Monday, November 30, 2015

#travelpost - Sucre, Bolivia

This is probably the penultimate post I have in South America and it's about the palm tree lined, white washed town of Sucre.

We're slowly coming to the end of our budget now as we need to save some pennies for New York so the list of things that we're doing seems to be getting shorter and shorter and makes it harder to write about. Lucky for us, we found a cute hostel tucked away in the centre of Sucre for £7.50 a night for a modern double room with actual real wifi, a free brekkie that included pancakes and a rooftop with deckchairs... As you can guess that gave us even more reasons not to do too much with our time but for the sake of this post we did still manage to do some things! 

The market in Sucre is one of the best markets we've come across in ages... Stalls filled sky high with fruit, cake stands, a comedor selling tonnes of local dishes including Mondongo slow cooked ribs, empanada and salteña stands all over the place and Harry's favourite... 7 Lunares chorizo stand. (Recommended to us by the guys we met at the salt flats... It was a chorizo sandwich for 70p in which they dipped half of the bread in the oils...) I had one happy Harry that morning. One day we prepped for a picnic in the market with a slice of pineapple each, a chicken salteña which tasted like a giant samosa, some beetroot, fried plantain and crisps... It was a £1 each and it was delish. We set off up to the neighbourhood La Recoleta which is set above the town and has a beautiful arched plaza with a great view. To make up for such a cheap lunch we treated ourselves to a drink in the sun garden of the El Mirador bar, we grabbed some deck chairs and I bought leche con coco which I haven't had since Colombia... Frothy cold milk mixed with fresh coconut water and grated coco... It's so so good! 

Throughout the days we strolled through town, watched people putting up the Christmas lights in the main square, relaxed on the rooftop and got some of our final souvenirs. 

At night we had some beers and wine on the roof... We mostly ate in cooking up some pasta bakes and one night we even found Camembert... Even though it was made in Bolivia... We took another recommendation for dinner from the same guys and it didn't let us down! A small but busy place tucked around the back of the main square that had a huge gyros flaming at it's door... I had falafel which was delish but Harry had the infamous Pique Macho... A huuuuge (the photo doesn't do it justice) plate of chips, steak and sausage topped with a satay kind of sauce, onions, peppers, egg and cheese. It was unbelievably good but Harry ate way too much and got light headed... Really, he did! Another night we gave in to our fast food cravings and found Tropical Chicken... The best chicken place of all time.. It gives KFC a run for it's money! A bad place to go when you're in Bolivia but it was too good... You get a million sauces with whatever you order and yeah, it was a treat! 

In real life it looked about 3x as big as this!

I think that's about all we got up to in Sucre.. We could have stayed for another four days it was so relaxing but the trip calls and with two nights in Cochabamba and a week in Santa Cruz for one last chill that will be it for our trip! 

Amiee x 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

#travelpost - Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia - The Salt Flats!

To get to the salt flats we needed to take an overnight bus to the town of Uyuni to book our 3 day tour. We arrived super early in the morning so before a lazy day of catching up on sleep and organising our things for the trip we got some brekkie and went tour hunting. We found a good tour agency for £75... You can get cheaper and more expensive but we liked the agency and some of the cheaper ones seemed to cut corners on the quality. The price included three meals a day for three days, accommodation and transport to the salt flats, the barron desert, volcanoes and the coloured lagoons.

Day 1 of the tour started at half 10 where we met the other four in our group and packed everything into the jeep. We were really lucky with our group, we got on so well and were made up of English, Irish, French and Honduran.
So, off we went. 
Our first stop was a strange one... The train cemetery. A huge playground full of rusty old trains that were used to carry minerals to the coast. 

Once we'd had a nosy and climb we jumped back in the jeep and off we went to the salt flats. The hexagon shaped ground lasted for miles, it was crazy. I kept expecting it to be cold because it looked so much like snow and ice but in the sun it was sweltering. 

We had lunch in a hut in the salt flats and afterwards spent what must have been over an hour taking photos and cheesy group shots... It felt like we were there 15 minutes until we checked the time! Time flies when you're having fun. 

When it got into the late afternoon we continued through the flats to Fish Island Isla Incahuasi... A huge island filled with cactus. We spent an hour climbing to the top, admiring the unreal views and making our way back down. This was one of my favourite places of the trip... It made me feel like a big kid in another world. 

When we left it was getting late so we started our two hour drive to our hotel for the night, not before stopping off to catch the sunset although by now the wind had kicked in and we kind of all just wished we'd watched from the car! 
We spent the night in a 'salt hotel' which was hilarious because it was just someone's house with salt all over the floor... We shared a bottle of red over dinner, shared our horror stories from our trips so far Cartagenas mud volcano got a lot of laughs... Moral of the story = don't go and had an early night before another day of crazy sights. 

Day two didn't start too early... We had breakfast at 7 which consisted of a lot of dulce de leche and set off for 8. I won't bore you with a huge description of what we did because the photos speak for themselves but starting from after breakfast we stopped off at one of the many volcanoes on our trip and played around on the lava formations from its last eruption 500 years ago. We visited the most beautiful lagoons and the never ending amount of wild flamingos that stay there until migration season. We finished it off with the highlight of the day Laguna Colorada.. A pink lagoon, again full of flamingos. It was beautiful! 

Our hotel was ten minutes from here and we spent the evening in a shared dorm with our group after dinner and another bottle of red wine and tea and biscuits. 

Day three didn't start quite as well as the day before... We had a four o'clock start after a terrible nights sleep due to the altitude... Almost 5000 meters above sea level. A few of us started the day feeling sick and dizzy... Even the dulce de leche topped pancakes couldn't help us feel better! We set off at 4.45 and saw some geysers... Smelly, steaming geysers. It was so early and it was freeeezing but yeah, they were cool. The Salvador Dali desert followed, named after him because of the strange rocks that resemble his paintings... And then the thermal baths

Before we finished our tour and dropped off the other four at the Chilean border we still had time to see two more lagunas... Laguna Verde and Laguna Blanca. Both looked like paintings and didn't feel real. It was the perfect end to three perfect days of being driven around in a jeep listening to great music, acting like children and not having to worry or think about anything for once! I can honestly say that nothing about the salt flats is overrated... It's by far one of the best places I'll probably ever get to visit.

We said bye to our strangers turned friends as they crossed to Chile and we spent the next 6 hours sleeping and reading back to Uyuni. We had one more night here before we travelled to Potosí the next morning... The highest city in the world! 

Thanks so much for reading! 
Amiee x