Friday, April 22, 2011

Central Bolivia

From Cochabamba we went to the other capital, Sucre. The question of which is the "true capital" is still a question of debate between the two cities.

While in Sucre we went on a few interesting sidetrips. First we went to a site just outside of the city where they have found a bunch of dinosaur footprints. However, these footprints are especially interesting because, due to tectonic shifts and the movement of the mountains, they are now on a vertical wall. I was expecting it to be a little bit of a hike to see the footprints, and that it was. And it doesn´t help that the altitudes in most of the country make it quite difficult to do any sort of physical activity.

Looking up

Looking out

The "path" we had to walk

We also took a bus out of the city to a small town called Tarabuco. Tarabuco is known for its traditional market. It was a nice day, but not particularly eventful.

After Sucre, we went to the mining town of Potosi. Potosi was at one time one of the richest cities in the world, when the Spanish were extracting silver from the mountains (and sending it back to Spain). Now the supply of silver has been almost depleted, but the mining continues to be the main activity of the city. Although it can be kind of dangerous, we went on a tour of one of the mines. It was okay until we got to the part where you have to go down about forty meters to the second level of the mine. I don´t think I was expecting a proper staircase, but the tiny tube we had to get ourselves down was slippery and really quite scary. Luckily though, we finally made it out (despite bumping my head on the ceiling a countless number of times, but that´s what the hard hat was for).

Tourists used to be able to set off dynamite, but because there are so many miners explosions are done far away from the site where everyone is digging. This is the closest I got to the dynamite.

At the miner´s market, picking up supplies and gifts before heading to the mines

The entrance

The entrance to the old museum (now out of use as there was a cave-in)

Some of the growth on the ceilings

Our next stop was the small city of Uyuni, where we found a package deal to take a three-day trip into the southwest of the country.

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