Stage 7. Bolivia

After the Salar de Uyuni, we head north-east …

The first stop was Potosí, at 4000m above sea level … There Jose visited one of the mines of Cerro Rico, so named because it hides tons of minerals inside, the most valuable silver. From the sixteenth century silver is being mined and still left! And hundreds of miners are still working in the mines under very bad conditions. Already in the city, due to the height, there is a lack of oxygen and the thing gets worse when you are underground in tiny tunnels and using gunpowder to open your way … The visit was very interesting and above all shocking, never again we will complain about our work! We also visited the Mint, where we learned a lot of things, for example that the first silver coins of the modern world were minted here and that the famous dollar symbol comes from the mark that was stamped on the coins of this place, an overlap of the letters P, S, and I.

After two days suffering from altitude sickness we continued the route to Sucre, the unknown national capital of Bolivia (in Europe we think it is La Paz because the seat of government is there). This town we liked very much, its white houses with roofs of reddish tile give a very Mediterranean air. We did not do anything especially to walk, rest and meet many travelers from all over the world in a nice “camping” where we stayed, so we do not know why we liked it so much, maybe it was because it was the first colonial city we visited and / or because the weather was very nice. We were already tired from the cold!

At that point we were asked a question about how to get to Santa Cruz, we could have chosen the easy way but as adventurers we believe to be … we decided to do The Che Guevara Route, which took us through beautiful landscapes but horrible roads, without asphalt and full of ups and downs … We passed Villa Serrano, through La Higuera, the village where Che was killed, and we ended up in Valle Grande, where Che was buried for the first time (before being taken to Cuba).

From there we arrive in Santa Cruz. We stopped in Samaipata, a charming little tourist village where we visited the fort, which are ruins of a pre-Inca civilization that carved a huge stone on top of a mountain and transformed it into its home for years and the Caves which are a set of spectacular waterfalls which we were lucky enough to appreciate almost completely alone.

We arrived in Santa Cruz and Jose was reunited with old friends and co-workers of his youth, from when he still studied and worked as a waiter in a bar. Everyone welcomed us with open arms and made us feel at home. We visit nice places, we enjoy rich typical meals and we live the winter heat of this area … We take the time in a big city to fix some things of Cactus (as always …), take Perito to the vet and buy some things we needed … and ended up being there almost 3 weeks! much longer than planned … But as we were in good company we did not care!

And from there we headed to Peru, passing through Villa Tunari, a place in the middle of the jungle where we saw spider monkeys, Cochabamba, a city guarded by a huge Christ located on top of a hill and La Paz, a huge city where even we slept…

Instead we chose to spend a few days in Copacabana, on the shores of Lake Titicaca, where we could bless Cactus at the hands of a priest from the Basilica of Our Lady of Copacabana, it was a very curious tradition that we hope will bring us luck on the trip! !

 

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