Trip Start Mar 25, 2007
Trip End Aug 31, 2007

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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Wednesday, June 20, 2007

It felt like a real luxury to be able to have a hot shower and a warm comfortable bed.  The hotel we were staying in was an old colonial building that had been renovated.  The rooms were spacious and there was a pretty terrace at the top with great views of the city.  

Sucre was the previous capital city of Bolivia (before La Paz).  It's still the constitutional capital.  It has a rich colonial heritage and great architecture.  Often dubbed as the white city and you could see why. The whole town seemed to be full of magnificant white buildings.   

The first thing we noticed as we strolled around on Sunday was the tranquility of the place.  All very peaceful and pretty.  There were lots of ancient churches dotted around.  We made our way to the main plaza (25 de Julio) surrounded by lots of little roads crammed with restaurants, museums and shops.  After Uyuni, we appreciated the warm weather (late 20s) too; it was nice just to stroll around. We found a little restaurant to have lunch at with a good almuerza (lunch) deal.  3 courses plus soft drink and tea for 20 bolivanos (about GBP 1.30).  They were showing the final games of La Liga (Spanish league) and we watched as Real Madrid came from a goal down to clinch the championship.    

On Monday we went to the local market where women were selling fresh juices.  They were pretty good! We'd been missing the fresh juices since leaving Brazil.  The women all wore traditional clothes as they had in Uyuni, the only difference was their hats were trilbys and not bowlers.  Upstairs in the market, local food was being served.  It all looked and smelt rather tempting but both are stomachs were still feeling a bit dodgy so we decided to give it a miss.    
After the food in Villazon and Uyuni, we were suprised at the number of nice restaurants in Sucre and all so cheap as well!  We found a place (Joyrider Cafe) which every night showed a film for 10 bolivianos (66p).  We watched 'The Departed' in English with Spanish subtitles, all good practice our espaņol.  The place was owned by a Dutchman and served a great apple pie.  Sucre is also a major university town and we noticed a lot of young people around.  The university was founded in the 17th century and was yet another grand white building we saw.  We visited the main cathedral dating from 1551 and a couple of other colonial churches.   

With a large indigenous population, there was a fair bit of clothing and crafts on sale.  Sam purchased an alpaca jumper and I bought a wooly jumper too.  We had been accumulating a fair bit of stuff since the last time we had posted a parcel home from Buenos Aires so we made a trip to the post office in Sucre to send a 5kg parcel back home.  It wasn't quite as organised as the Buenos Aires one, the woman behind the counter put all everything in a box that seemed to be too small and sealed it with some flimsy looking sellotape. We can only hope our parcel does actually reach the UK.  

Lunchtime on Tuesday. we were seated at one of the almuerza places that had a lunchtime buffet on and were shocked to see a middle ages couple sit down with 3 empty lunchboxes then proceeded to fill them up with the buffet food! Gypos!  By the time we got our plates, all the food seemed to have gone.  Something I ate there did not go down too well with me unfortunately and I was just glad I had packed the immodium.  Have a feeling it was the salad at the buffet I ate.  We have been careful with not drinking the water in Bolivia, but its easy to forget things like what water the salad is washed in or ice in your drinks.  Speaking of drinks, I did sample a Bolivian Mohito which instead of mint leaves uses coca leaves!!  It was rather nice though!  

Before dinner on Tuesday night,  we were sat at an internet cafe when we heard and saw an enormous demonstration outside the main plaza.  They all seemed to be students marching around with firecrackers and sticks of dynamite.  We weren't quite sure what they were protesting about but from their banners gathered it was something to do with the university.  They were marching towards the constitutional assembly building.  Moments later, there were loud sirens as the police arrived to break it up.  We didnt think too much more of it but when we left to get some dinner, we couldn't walk more than a few steps without coughing and our eyes and noses started burning.  The police had used tear gas to quell the demonstration.  We couldn't walk to the end of the road as it was blocked and as we took another road, we saw around 30 policemen all standing in a line with their rifles on show.  All a bit scary.  We coughed and spluttered as we made it to dinner. We later found out that the students had been protesting a proposed article in the constitutional assembly that would grant government control over universities.  

It has been a nice few relaxing days in Sucre and after our recent travels from Iguazu to Uyuni,  it was nice to stay at a place for longer than 1 night!  Refreshed and recharged, we prepared for the night bus to La Paz.  Another 12 hr journey but apparently (we hope) the road is quite safe.
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