I left La Paz one evening on a 7 day cross country trip that would take me to an old colonial town called Sucre. (The word colonial always makes me so angry - clearly I have not yet forgiven Colonizers for what they did to us "The colonized.") I took a Trans El Dorado night bus to Sucre. I made a Dutch friend at the terminal and she was the one who was kind enough to wake me up in the morning when we got to Sucre. I completely passed out. The bus had a fully reclining chair and that combined with the rocking motion of the bus put me to sleep. I sleep much better on planes, buses, ferries, boats, cars, trains etc than I actually do on my bed. I get some form of " performance anxiety" when I try to sleep in bed - the task that lays ahead weighs on me. I begin to think "Now, I am sure I will have insomnia," and that is exactly what happens. While in motion, there are no such expectations and therefore I sleep like a baby.
I stayed at a hostel called Cruz de Popayan and I began to realize that when hostels in Bolivia said they had wifi, they actually meant that there was a corner in the reception where you could get a (pretty crappy) connection. I had to cast aside all dreams of sitting on my bed, staring out of the window and blogging. I had only one day to spend in Sucre and I immediately went exploring. As soon as I got to the city center, I bumped into my Dutch friend. I was so happy to meet someone I knew. She was traveling alone too and we decided to spend the day together. We went to a cute little French place and had lunch. After that we walked for ages to get to the city viewing point. The main part of the city center was quite full and that's when I realized that Sucre was a big deal. It used to the capital of Bolivia long before La Paz. At the viewing point we had an amazing view of the city. It started to rain and we went to a bar close to the viewing point. We ordered Lipinas (Quinoa beer.) That was quite refreshing.
I traded backpacking stories with my Dutch friend and realized I was a fake backpacker. Her 21kg backpack had a tent, cooking utensils etc. My 18 kg backpack mostly had clothes. She had been hiking up mountains with her backpack, pitching up her tent, cooking for herself etc. That is a very intense type of backpacking that I do not think I will attempt any time soon. I do enjoy little pleasures such as a roof over my head, a bed to sleep on, hot water when showering etc. I don't actively seek out unnecessary hardships in life as I think I had my fair share of that in boarding school.
I slept really early and woke up the next day in time for my 3 hour bus ride to Potosi (silver mining town with The Mountain that eats Men.) I stayed at a hostel called "Hostal la Casona" which again only had internet in a little corner of the reception. I had dinner at an Italian restaurant close to my hostel and had my first "piso sour." Piso is the national alcoholic drink of Peru, Bolivia etc. It was delicious. That night in Potosi was cold, dark and full of terrors. The blanket was made for someone half my size and I had to decide if I preferred having my upper body or lower body exposed (they were not both going to fit under the blanket.) In the middle of the night I woke up gasping for air and that is when I realized that Potosi was significantly higher than La Paz (which just happens to be the world's highest capital city.)
Adventures lay ahead starting with The Mountain that eats Men.