After a couple of days constantly feeling cold, we went on a hunt for the warmer weather of the lowlands to Bolivia’s judicial capital, Sucre. Apart from being described as Bolivia’s most beautiful city, it was also where our friend from Igazu ( Carla) had been based for a while learning Spanish (something quite common on the backpacker trial since its so much cheaper than anywhere else in South America). Given that we had been trying to track her down across the whole of Patagonia, we were quite excited to finally be in the same place again, especially being so close to Christmas.
The scenery down from Potosi was pretty spectacular, however when first entering the suburbs of the city, we were surprised to discover what a shit hole of a metropolis it was. Every other building seemed to be a building site that hasn’t seen a builder for a couple of years; reminiscent of the property boom and bust recently experienced in Spain.
Thankfully the historic centre of town did live up to it’s Unesco cultural heritage status, with an area about the size of the ‘square mile’ at the base of the valley surrounded by countless rolling hill tops jam-packed with beautiful white wash colonial buildings and meticulously manicured palm tree-lined squares, feeling more like Florence than the poorest country in South America. The European feeling also transcended into the local people with some of the first interracial couples we had seen in Bolivia and many women adopting a more European fashion sense.
Our idyllic hostel ( Wasi Masi) with it’s tranquil inner courtyard and afternoon BBQ simply added to the whole experience.
Given that the majority of the travellers at the hostel had been there for some time learning Spanish, there was a lovely homely feeling to the hostel with people having forged stronger friendships with each other than the usual superficial day friendships that are so common when travelling; where you wouldn’t quite remember their name and wouldn’t ever communicate anything beyond each others travel plans.
This particular weekend was also a local election weekend which meant that no alcohol is allowed to be sold or consumed! Particularly on election day which is a public holiday. Voting is compulsory for every Bolivian with a strict custodial sentence for anyone who doesn’t ( although like most things I’m Bolivia, I am sure you could pay your way out of it).
Thankfully it was ok for Gringos to drink provided it was in private which made for a very boozy couple of days at the hostel playing countless games of card game, ‘shit-head’, with Andre managing to be the shit-head every time 🙂
This was definitely one of theses places you could get stuck in for a very long time, and we so very nearly did given that Christmas was only a week away. After spending the entire weekend painfully constantly changing our minds and trying to agree on the next leg of the trip; made even harder now that we had somehow become a threesome. We eventually decided to stick with our original plan and move on up North to spend Christmas in the Jungle…sadly Carla decided to work in an animal refuge instead which was a little sad but after 4 days in the same place we were quite looking forward to be on the move again actually travelling.