Friday, 7 November 2008

Tupiza, Potosi and Sucre

We arrived in Tupiza and checked into a (relatively!) luxurious hotel as a small treat after the last few days being couped up in a Land Cruiser. Planned activity here on Janine and Rob´s recommendation (in fact our entire trip is basically copying them!) and courtesy of Team Whittle as a wedding gift was a few days horse riding. The area is popular for horse riding with people keen to do their best Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid impressions (as they met their end in nearby San Vicente, we didn´t want to do that bit!). We went to investigate the various tours on offer and decided that our backsides may struggle with anything more than a few hours on horseback, so opted for a short tour to a local canyon. Our guide was a 13 year old Bolivian boy and the horses weren´t in tip-top condition (Hel, not sure you would have given your Vet´s approval!) but it was great fun. We rode out to some local canyons and the landscapes were stunning. After 3 hours the rain was coming in so we decided to call it a day, bits were starting to chaff at this point too! We decided that we´d do some more horsey bits later on in our travels to make up for bottling out of a few days excursion in Tupiza!Next stop was Potosi, the highest city in the world at 4100 metres (we laugh in the face of altitude now!). We spent a pleasant few days here, and took a local bus out to a local hot pool that´s situated in the crater of a low lying volcano which was cool. Our stop here also coincided with ´The Day of the Dead´ which is a two day holiday where locals remember relatives and friends who have passed away. The markets are filled with bright pink pastries that people buy to leave as gifts at the graves of loved ones (we bought one so we could take this photo and Al ate it?!?!).Unfortunately Al developed his first (and hopefully last) bit of Bolivian food poisoning thanks to (we think) a humble piece of cheesecake. A days bedrest was needed (watching the US presidential election on CNN!) before we moved on to the next stop in Sucre.

Sucre is an attractive city where pretty much every building is whitewashed. It also turns out to be a good spot to go horseriding so we opted to do a ride to the ´seven waterfalls´in a nearby valley. This time we set out with a Bolivian adult guide and two much healthier looking horses form the edge of the city. We had to pass through the city limits which means passing thousands of little kids shouting "hola". Once through this we came over the top of a hill to look down onto some lovely valleys and had to have lots of faith in our trusty steeds as we trotted along narrow paths with sheer drops of a few hundred feet one poorly placed hoof away. We then had to dismount and lead our horses down the very steep slopes to the bottom of the valley and the seven waterfalls. Once down at the bottom though we tied up the horses and walked up to waterfall number 4 for a nice refreshing swim in the natural pool (yes the water really was that colour!!) and a spot of lunch.We had to lead our horses back up the steep slope and Al´s horse was really not enjoying the experience, in 25 degree heat it was an amusing sight seeing Al trying to drag a fully grown horse up a hill! By the time we´d returned to town we´d developed some serious walking issues and any seating needed to be very well cushioned!

We also did a decent walk around some of the city´s sites and climbed to the roof of an old convent (now a school) for nice views of the city from the bell tower.

On Sunday we visited a local village 2 hours bus ride away called Tarabuco, known for it´s excellent textile market which involved lots of haggling! On the way back we jumped into one of a line of small people carriers (designed to hold 5-6 people in relative comfort) only to be joined by another 11 Bolivians for a cosy ride home!

Next stop La Paz!

Lots of love.

Jo and Al x x x

1 comment:

Team Whittle said...

Perfect outcome......bit of chaff and a painful coccyx.
Team Whittle chose wisely.
Loving your adventures