My arrival in Sucre from Tupiza on Wednesday was ominous – the night bus there was a dreadful experience, my stomach was dodgy and the weather was abysmal. Tired, I went straight to a hostel recommended by the Lonely Planet and slept for a short while before venturing out for food and Internet. The first two days weren’t much fun as I toured around trying to find people to speak to – the whole town seemed to be devoid of Gringo’s! All of the popular bars listed in the Lonely Planet were empty as well. A couple of days in, I spotted Alex and Jenny and spent a couple of days with them before visiting Tarabuco on Sunday and meeting more people. After this, Sucre became a much nicer place to be!
My intention in Sucre was to study a little Spanish, do a little mountain biking, trekking etc but after my experience of trekking to the Dinosaur Footprints in Maragua with my poorly stomach I decided to simply treat my time in Sucre as a holiday from my travels. Each morning I would voyage down to my Spanish Lessons, grab lunch somewhere and then just relax by reading a book, playing on the Internet… At night I’d generally run into someone I recognised and would have tea in one of the delicious restaurants we’d found. My favourite was an Italian place called Tentaciones just off the main square – they served freshly made pasta dishes and it was beautiful. I ate there many times and was recommending everyone else to do the same!
For the first week I wasn’t sleeping particularly well and would wake each morning feeling poorly. I decided that the Hostel I was in (Hostel Charcas, opposite the market) wasn’t helping matters so moved to a private room in The Grand Hotel. It was an expensive compared to other places but the rooms were clean and within two days my poorliness had cleared and my stomach even picked up. I’m not about to blame Hostel Charcas, but it didn’t help!
The atmosphere in town changed on Thursday as the town went crazy. Sitting in La Tavarne (a delicious French Restaurant) we heard a huge cacophony outside and I ended up watching a massive carnival come past the entrance. I’d guess there was something like 3000 students all dressed up in fancy dress, dancing, jumping around and shouting away. It was an amazing spectacle which couldn’t be missed. I followed the crowd into the Plaza, met with a Frenchman from the school and ended up fighting our way into the nightclub. At one point someone pinched my ticket in the scrum and I had to point out the errors of his ways – not much a 4ft something Bolivian can do when an angry 6ft Geordie shouts at him!
The following day, Friday, I tried my hand at Salsa dancing in the Spanish school and then went out for food with a huge group of people. After tea we headed out to clubs and danced the night away, although given I had my final Spanish lesson the following day I left earlier than the others. I did meet a couple of really nice people that night though and ended up spending a couple of days in the company Sarah. Sucre was fun before and I’d met some nice people, but it was really nice to meet someone to talk properly too (not just the standard “where are you from”, “how long have you been travelling”…).
At the end of the weekend I needed to be making tracks to La Paz in order to make a Pampas tour with a Dutch couple I’d met so I said my goodbyes and left Sucre. It was a hard decision as Sucre is a really nice place to spend time and I’d finally started to get to meet some really nice people – barring a few people, this was something I’d been missing so far on my travels. I could have stayed for longer, but the constant protests meant that you had to move when the opportunity presented itself.
Getting a bus ticket was easy, but finding the bus wasn’t. The bus station was closed and whilst I could see people waiting, I couldn’t find the bus! When I did, the ride to La Paz was an experience too as I wasn’t allowed to use the loo (the loo was the street at 3am) and people were sleeping in the aisle, against my legs… Not my favourite journey, but when is there a fun bus journey in Bolivia?
I initially stayed at the Hostel Charcas but can’t recommend it – I ended up abandoning a prepaid night to get some decent sleep! The Grand Hotel is really nice, but not really the typical backpackers fare hence hard to meet people.
Nights: 9 nights @ B$70, 4 nights @ B$120 – 1,110
Entertainment + misc: B$90
Ticket to La Paz: B$150
Spanish Lessons: B$943
Total: B$3,725 ~ £338 or £26 per day.
Pictures of Sucre
More pictures of Sucre can be found in the Digitallery album South America – Bolivia – Sucre