The next city, I travelled to was Sucre in the South of Bolivia nad known by the locals as the white city. It was a very picturesque city, well-worth the visit with not too much to do but lovely views. The city is on many levels with many steep walks and street overlooking the white buildings and mountains in the distant.
One the bus, the locals had thick blankets and those with children would squash into one seat. However, one thing that surprised me was that there were people standing up. I thought maybe they were getting off on the way but they didn’t; some laid on the floor whilst others stood up for the whole journey. 12 hours on the bumpy road and on their feet. Insane!
The first part, I just practised my Spanish on my phone until we had a rest break 2 hours in. There was food to purchase but I didn’t feel hungry. I went to the basic, slightly unhygienic toilets with holes in the doors, where I could buy toilet paper from a little boy.
Back on the bus, I got comfy, listened to music and fell asleep. I know I can sleep anywhere so I wasn’t worried. I spoke to the only other foreigner on the bus, who was extremely anxious about the journey. The reports were right as it was a bumpy, windy road but not as bad as they made out. I could see the scenery a little, which looked beautiful of mountains. I slept for about 7 hours, waking up a few times when the road got really rocky. In the middle of the night, it actually got quite cold, where I added another layer and covered myself with my towel. I now know why the locals took a thick blanket.
In the morning, around seven, we arrived at the bus terminal which didn’t really feel like a terminal structure but an abandoned building. Outside, I managed to get a taxi to my hostel, which was more in the centre by a large park. I checked into the hostel, where the guys just spoke Spanish at me but I did kind of understand what he was saying. I placed my bags in my room and sat in the courtyard area sorting out the next part of my adventure.
When it was a decent time to go out, I started to explore Sucre. I walked around Plaza Aniceto Acre, which was a pretty park, still with Christmas lights and a small metal Eiffel Tower. There were many locals sitting in the park with juice stands, where ladies were freshly squeezing orange, and an area where children were riding little cars around. I watched them with a cup of orange juice. The sun was shining and it felt so peaceful.
Next, I walked up the straight, picturesque streets of white building filled with shops, restaurants, hotels, museums and churches to the main square. I decided to carry on for a few kilometre on the gradual steep road until I reached a good view point. I could see mountains, which were a mixture of reds, greys melting into each other, in the distance with houses flowing down the hills closer by. It was such a beautiful town.
I headed back to the centre in search of food as I was feeling hungry. There wasn’t too many restaurants around and if there was, I was finding it hard to make a decision. I ended up coming across the central market filled with fruit, vegetables, meat and little food outlets. I tried to read the menus on the sign. I chose Sopa de Mani, which I thought would be a peanut soup but it ended up being a soup with some vegetables and a chuck of meat. I avoided the meat but ate the rest. After, I wandered the outskirts to find some more views and to get away from the busyness.
Later afternoon, I went back to the hostel, where I had a siesta and wrote my blog. Then I started to think about dinner so ask the man at reception where the nearest supermarket was. It was back near the centre, which was slightly annoying as I had walked passed it without realising. Anyway, I purchased some food there for dinner and the next day. On the way back, I bought some traditional south American buns, which are doughy and tasty cheesy. They are so delici/oso.
At the hostel, I cooked tomato pasta with vegetables, eggs and cheese. The queso in Bolivia is very similar to feta but less crumbly. I spoke to some people at the hostel including a lady from Brunei and a few girls from Argentina. After, I chilled in my room before falling asleep.
Waking up to my alarm, I arose, had a shower and packed my bag. I had booked a tour to Siete Cascadas (7 waterfalls) with hostel the day before. Once I had breakfast, I met the others that were doing the same tour in the reception area: four from Argentina and two from Switzerland plus our guide.
We caught a local minivan through the town, moving at snails pace, up through same little villages to the start of the hike. For most of the journey, the guide spoke to me, where I found out a little bit more about Bolivian culture. The view from the top of all the mountains and valleys were incredible. We walked and talked, going down hill towards the waterfalls. On the way, these little kids from nowhere, ran at up with water, throwing cups and bucket of water. My back got soaked but it was a hot, sunny day so I didn’t mind.
We had to climb over rocks and rivers but unfortunately because of the time of year, there wasn’t much water pouring out. We only got to the fourth waterfall as it was too difficult to climb. It would have been like rock climbing with our bodies close to the rock, high of the ground, trying to find hand and foot holes.
We sat by the small pool of water, taking photos and chilling in the blazing hot sun. The water was freezing so none of us took swim. Even though the waterfall wasn’t anything spectacular, the view from the hike was amazing.
Dark cloud floated in sight so we decided to hike back up the mountain to the minibus stop. The walk was more difficult than expected, with me grasping for air, mainly because I’m unfit and also due to the altitude. I needed to get use to the altitude as it was only going to get higher.
Back at the hostel, I waited for the reception area to be opened so I could collect my bag. Then with my backpack on my back, I hailed down a taxi, negotiated a price, and took me to the bus terminal. As soon as I got out of the taxi, many ladies were shouting ‘Potosi’, where I bought a ticket from them for 20 Bolivianos (£2.50). A boy rushed me through the station to buy a terminal bus ticket and hurried me onto the bus. Once I had sat down in my allocated seat, the bus moved off. From the hostel to the bus was a bit of a whirlwind.