A Travellerspoint blog

May 2011

Sucre

The white city

sunny 22 °C
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I got to Sucre in Bolivia at the same time when the English/Scottish couple and the Irish couple who I met on my Route 40 adventure in Argentina where there as well. Just like them, many people were taking Spanish courses in Sucre, so that everybody knew each other and the city quite well.
They told me when I got there that everybody ended up staying in Sucre longer than they initially planned. I would not believe it, but this is what happened to me too. I was planning on leaving the city on a Wednesday, but ended up staying till the following Monday. I have to say though that 3 of the extra days were not spent in the city but on a hike in the area (see next post).

Sucre is a good city to just do nothing in, together with other people who are doing nothing. You go out for breakfast, lunch, dinner, a drink or a hot chocolate… You go for a walk around town, to the Mirador, the park, the market…
Sucre

Sucre

Sucre market

Sucre market

Sucre market

Sucre market

Sucre market

Sucre market

Sucre market

Sucre market

The hostel we stayed at organised a barbecue every week. So twice I joined in on the all you can eat meat feast. The meat was delicious, the side dishes too, and sitting in the patio eating together was a great activity for a sunny afternoon.

On Sundays, there is a handicrafts market in the village of Tarabuco which a group of us went to one weekend. They sell many typical colourful goods. Bags, jumpers, jewelry, scarves, tablecloths etc. The things you can buy here are exactly the same as in Chile or Argentina, so unfortunately you know that they are ot handmade by the local people, but at least there they are much cheaper. I bought some things I had been wanting to buy for a while, so I was happy with my shopping.
Tarabuco

Tarabuco

Tarabuco

Tarabuco

For some reason there are a lot of Dutch people in Sucre, both living there and visiting, so that 3 of the most popular bars for travellers are actually owned by Dutch people. This of course gave us a great opportunity to celebrate the Dutch Koninginnedag (Queen’s Day). Two of the bars had big parties on that night and since it was a Saturday as well everybody was out having a good time till late at night (or early in the morning??)

One of the Dutch bars also organised a charity curry dinner and pub quiz while I was there. This was fun too (feeling a little bit like back in England ;-) ) and, although there were some quite difficult Bolivian questions, we came second and won 2 bottles of beer :-)
Pub Quiz

Pub Quiz

I also had an interesting day out with a bunch of children form Sucre. My Scottish friend was in contact with a woman who is working with working children preparing a magazine every month which the children ell on the plaza every weekend. The children wanted to go see a puppet show in a nearby village, so we all contributed to the cost of this and 5 of us went along to meet the children and entertain them while waiting on the puppet player. Although the whole day was quite chaotic, with the bus not coming in the morning due to miscommunication and the puppet player arriving 1 ½ hours late so that the show had to be shortened to 45 minutes, it was a good and interesting day for me. The children are sometimes difficult, but most of them were really nice and keen on getting to know us ‘gringos’.

By the way everybody, don’t forget that you can comment on all my blog posts as well! I would love to get some reactions and hear form you!!

Posted by sarahm_lux 21:14 Archived in Bolivia Tagged bolivia sucre Comments (0)

Finally arrived in Bolivia

Tupiza

sunny 23 °C
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Together with an English guy who I met in Mendoza, in Córdoba and again in Salta and who was going the same way up into Bolivia as I, I started my journey into this next country. Every other traveller who had been to Bolivia had told me how amazing it was. On the other hand, I had heard that it is much more difficult to travel there, it is not as safe and everyone seems to get food poisoning at least once in Bolivia. So I was very excited to get into the country and see what it is really like.

Getting into Bolivia was already difficult. First, the bus we had bought a ticket for the night before arrived without any free seats. It was possible to get on though, if you agreed to stand during the 2-hour bus ride. We decided to board the bus and were lucky enough to be able to sit on the stairs which was not too bad. Then, an hour after we left Humahuaca, the bus suddenly stopped in the middle of the road. Looking out of the front window, I could see what had happened. A large group of indigenous people had created a road block. The protest was about their right to have a say in what is happening to their land. After a while, many people decided to leave the bus and walk into the next village (this meant finally free seats for us!). The rest was getting on and off the bus, waiting for something to happen. Nobody had any idea how long we might get stuck there - 1 hour, 5 hours?? After 1 ½ hours then finally the police arrived and we could proceed with our trip.
When we got to the border in La Quiaca, the road block had caused everybody to arrive at the same time, so that there was a long queue with 2 bus loads of people in front of us. This meant another wait of 2 hours until we finally got our exit stamps. Luckily, the entry procedures into Bolivia were very quick, so that we could finally enter Bolivia around 13:45.
In the queue on the Argentinean side of the border, we had met a French girl who had lived in Potosí for 2 years and now, 2 years later, was back for a visit to Bolivia. The 3 of us set off together to find a cash machine, something to eat and the bus terminal. Paying for my first Bolivian lunch, I could not believe how cheap it was. €1.50 for a piece of roast chicken with chips, noodles and rice!
My first Bolivian bus was not too bad. I had sufficient space and the seat was quite comfortable. The road was bad in parts and we kept driving very close to the edge of the mountains, but we got to Tupiza just fine. After checking into the hotel (there are not many real hostels in Bolivia), we booked a jeep and horse riding tour for the next day and then went out to eat some Bolivian food and try some Bolivian beer. Both cheap and really good!

