Glistening reports had come in from other travellers about Sucre and it certainly didn’t disappoint. It was large and beautiful with many grand buildings and to top things off, we (Kate, Gaëlle and I) had arrived two days prior to the anniversary of Bolivia’s independence and president Evo would also be in residence. As we watched the military band and marching processions take place we were even interviewed by a local radio presenter. There weren’t any restrictions on where we could watch from (other than the road itself) and the proceedings went on and on. Eventually our stomachs dictated our actions and the three of us headed to a French restaurant called La Taverne where we had an excellent meal, steaks beautifully presented in various sauces all round in a professional setting for around fifty five bolivianos each (about five pound fifty).
|The parade announcer|
|The military band|
|Eating in La Taverne Restaurant|
We spent the best part of the next day getting orientated within the city and that included visiting the bustling market. The raw produce was downstairs whereas upstairs we helped ourselves to a nice cheap meal from one of the many cooking pot joints, personally going for the cheap meat casserole and Kate having some chorizo. Gaëlle’s stomach hadn’t been great for some time so she merely had some rice, a local sat with us (this doesn’t usually happen but it was busy) and mentioned that the chorizo would be difficult to digest and that Kate would most likely have the stomach problems from now on! It all tasted delicious and was unsurprisingly very cheap. The rest of the day was spent hanging out in cafes playing the South American dice game of diez mille that we had learned from Chiro the Argentinian on our tour of the salt flats.
|Workers in the market|
|Lots of spuds|
The taxi driver who took us into town from the bus station when we first arrived had recommended ‘7 Lunares’ as a traditional place to eat and this name had cropped up a couple more times since we had been in Sucre. It is a traditional ‘chuquisaqueña’ or restaurant specialising in sausages that had its base in the central market. If we had known it also had a sit down restaurant we may well have headed there but as it turns out we turned up at the market stall where they thrust samples of the delicious pork at us. Kate and I went for the namesake chorizo sandwich which was delicious. Gaëlle opted for some more of the ham that they offered initially. There were many poor people in the market, most of them aged but often children too. Gaëlle felt for an old lady so much that she bought her a sandwich to her immediate delight. The poverty is a consistent and upsetting factor in Bolivia and beggars are on practically every street, it’s impossible to give money to all but if we have leftovers following meals we always hand them out and they never stay in our hands for long. We also try to buy things like chewing gum or any other bits and bobs that we feel we might need from the street sellers rather than bigger shops. My sandwich was so good that I had to go back for seconds, we then walked to an area of the market where they made fruit salads and ‘liquados’ or what we know as smoothies from a selection of fresh fruit.
|Standing outside 7 Lunares in the market|
|Kate enjoying her fruit salad|
Sunday meant taking a bus with the hostel to the town of Tarabuco for their famous clothes market where we intended to do some shopping for ourselves and for some Christmas gifts to send home. It was an early start and a bumpy ride but we were soon walking down a street lined with clothes vendors selling the pirated brands that the local people are so fond of here, whereas the three of us were more interested in the more traditional attire on offer. We had been told to watch out for scams here, the most notorious being a spilling or even spitting scam where whilst trying to clean or dry an affected area after an ‘accident’ you could be lifted of your valuables. I was fully on guard and it didn’t take long for something bizarre to occur. I was about a minute off the bus and walking down the street when a middle aged man walked past in the opposite direction and proceeded to lay a firm hand on my rump as he went past. There was no subtlety there so I have no idea if his intentions were to find a poorly stored wallet or just cop a feel. No damage done, I ignored it and carried on thinking at least it hadn’t happened to Kate or Gaëlle.
|A rather lively statue in Tarabuco Market|
|Me posing in front of some stalls|
|Gaelle haggling with a storeholder|
|Gaelle and Kate showing off their finger puppets|
|Some of the alpaca fur throws on offer|
|Kate enjoying her lunchtime empanada|
Having returned from the market and enjoyed our time in the pleasant capital of Sucre, our next mission was to head to the town of Cochabamba on the overnight bus.