After surviving the morning blizzard in the mountains, we emerged intact onto the dusty plains south of Uyuni. This was the last portion of a long, three-day journey which had offered some of the most incredible nature I’ve ever been exposed to. Salt flats, semi-active volcanoes, deserts, lagoons, and more. But there was still a bit more to be astounded by.
A geological marvel, the Salar de Uyuni is one of the most perfectly flat areas on earth. There aren’t hills, bumps, shadows, vegetation or depressions of any sort, and given the lack of visual reference points in such an immense area, one’s sense of perspective is bound to become skewed.
After a month in Bolivia’s constitutional capital, the time had come to move on. Sucre was an incredible temporary home, but Bolivia is huge and diverse, and we didn’t want to miss out on the treasures of its other regions. So, after a detour through the Salar de Uyuni and Bolivia’s barren southwest, we relocated to La Paz for a few weeks.
Don Francisco Argandoña and his wife Clotilde Urioste Velasco were among the most important members of late 19th Century Bolivian society. He had made a fortune in the mining industry, and owned a private bank. She was the daughter of a wealthy Spanish family, and dedicated her life to helping orphans. On a diplomatic tour Europe in 1898, they called upon Pope Leon XIII, who pronounced them the “Princes of the Glorieta”. They accepted the honor graciously; it hardly mattered that Bolivia didn’t have a monarchy.
We were introduced to Sucre’s general cemetery by Roger, a kid who works there as an informal guide, during a half-day tour of the city we wrote about earlier. The beauty of the cemetery surprised us, and we soon went back for more pictures and to explore at our own pace.
I was sitting on a bench in Sucre’s Plaza 25 de Mayo, waiting to meet Jürgen for lunch, and fell into conversation with a gnarled old indigenous man. Quickly identifying me as a foreigner, he asked why my hair isn’t blond. Apparently, this guy hadn’t met all that many gringos…
In May 2011, Aerosur brought us from Buenos Aires to our new home in Sucre, Bolivia. The “white city” is heralded as the country’s most beautiful, and would be our base of operations for the next three months as we explored Bolivia’s nature, towns and landscapes, met its people, and learned about their customs and culture.