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Sucker for Sucre

Following our adventure into the Amazon rainforest, we knew we wanted to go south. There are two new cities to visit between Rurrenbaque and Uyuni, our next planned adventure. The first is Sucre, the capital of Bolivia. The second option is Potosi, an expired mining town with tons of rich cultural and political history.

We chose Sucre, on the pretense that the city would have cool architecture and fun hostels. The city dished out- I have absolutely loved the days we spent here. Downtown Sucre is almost exclusively white-washed colonial architecture left over from the days when nearby Bolivian mines were an extremely lucrative business for the Spanish. The buildings give the city a graceful charm that pulls the greens out of trees and pinks out of bougainvillea against a cloudless blue sky.

Sitting at a much more reasonable altitude of 2,800 meters in the Charcas valley, altitude sickness is not much of a worry here. We still enjoyed views of the surrounding mountain ranges, especially from the Cafe Mirador San Miguel that Izzy stumbled upon on our first day- a retired bell tower with great coffee and sandwiches. The top of the building offers 365 degree views of Sucre, making it a memorable meal.

Bottom left is the view from the bell tower pictured bottom right. The carrot cake is from a different cafe near our hostel where I got to listen to an excited seven year old tell me about all the presents she got for her birthday that day- in Spanish of course. Kids are tough to understand because they lack the intercultural tact to enunciate and slow down for my foreigner ears. I understood that she got a violin, candy, and a jealous younger sister.

Sucre is also home to a university, which makes it well equipped with bars and cafe's- what more could you want?

We visited a popular bar called Joy Ride (whose slogan is "Not only for the gringos") for Maddy's birthday, where a singing troupe of young men from the university sang Bolivian classics with an acoustic guitar and made the whole room laugh. Of course, we requested happy birthday and they did not disappoint.

We did a tour in the Casa de la Libertad (House of Liberty) where the Bolivian Declaration of Independence was signed in 1825. It's always cool to see the real value of things I read about in school- I still can't keep the roles of the Tupacs, Amarus, and Kataris straight in my head but I've never claimed to be a history buff!

On our only excursion outside of the city, we were chauffeured to the top of a nearby mountain range where remains of the Incan empire are still visible. We traversed three miles of the Incan trail, exclusively downhill (yeehaw) on a path that was once used by Incan message runners to communicate between Sucre and Potosi. The views from the trail were incredible.

To be quite transparent, we didn't really know what we were getting into with this tour. We knew that we would visit La Garganta del Diablo (turned out to be a waterfall), and the Maraguas Crater. During our two hour hike down the Incan trail, all of us noted the weird swirly hills in the distance without much thought. Turns out that was the Maraguas Crater! Who knew.

The crater's origin is highly contested, either a) consequence of tectonic plate shifts, b) remains of a volcano, c) a dried up lake, d) remains of a meteor, or in my professional opinion e) the doings of very artistic aliens.

Our trip also included visiting a local textile artist from the Jalka indigenous community, which was very cool to see after having passed so many stands selling textiles like the ones they made.

There's so much more to say about this experience and the city of Sucre, I simply cannot fit it all into a comprehensible blog post. You'll just have to visit for yourself!


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