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bolivia, the altiplano
Written by sophie et jeremy   
Monday, 06 November 2017

We arrive in the heart of the country, in the altiplano and its surreal landscapes, huge temperature differences, its UNESCO cities, and its lamas!

scenic lamas scenic lamas

Sucre is an, all white, nice colonial town. As we are at 3500m high, we thought we could breath some fresh air, but we are soon asphyxiated by diesel gas coming from the many city buses! Still, Sucre is a relaxating city, where we like to take our time, visit the market, handcrafts shops and a very good french-bolivian restaurant which serves tasty chocolat cake and tiramitsu.

sucre 1 sucre 1 sucre 2 sucre 2

marche marche

After some hesitations, we then decide to take a side road across the « Cordillera de los Frailes », land of the Jalqu'a minority. Probably one of our best idea, as the road is stunning! In the middle of the multicoloured mountains and deep canyons, are hidden some isolated villages.

cratere cratere chaunaca 1 chaunaca 1

chaunaca 2 chaunaca 2 cordillera cordillera

The road, pretty broken, is clearly impassable during the rainy season (we've heard there's more than one meter of water in the fords). Our friend Evo, started some roadworks to open to the outside world this area, but meanwhile the road is closed during the construction and we have to wait for the workers'lunch break to get through! We also spend our first night at 4200m (without headache) in the middle of a lama herd. Early morning, frozen under our 3 layers of clothes, gloves and hat, we meet the shepherd, walking barefoot in slippers. We continue the road with an old lady in her traditional dress on the back seat, who had missed the ony daily bus.

cordillera 2 cordillera 2 cordillera 3 cordillera 3

cordillera 4 cordillera 4 cordillera 5 cordillera 5

evo si evo si

Driving out of this incredible valley, we stop at the « Ojo del Inca » hot spring, where we splash the whole afternoon in a natural hot water pool, surrouned by a grandiose landscape.

ojo del inca ojo del inca

The next day we stop in Potosi, highest city of the world at 3977m, and once the biggest city of the spanish empire, thanks to its silver mines. Sadly, there's nothing much left today of its magnificence, even if there's still some ore extracted from the Cero Rico , which overlooks the city. Today is sunday, and we take the advantage and visit the mine with a former mineworker (a bit drunk), far from the other tourists and the common operation of the mine. It's impressive, cold and dark, but we had some laugh with our unique guide !

mine 1 mine 1 mine 2 mine 2

On the road to Uyuni and its famous salar, we catch a glimpse of some gorges, dunes and lamas herds which go around by thousands !

lamas lamas

scenic route scenic route montagne rouge montagne rouge

 

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