If you've stumbled across this blog while searching the Internet for photos of rusty steam trains, this is your lucky day! [I'm jotting down my experiences whilst living on the Falkland Islands with my wife, and this is a continuation of our report of a trip to Bolivia and Chile. (The previous instalment is here - http://peterspenguinpost.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/tell-me-mr-bond-what-do-you-know-about.html ).]
But there is a lot more to Bolivia than some old trains.......
|The end of the line....|
|Run into the desert|
|In need of some repair.|
|Butch Cassidy was here!|
|One of the earliest locos.|
|Brown = Altiplano, Lt Green = lowlands, Dk green = central mountains. White = Salar de Uyuni, Blue = L Titicaca or Pacific.|
|Potosi - once the world's largest city|
|Shop for miners - alcohol, detonators, matches, dynamite.....|
|One of the many mine entrances. The discolouration is not from smoke!|
|Cathedral of St James|
|Carving of local Indian|
Sucre is a World Heritage Site, and the buildings in the centre are all whitewashed, again giving a very Andalucian feel. And being at "only" 9,000 feet above sea level (2750m), it was relatively easy to wander around the streets and squares. The market, especially, was a sight for sore eyes, or for people who haven't seen large number of vegetables for a few months!
|Sucre fruit & veg market: slightly better choice than we were used to in Stanley!|
|Stallholder and fruit and baskets, Sucre|
|Some of the 500 potato varieties in Bolivia|
|Banana stall, in the banana section of Sucre market|
|Fruit, fruit, fruit......mostly unknown to me!|
|Whitewashed streets, Sucre|
The Supreme Court and many lesser courts are also in Sucre, and the streets around the court area are filled with legal offices, open to the street. Sometimes lawyers sit on the pavement with a typewriter on a desk, drawing up letters for clients.
|"St Rita - LAWYER for impossible cases"!?|
|Clock Tower, Sucre|
At night, the well-lit streets are full of strolling residents and visitors. The restaurants were plentiful and reasonably-priced, most with a good range of very drinkable Bolivian wine. It was as good as most other wines I've tasted, but I don't think they produce enough to compete in the export market against neighbouring Chile and Argentina.
All too soon, we had to move on from seductive Sucre for the delights of La Paz, another 4,000 feet higher. En route to the seat of government, we made a scheduled stop at the city of Cochabamba - a major agricultural centre. On landing, we had to leave the plane, walk across the tarmac to the terminal, walk the length of the terminal and out another door back on to the apron again.
|Presidential Guard of Honour relaxing|
|Illyama, overlooking La Paz.|
|Presidetial palace, La Paz.|
|Local resident with ubiquitous mobile phone and bowler|
However, exploring La Paz was not that comfortable, given the altitude and steep gradient on every street! Added to that was the choked and choking traffic, comprising mainly of minibuses, and large, ancient 50-seaters, which seemed to have been donated by other countries, decades ago, as they updated their own transport options. The city also sits in a valley, and the air is trapped by the high Andean peaks all around. To escape the smog, we headed UP another 800 feet to Lake Titicaca, and the amazing site of Tiwanaku. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiwanaku
|Carved heads in temple wall|
|Solid stone (one piece) steps|
|Giant figure with 2 left hands|
|Bolivian, Diversity and La Paz flags.|
|Open-air model village, L Titicaca|
|Dawn over the Andes from Sun Island|
|Cordillera Real from Moon Island|
|Across the Andes by |
|Gardens in Vina del Mar, near Valparaiso|
|Easter Island resident|