After the Salt Flat tour we got straight on a bus and headed for Potosi, one of the planets highest cities (at 4 067m). The taxi drive to the hostel was one of the most hectic drives I’ve been a part of. The controlled chaos that is Bolivian roadways is something of a marvel. It’s like an exotic dance that would take years to master. Fortunately we made it in one piece to our hostel The Koala Den, recommended to us by some friends who were a couple days ahead of us on their way north.
Potosi was a cool city and famous for its silver mines, Becca and I opted to miss the mines as the one in Calama was cool and the altitude was really kicking our butts. We ended up spending 2 nights in Potosi mainly walking around and checking out the local markets. It’s a nice city but we were excited to get moving and got on a bus to Sucre where we met a great couple from Ireland.
Sucre is definitely one of the busier cities we’d visited in a while and the smog was playing havoc with our lungs. Once you get used to the wild pollution its a very nice city. We got dinner with our new Irish friends at a restaurant called Joyride where we tried a Bolivian delicacy Pique Macho which is essentially poutine plus hotdogs, hard boiled eggs and hot peppers. So naturally it was delicious. We had signed up for our Spanish lessons right as we arrived in the city with a company called Me Gusta Spanish, it was 2 blocks from our hostel so that was handy. The lessons were bueno (see, we learned), our instructor was a young university student who had a great sense of humour and really helped us get our heads around the basics of Spanish so now we can only improve!
Sucre also has an amazing market where they sell everything from fresh juices (there were 20 stands in a row) to every piece of a cow you’d ever need. We went to the market everyday for fresh fruit or something, it was just so cool to walk through and check out the Bolivian food. One night in our hostel our roomie Vlad (who we’d met in Potosi) brought in a Chirimoya (or custard apple, as we later learned), its a strange fruit but so sweet and filling. So the next day Becca and I bought a Maracuya which we learned is also known as a passion fruit. So tart but also quite delicious, our Spanish teacher used it as a punishment if we got a conjugation wrong.
After 4 nights in Sucre our lessons were over and we were at the bus station at 7:30 prepped to get on our over night 11 hour bus to La Paz. It would turn out we were too excited and accidentally got on the wrong bus that was leaving earlier than ours… classic mistake. With our butts in the right seats we set off on what would become on of the longer nights of the trip as I could not fall asleep. Maybe it was the fact we were in the front row of a double decker that was hurtling through pitch darkness on skinny roads. At least Becca slept.