Leaving Uyuni we head north to Potosi. This was a very wealthy city based on the silver mines which produced the silver for the world and the coins. It is a large city situated on the mountain where the silver was found. The streets were incredibly narrow and steep either up or down! we found a hostel that allowed us to park at the back and charged us for one room which gave us access to a shower. The traffic was dreadful and it was very dangerous just walking along the streets as the wing mirrors were very close. It is at over 4500 metres high and it meant that we were unable to cook because it takes hours to boil anything. The potatoes took 1 hour and still were not cooked! However we found a super hostel that did 4 course meals for £3.50. They were delicious and very filling . Terry and Peter decided to visit the mine which is still being worked and it was not a pleasant trip! it is very hot and narrow underground and you have to virtually crawl, trying not to get hit by the passing wagons. They took presents for the miners which included dynamite and coco leaves, apparently they chew the leaves to help them cope with the conditions. The average life span is 10 years underground. It was a very sobering experience. Leaving Potosi we took a couple of days to reach La Paz . Driving through was a nightmare there are hundreds of mini vans and taxis and small buses, all of which are in a hurry and barely stop to let people off and on. Mind you when we took the bus from the hotel where we are staying to the centre of La Paz, 12 km away, it cost 23 p each! You just stand on the side of the road and flag one down and away you go! It is quite nerve racking just watching
We are staying in the car park of a very nice hotel and for the first time we have met other travellers in Bolivia. It is good to swap stories and to pick each others brains about the different routes. The city is situated in a sort of valley between huge mountains and the scenery is amazing, getting around means going up and down all the time.
Today, Peter and Terry are biking down the "death road", this involves cycling 63 km down from 4700 meters to 1500 meters . It sounds very unpleasant!!!!!
We are going to spend another couple of days here as at the moment there is a dispute between Peru and Bolivia and the border is being blockaded on the Peru side. No one seems to know when it will lift so we are looking at all the different possibilities which will avoid us having to go back to chile and round to Cuzco which would add 1200 km on difficult roads and which we would rather avoid doing as you can imagine
Time is marching on and we are aware that we can't linger too long here. It is good though to be down to 3500 metres and not to be freezing at night!!
We have been so lucky not to be affected by the altitude, unlike Peter and Jackie who find it difficult and who are having to take tablets to help them cope.
Look forward to hearing from all who read the blog
Have a good weekend in Aberdaron we will think of you!!!!!