Our last full day in Bolivia
Trip Start Oct 16, 2012
136Trip End Apr 20, 2013
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We went through a couple of Police check-point and toll booths. Each time we approach them we wonder if we are going to be asked to pay or to produce bicycle licenses as we have heard other cyclists have had to. Before coming to Bolivia, we had been warned that the Police are more corrupt here than in other countries and more likely to ask for bribes. We approached each station with trepidation but were always either ignored or waved through with smiles and warm greetings
We whizzed down a long down hill into the town of Tupiza, which was sitting at 3000m above sea level. The landscape was already changing, which it always seems to do when we approach the border of the country. I'm not sure if this is because it seems like the logical territorial end point or if we just notice it more when we know we are just about to change country. Either way we were surrounded by high, dark red imposing cliff structures, which pushed up out of the ground in a variety of interesting shapes
We arrived in to the small town of Tupiza, which our Bolivia map noted was a "pleasant town", which seemed very biased and not particularly helpful. We cycled around the main square and found that it was a quiet town, with a few restaurants that were mostly closed for the afternoon. We found one place that had huge steaks cooking on a BBQ grill at the front of the restaurant for all to see. They looked amazing, and we excitedly ordered two. After our first course of soup, and a second course of salad, we were presented with tiny pieces of low-quality beef. We were gutted and decided that we must put more time into learning the types of steak before entering Argentina. We thought our Spanish was improving slowly but clearly we need to improve our steak vocabulary.
The rest of the afternoon was spent making our way between the tall red cliffs, next to the dirty brown rushing river. We covered 50km or so through the valley and then ascended up 500m towards the border of Argentina. I would say that my legs were heavy with sadness that our fifth and final country brought us closer to the end of our trip and having to say goodbye to Kory, but in truth, my legs were just heavy and tired with the long hill climb at the end of the day.
We found a small campsite that was hidden from the road and hopefully free of cactus prickles. It had much easier access than the previous night, which felt like an upper body workout to get the bags and the bikes to the flat, hidden area. As we went to sleep we could see three lots of lightening strikes to the North, South and West and wondered if we should expect a cold, wet night. Somehow though we were spared any rain and just got to enjoy the lightening show in the evening.