Travelling to Bolivia
20.12.2008 - 22.12.2008 30 °C
We decided to enter Bolivia by taking the overnight bus from Salta to the border La Quiaca. Talk about shock to the system. After all the easy travelling and feeling like we are in Europe the bus to the border was like being thrown into the deep end to say he least. The Bus was dirty, dingy and smelly and we stopped every 10 minutes so no sleep at all. We were told that it would be full of gringos and to just follow them but we were the only ones on the bus- turned out we took the non gringo Bus!
We arrived at six in the moring and it was freezing cold. No signs telling us how to get to the border so we just started following the locals who looked like they were travelling (that is an under exaggeration- all the Bolivians carry what seems like being their whole house on their shoulders when they travel). Finally found it and the exiting Argentina thing and entering Bolivia was not too bad at all. Although, once in Bolivia it really hit us that we were now in South America! Roads dirty and messy, people everywhere dressed in either indigenous clothing or just looked very poor. Cars look 100 years old and dogs everywhere. But oh how fascinating it all really was!!! As we were looking for a bus to take us to Tupiza we were confused and amazed by how messy it all was. The bus station does not really look like a station and people everywhere trying to get us to go with their company!
Eventually bought a ticket and when we saw the bus that would take us we nearly died. It looked so old and like it wouldnt be able to run for 5 meters. As we wait to get our bags the ticket lady who is supposed to give everyone tickets for our luggage completely ignored us and lets all the locals on. As we try to ask her why she won´t listen. Finally we are convinced that we have been fooled and that there is no way she will let us on. Then all of a sudden she tells us to run with her to another bus which is moving- she stops the bus and tells us to get on. Turns on we are on a different company than we bought tickets from and have to sit at the back as those are te only ticketrs available. So messy but finally we were on our way to tupiza.
When people say the bus trips in Bolivia are mad they are not joking. 3 hours on a dirt road with a mental driver. But although we are shitting ourselves this feeling quickly dissapears as the lanscape around us is unbelievably beautiful- like nothing we have ever seen. Meet Eimear (Ireland) and Dan (England) on the bus who end up staying in the same hostel as us!
Arrive at La Torre Hostel which is actually quite nice. Immediately try to organise our Salar de Uyuni trip. We have already been in touch with Tupiza tours and went to chat to them. Walked stright into their xmas party and were offered wine, champagne and food. In the midst of their partying we tried to organise the tour and it was very messy. Not least because we were trying to fit the tour so that we could arrive in Sucre for xmas were we had booked a hotel. Eventually had to concede to the fact that if we wanted to make the tour we will hav to spend xmas on the Salar and rebook the hotel in Sucre. Initially not the nicest prospect but will turn out to be the best decision ever! So we decide to leave on the 22nd of December which means we have the whole next day free- decide to try our hands on horse riding again as we loved it so much the last time the next day.
Tupiza is just like a town like you would see dipicted as a South Smerican town on TV. So different than Argentina but truly facinating and absolutely beautiful! Nothing in the town itself whatsoever but the surroundings are something else.
Horseriding the next day is great because of the views. However horses are tired and slow (particulary Karolinas) and our guide is only 14. Very tame compared to Mendoza as all flat and we only galopped at the end. We went with a nice Argeninian couple so we got to practice our Spanish. They both have horses themselves so although they must have been bored they did not show it and said that it was still great because of the surroundings.
Until next time...