed into a very small people carrier), we finally made it to Tupiza. This is proper travelling.
Now what you
think may be a derogatory term used towards Bolivia, it literally was cowboy country. You can imagine the sets of old spagetti westerns being films here, this part of the country is beautiful. That´s why we decided to do some horse trekking, a 7 hour trek around the local area. It started off well, but after a while our fellow trekkers decided that galloping would be fun.... once one horse goes, they all go! I´d say 80% of the trip was enjoying beautiful scenery from the back on a horse, 20% was hanging on for dear life. I thought it was pretty hair raising but I don´t think Jen will be getting back on a horse anytime soon. Butch cassidy has nothing to worry about. Overall the trek was great, riding through rivers, deep gorges, down dry river beds you got a good sense of how tough it would have been when horses were relied on, and that´s not just because my arse was killing.
Tupiza was a lovely little town, dwarfed by some surrounding hills, really friendly people and the local food was great. Again, mixing it with the locals is a must when it comes to where
to eat. They know best.
From here we booked our 4 day tour to the salt flat, ´yehar´ and here we go!
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