So, we had our ticket out of Uyuni, we were off to Sucre and our friends from the Salt Flats were coming with us too! We boarded a bus from Uyuni which made its way to Sucre via Potosi. The bus wasn´t the best but the recently opened tarmac road between Uyuni and Potosi helped the journey to go smoothly and quicker than all of our guide books had said (around 4 hours) which was great and the scenery was amazing, as we had come to expect from Bolivia. On the way into Potosi we saw the infamous mine that we had all decided to skip visiting and there was a tour group on board whose guide we could hear to get the lowdown on the mine. We stopped off in Potosi first to drop people off and then for about half an hour to allow the driver to have his lunch. He then came back and we thought that we were on our way to Sucre, but it turned out that we were actually on our way to the other bus station in Potosi where we had to change buses (and wait 2 hours) We filled our time by having bad food at the only restaurant in the bus station and then discovered that all the bus company representatives like to let everyone in the station know where their buses go to. The result was a cacophony of noise and a lot of: ¡Sucre, Sucre, Suuuuuucreeeeeeee! Which we all enjoyed a lot. Finally we all boarded a bus and set off through the mountains (in the fading light/dark) to Sucre which was a little nerve wracking due to some of the tight twists and turns.
Upon arrival in Sucre we were promptly hassled into a taxi to our hostel (with me in the front) and as we were driving along I noticed that the speedometer, fuel gauge and other such dials were in front of me, yes, the car had been converted from right to left-hand drive! Despite this we somehow made it to our hostel where we were greeted by a friendly woman (who didn’t actually work at the hostel, but was hanging out there because she was friends with the woman who did work there) who told us that all us gringos were the same because we all do the same routes, despite the fact that she was a gringo herself who had been in Sucre for just two weeks! Good way to make friends!
At this point most people wanted to relax, but Sarah and I decided to go in search of food and ended up in Joyride cafe for the first time (of many) where I had my first (of many) yummy lasagnas in Sucre (What, it´s a traditionnal Bolivian dish!!)
Next day Sarah and I went round all the Spanish schools in Sucre as we were going to do two more weeks of study. After doing the necessary research we headed off to meet up with everyone at Joyride, but there was confusion about whether we meant the tourist office, shop or bar and so while Dan and Jess sat enjoying some drinks in the bar, the rest of us met at the tourist info office to discuss city tour options. That afternoon Sarah and I went back to book the school that we had decided upon and book the accommodation that was literally next door to the school which was going to mean a nice easy commute! The manager told us that we could attend the free Salsa class that evening if we wished which delighted Sarah and so that evening we learnt how to do a couple of steps and spins and it was fun. Even better was the fact that we had also arranged to go to Joyride with everyone that evening to eat as they too had a free Salsa lesson! We were going to be pro´s! The food was good and we got a couple of beer dispensers to help wash it down with and then we were all set for the Salsa class. The teacher was a guy who decided that us men weren´t up to Salsa dancing and so just kept dancing with the girls and teaching them moves that they were supposed to teach us. It was a lot of fun though and there was some sort of student parade that went passed during the lesson and so we stopped to watch that from the balcony and they were kind enough to set off a load of fireworks too, so we were treated to a free display! Bonus. After the lesson the room turned into a bit of a club and we enjoyed dancing to some Michael Jackson and Five among other pop classics.
Friday we started with a walking tour of the city with a guide that we had arranged on the previous day. He met us at our hostel and took us to the mirador (viewpoint) at the top of the hill which was good, the textiles museum which was interesting and to eat Salteñas which were tasty. The tour was a good way to get to know the city a little better.
That afternoon we planned to go to the nearby Cretaceous Park to see the dinosaur footprints, but the Dino bus that we thought existed didn´t turn up, so we ended up going for a couple of beers. Oh well! That evening we enjoyed a BBQ at our hostel and once full of tasty meat headed to a nearby Karaoke bar that Sarah and I had spotted the day before. There were a few locals there, one of which was really good, but the rest made for painful listening. We had fun and all sang at least one song, the highlight being Dan´s Robbie Williams.
Saturday afternoon we determined to go to the Cretaceous Park and so again went to the waiting point and this time took the bus that we had seen the day before and dismissed as a rip off version of the Dino bus. The bus looked like something that had been built on Scrapheap Challenge from old office desk chairs, a motor and any bits of wood and metal that could be scavenged and bolted together. It did however deliver us to the park (en route spotting and waving to the Salsa teacher from Joyride) and we were able to enjoy the footprints, get some photo´s with the life size Dino models and the girls even managed to get in trouble for being on the mini models in the under 12´s area, despite the fact that the boys had been on them just minutes before!
Saturday evening was Halloween party at (yes, you guessed it, Joyride) so we had bought some masquerade ball style face masks to wear. It was also the last night that we would be altogether as a group because everyone else was moving on to La Paz the following day. We started the nights proceedings with dinner at La Taverna, a French style restaurant which did some amazing dishes, most notably the steaks, for the ridiculously low price of about £6. After this we headed off to Rock y Voz, another karaoke bar where we had heard you could get private rooms. Upon arrival we found out that while this was true, they were huge and so more expensive than we wanted to pay. The fact that we were the only ones there also meant that just going in the bar area and having it to ourselves wasn´t a problem. We enjoyed a good hour of singing before a few locals (who in South American tradition were suitably bad) showed up and made us move on to the Joyride party. There we had a lot of fun dancing, bumping into people that we had met at the Spanish school and to make it even better, Sarah and Tasha got a free drink each for dressing up!
Sunday being the day of rest Sarah, Tasha and Becca headed off for a massage that they had booked the day before while James and I went for a man date in the Florin bar courtyard, sitting in the shade and enjoying a couple of cold beers before the girls came to join us. By this point we had already said a sad farewell to Dan and Jess who had gone to the airport early to catch their flight. Thoroughly relaxed the girls met us and we all enjoyed some food before saying another sad farewell to Tasha, Becca and James who had to get their bus while Sarah and I went to our new digs to revise our Spanish and get an early night before starting school the next day.
And that is where I will leave you for now. Sarah will pick up the tale again soon to tell you all about the rest of our stay in Sucre. Until then you could get busy buying Christmas presents, less than a month to go and you don´t want to leave it to last minute!