The next day, the jeep tour took us through all the surrounding area. We saw amazing rock formations and very beautiful landscapes.
Triathlon Tour

Triathlon Tour

Triathlon Tour

Triathlon Tour

Triathlon Tour

Triathlon Tour

Triathlon Tour

Triathlon Tour


After a walk to some more impressive rocks and a really nice and big lunch, we started the horse riding. We felt like in a Western, riding our horses through Wild West-style landscapes in the heat of the afternoon. The views were amazing and we were a bit disappointed when the horse riding only lasted 2 hours instead of the promised 3. However, it was probably good this way, since our legs and knees would have been even sorer otherwise.
Triathlon Tour

Triathlon Tour

Triathlon Tour

Triathlon Tour

The next day I had a look around the town. There are many indigenous people there in their traditional clothes and people sell all types of foods and all kinds of other things in the market. Tupiza was a big change from the very European Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Chile and it finally felt like I arrived in the ‘real’ South America.

Posted by sarahm_lux 14:01 Archived in Bolivia Tagged tupiza Comments (0)

Salta and the North of Argentina

sunny 25 °C
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After Córdoba, I was happy to arrive in Salta. It is still quite a big city, but much quieter than busy Córdoba. I had a really good time in Salta, seeing the city and its museums, meeting nice people at the hostel and meeting up with some people I knew from other places , going out at night - we went to a peña (a traditional Northern Argentinean bar where Andean dances and music are performed), heard an amazing cover band, went to a couple of bars and went dancing in a club on Saturday night - and having a lazy Sunday at the hostel.
Plaza 9 de Julio

Plaza 9 de Julio

Salta

Salta

Iglesia San Francisco

Iglesia San Francisco

Night out in Salta

Night out in Salta


Salta is also the main starting point to see the North of Argentina with its beautiful landscapes. Tours take you to Cachi, Cafayate, the Salinas Grandes, Humahuaca and many other places.
I started off with the tour to Cachi. On the way to this small town South of Salta, we passed through the Quebrada De Escoipe, drive up the Cuesta Del Obispo to the Piedra Del Molino, at an altitude of 3457m. When we arrived in Cachi, we had lunch at a very nice local restaurant where I tried the cabrito, baby goat, which was delicious. I also had ma first try of coca tea, which tastes a lot like green tea. The town is very small and quiet, but very nice to spend a couple of hours in on a sunny afternoon and buy some local products. On the way back we made a stop in the Parque Nacional Los Cardones, where we found ourselves in the middle of a massive field full of huge cacti.
Cachi Tour

Cachi Tour

Cuesta del Obispo

Cuesta del Obispo

At the Piedra del Molino

At the Piedra del Molino

Cachi Tour

Cachi Tour

Nevado de Cachi

Nevado de Cachi

Cachi

Cachi

Parque Nacional Los Cardones

Parque Nacional Los Cardones


The next day I took the following tour, the one to Cafayate. On this tour we passed through the Quebrada de las Conchas, visited the Garganta del Diablo and the Anfiteatro, admired many unique rock formations such as Los Castillos. Around Cafayate is also located an important wine region, so we went to 2 bodegas to do some wine tasting. In Cafayate, we had lunch, walked around the plaza looking at the Artesanías and I finally bought myself a mate. Un fortunately, there was nothing new to see on the drive back from Cafayate to Salta so that the ride in the small car with 5 people seemed very long and we were happy when we arrived back in the city.
Cafayate Tour

Cafayate Tour

Garganta del Diablo

Garganta del Diablo

Anfiteatro

Anfiteatro

Cafayate Tour

Cafayate Tour

Cafayate Tour

Cafayate Tour


After (quite a lazy) a weekend spent in Salta, I then took the last one of my tours, the one up North to Humahuaca. More amazing landscapes could be admired here. We drove through the Yungas, a forest growing along the slope of the mountains, saw the fascinating 7 coloured rocks around Purmamarca, visited the ruins of a pre-Inca fortress in Tilcara and stopped in the small and very traditional towns of Purmamarca, Tilcara and Uquia.
The Yungas

The Yungas

7 coloured rocks

7 coloured rocks

Purmamarca

Purmamarca

Me and a llama in Purmamarca

Me and a llama in Purmamarca

Humahuaca Tour

Humahuaca Tour

Humahuaca Tour

Humahuaca Tour

Pucará de Tilcara - pre-Inca fortification

Pucará de Tilcara - pre-Inca fortification

On the Tropic of Capricorn

On the Tropic of Capricorn

Uquia

Uquia


In Humahuaca, our group went for lunch and we ate llama with mustard sauce - very tasty! I then did not drive back to Salta with the tour group, but stayed in Humahuaca for the night to take the bus to the Bolivian border from there the next morning.

Posted by sarahm_lux 08:43 Archived in Argentina Tagged salta cachi tilcara cafayate humahuaca uquia purmamarca Comments (4)

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