April 26, 2012
For 91 Days we lived in Bolivia. From Sucre to La Paz, Copacabana to Cochabamba, we saw as much as three months would allow. We went on hikes through the highlands, went into the Salar of Uyuni, and discovered the fascinating history of Potosi, along with numerous other adventures. Start at the beginning of our journey, or the end. Visit the comprehensive index of everything we wrote about, or just check out a few posts, selected at random, below:
Showing #21 - 30 of 91 Articles
It's no secret that Bolivians love their hats. Especially among campesinos, a smart hat is an essential part of the wardrobe, and every region in the country has a particular style. Decorated, thin black caps covering the ears for the Tarabuqueños, round bowler hats for the people in Sucre, shallow pale-colored hats for those from Tarjia.
We've lived in quite a few countries, but I don't think we've ever encountered such compelling faces as in Bolivia. The people here, while often shy about getting their picture taken, are almost always courteous and happy to talk. Here's another random batch of images we've taken in Sucre during last few weeks.
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.
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.
Most people don't realize that Sucre is technically the capital of Bolivia. La Paz has become the country's largest and most important city, but according to the Bolivian constitution, Sucre is still the official capital. And the Casa de la Libertad is the country's most historically significant building.
The best bird's-eye view of Bolivia's capital can be found at the top of the Recoleta hill. The climb is arduous, but worth the effort. At sunset, the "White City" is even more beautiful from above than from street-level. Just head due south from the city center. As long as you're going uphill, you're on the right path.
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.
At 6am, we were out on Sucre's streets, desperately searching for a taxi to take us to the station for our bus to Uyuni. But there were no taxis. There wasn't even any traffic. The streets were dead calm, except for our cursing and complaining. A morning dash to the far-away bus station wasn't the best way to start this trip.
One of the most popular Bolivian drinks is api morado, usually referred to as just "api". Made from purple maize, cinnamon, water and sugar, the beverage is colorful, heavy and delicious. And it makes for a hearty breakfast, especially when accompanied with fritters (buñuelos).
Desolate, dusty Uyuni in the sparsely populated southwest of Bolivia feels like a town abandoned to the march of history. Founded in 1889, it was once a bustling railway hub connecting Bolivia's mines with the world beyond the Pacific. But the mines eventually dried up, and the trains stopped running. Rather than decommissioning and selling them as scrap, depressed Uyuni left the useless locomotives to rot in a fascinating "train cemetery" just a few kilometers outside the city.