|Cochabamba's main square|
Cochabamba itself is a very quiet place, not a lot happening, it's not really on the tourist trail but we went there after Ellen planned our route and mistook the dot on the map for Totora as the one for Cochabamba, 231 km away. So Cochabamba was supposed to be a stop to break up a 14 hour bus journey, but it added 8 hours. Not to worry, it was a great place to chill out and Skype family and friends and catch up on the blog. Also as there is not a lot to do we didn't feel guilty for not getting out and seeing a lot of sights, as there were not many. There is a statue of Christ on a hill which you can walk to (with, according to guidebooks, a high likelihood of getting mugged) or take the cable car. After discovering there would be no toilet at the top we decided against it.
Instead we did a bit of a walk, staying close to clean-looking cafes and restaurants, just in case.
We walked through the town market, down Espana street, we ate in a place called Dumbos - an American style diner (if you squint and turn your head sideways) which sold burgers, salads and ice cream. Angel must have been ill, he didn't want any ice cream. For those readers who don't know him, this is heard of.
On Saturday morning we headed to the bus station to buy our bus tickets for that night to Sucre. In Bolivia you cannot purchase bus tickets on any other day except the day the bus is leaving. So we bought tickets at about 9.15 am and the 8pm bus to Sucre was already full, so we got on the 8.15pm one with Trans Copacabana.
At 1.32 am the bus stopped on the edge of a mountain road and after about 20 minutes of the drivers walking around outside the bus, we were all told we had to get off the bus and walk as the 'road' (read: dirt path) was muddy and we needed to lighten the bus to get it around the corner. All the passengers got off in the pitch darkness and thick fog and proceeded to walk down the steep road (the drivers had given no indication of how far we were to walk). Luckily Angel always carries a small torch for such occasions in his backpack so we could at least wee where we were going as there was no light. We walked as far as we thought we needed to walk, and then after about 10 minutes of standing about and the bus came down the hill to pick us up, some old ladies had kept on walking down the hill and we picked them up about 200m down the mountain. Despite this little adventure we were not late into Sucre. In fact we were a little early. A first for our bus trips in South America!
|Sucre market. look at her face!|
|Dino Park, Ellen with Nessie.|
|Dinosaur footprints in the wall, look carefully.|
|I need to buy one of these!|
The next day we planned the morning, dropped off laundry (rare that we are somewhere long enough to do it this regularly) and headed to the Simon Boliviar park, expecting it to be a large city park, but it was just a green nature strip with a road on either side, about 50m wide. It was pretty enough but also as Sucre is quite small it only took us 20 minutes to stroll here from our hotel. So we headed back into town to eat at the El Patio saltinas restaurant again and picked us up some of their amazing saltinas and empanadas and carried them with us as we walked to the city cemetery. It reminded us of the beautiful one in Buenos Aires in Palmero. Most graves it seems are placed in concrete vaults stacked high like bunk beds, this is because it is cheaper than family plots, some are 6 or 7 stories high.
After eating our saltinas back at the hostel (we didn't eat them in the cemetery, that would be weird) we headed to what is now our local cafe, Metro, and had £1.50 frappachinos and skyped Ellen's Mum.
|El Patio's Saltinas|
We had a great time in Sucre, quite a chilled out couple of days, taking advantage of the strike and having an opportunity to relax on this hectic adventure without actually being ill!
Tomorrow we have a bus to Tupiza. 10 hours through the desert on a cheapie bus (ie no reclining seats and probably includes livestock!)