Although Bolivian buses leave a lot to be desired, some of the bus trips are truly spectacular and the short 3hr trip from Potosi to Sucre was no exception. When I say it took three hours it was actually more like two hours of driving and 1 hour of getting out of the bus terminal.
Not only was there a constant stream of people stopping the bus to jump on but we had people coming on to offer us food, children coming on to sing us songs for a boliviano and an official coming on about three different occasions to make sure that everyone had paid their 2.50 exit fee to the bus station.
All that aside it was truly spectacular scenery on the way down to Sucre as we descended from over 4000m to around 2500m. The mountains, the countryside, the sheer drops and the farms are all fantastic to watch as you drive along.
The first thing we noticed when we arrived in the outskirts of Sucre is that all the houses seem to be about 3/4 finished. There is a lot of exposed brickwork and often it looks like an extra story is about to be built on top. It makes for a very ramshackle look and the reason behind it is that in Bolivia you have to pay a tax once you have finished building your house so as a result no one does! Surprise surprise.
The center of Sucre itself is absolutely beautiful and all built in the 1500s to 1600s and most of it painted white. We were once again extremely lucky with our hostel and got upgraded to an apartment and soon realised we were a stones throw away from all the action.
The main centerpiece of the city for us was the central market, which wasn’t for tourists it was the actual market for the locals and you could pick up just about anything you wanted. We were only limited by our bravery!! Although standards of hygiene were better than we had seen there were still a couple of stalls we couldn’t bring ourselves to buy things from.
It was superb going to the markets each day for our food and either eating there or taking it home to cook. We soon got to know a couple of the ladies and prices came down even further or they would throw a couple of extras in the bag for us.
Sarah’s favorite were the fruit ladies where 10 Bolivianos would get you an absolutely huge fruit salad with yogurt and topped off with cream!!!
It wasn’t all markets, although you could easily pass a day watching the goings on there. There was also a city to see and we wandered almost all around the centre of Sucre which is full of cathedrals and museums, some certainly better than others but we enjoyed nearly all of them.
We have noticed in Bolivia so far that the museums aren’t massively visited and in a couple we ended up with our own tour guide which was great, although a little difficult to get to move on when you were a little bored with a particular room.
It was actually nice being able to walk and get around a bit easier as we had dropped out of the rediculous altitudes and also nice to be able to cook in our own kitchen especially considering the great produce we could get. T
A view of the centre of Sucre taken from the top of a church. The strange thing about Bolivia is is that you are allowed to be a lot more “hands on” at their sights, for example here we were allowed to scramble out onto the roof (no protection) to take our photos!! In other cathedrals we were encouraged to touch the silver! Unfortunately some of the sights are a little decrepit but for us it all adds to the charm, something Bolivia has in abundance.
Our lunchtime hangout, all these ladies serve the same things for the same prices. One cooks at the back while the other alternates between serving the customers and enticing new customers in. Sarah loved the broth like soups and I of course needed more time to sample all the delicacies available but did enjoy some of the local specialities.
Some various shots of all the stalls we were buying from. The unusual thing about the stall was that each stall was actually in a group of about 6 to a dozen others who all sold exactly the same thing. So you would have a group of vegetable stalls or egg stalls or fruit salad stalls.