On to Bolivia...a brief stop in Tupiza

Trip Start Apr 12, 2011
Trip End Apr 01, 2012

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Where I stayed
La Torre

Flag of Bolivia  , Potosí,
Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Twelve hour bus to the Argentinean/Bolivian border and as we arrive at 7am, a relatively smooth crossing into Bolivia. Next is a two hour minibus to our next location Tupiza.  The journey started well with us being charged local prices (2.50 each – now this is more the S. American prices we were expecting) and leaving town fairly quickly.  We begin to realise we are in Bolivia when our bus diverts off the tarmac road at every river to drive across the dry river bed.  The road is in construction (randomly funded by the EU) and they seem to have left the bridges to the end (why not leave the hard bits to the end), we trust their confidence that no rain is due until January!  The landscape is pretty bleak, dry and not much going on but we're amused by our stops for the people at the side of the road that appear to come from nowhere – not a house in sight.  This is all very well until we pull over for a man standing at the side of the road, suddenly his whole family  appear and we only have one spare seat left.  The driver eyes up the inside of the minivan and we know what’s coming – shuffle up time.  So we spend the next hour or so, a little squeezed, with eleven adults in an eight person minivan, all part of the fun!

We arrive at Tupiza which is a small town surrounded by mountains – the scenery is impressive while there isn’t much to the town.  We stay at Hostel La Torre – recommended by friends – it’s an old hotel style and pretty good for our first hostel in Bolivia (our expectations have been lowered by stories we’ve heard).  Also this hotel has a tour company which run the Salt Flat tours and that’s the other reason we’re staying there.  As soon as we arrive we are told that a tour is leaving the next day but given we have just arrived at 2.9km above sea level, we’re a little bit wary to sign up until we see how the altitude hits.  After a sleep and a walk round town, we decide we’re well enough to head out tomorrow as long as there is no walking up hills, not used to feeling out of breath after strolling about at our normal pace – pace of life in Bolivia has to be slower or we’ll spend the whole time feeling dizzy.  We get Jonny some warm layers, we were looking for llama but had to settle with pequena wool, which we subsequently see a lot of anyway.  Dinner in a pizza and pasta place called Tu–pizza, we’re sticking to tourist restaurants until we find out a bit more about Bolivian food, not heard great reports...but the lasagne is good and then we’re off to pack for our big, cold trip.
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