The trip from La Paz to Sucre had a pleasant surprise, it was 12hours instead of 15. That´s about the only pleasant thing on this bus though, It was cold and uncomfortable, Bolivians have a strange concept of Bus Cama (literally: bus bed, a premium service) - I´d hate to see économico´. Just a couple of miles outside of the city we had a taste of things to come when we were thrown off the bus, had to grab our rucksacks and had to walk through a blockade. Turns out it was only a couple of hundred metres and there were collectivo taxis waiting on the other side. If only this had been the worst of it. The only problem with the bus arriving early was that it was 7:30am and th hostel we planned to stay at, Hostel Amigo, had a rather unfriendly 12:30pm check in time. We reluctantly agreed to this and left our bags to go off and find breakfast. We inadvertantly found a much nicer hostel that would let us check in there and then (about 8:30) so we sheepishly went back to tell the other hostel we were leaving, they weren´t impressed!
After a shower we stumbled across the best thing in Sucre, ´Capital Cafe´- easily the best cafe we´ve been to anywhere on our trip (even better than Brown Bread Bakery in Varanasi).They had amazing cake for 4BS but it was all about the shakes, including an iced coffee that puts Starbucks to shame, and for a mere 30p. It was made even better by the atmosphere, bizarrely this coffee shop was the most happening place in town and we had to queue most times we went (which was a lot!).
That afternoon we rode the Dino Truck to the Dinosaur Park which had to be the worst $800,000 that Bolivia has ever spent. The highlight is the dinosaur footprints that are preserved in a quarry and can be seen from a vantage point. They are impressive for about 2minutes but thats when things get a bit surreal. The rest of the park is a collection of life size roaring dinosaurs. Its one of those bizarre things that make a funny memory (and a good photograph) - i don´t think the Aussie lawyers that were with us were at all impressed though.
Our second day in Sucre was spent exploring the city, drinking more iced coffee and hiking up to the mirador overlooking the city for a great view. We´d decided that the following day we would do some kind of adventure activity and decided on some mountain biking that took us to some waterfalls and a country house for a bbq. We arrived for 10am the following morning and got acquainted with our bikes (something neither of us had done for years). We knew there was uphill involved but weren´t prepared for the sheer amount of it, this much exertion at altitude is exhausting. Nat and Jess (one of the people in our group) took the sensible option and rode in the safety car for a while. Reaching the downhill section was a welcome relief, a very fast welcome relief. It was kind of a shame that the easy and most fun part of the ride was over so fast. All in all it was pretty rewarding though. After arriving at the country house we hiked up to the waterfalls which involved a bit of scrambling to reach one that actually had reasonably deep water (it is the dry season). Then came the obligatory jumping in, not just because its fun but because you physically can´t get round it without jumping off. My god it was cold, but lots of fun. Later on, back at the country house we had a bbq with the biggest steak ever. A good day all round.
It just so happened that the other people on our trip were part of an Intrepid tour group, with a guide. Given that all of Sucre was now blockaded by various groups (we lose track of whos protesting over what in Bolivia), having a guide to help us out was pretty useful. Sebastian, their guide, had said that we were more than welcome to get taxis out with them the following day. First though we all went out that night and I managed to find myself a well deserved Erdinger. Later we went to a salsa/reggaton club (I´d love to find a club that plays anything else in the Andes). Bizarrely we got REM´s ´Losing My Religion´ in the middle of all the salsa and reggaton, we still don´t quite understand that. The following day we found out that we´d be leaving at 6pm (its nice to have someone else to make our decisions for a change). We spent some time at Sucre´s famous cemetery where most of the country´s key figures are buried. Most bodies here are kept inside walls and families have a small cabinet in which to keep tributes and mementoes. It had recently been mothers day and many singing cards had been left which were now wearing out, leaving a really eerie noise across the vast cemetary.
Fortunately we made it out as the blockades cleared and four hours later we were in Potosi.