Wowzas it has been a long time since we updated this - had trouble finding enough time and internet unfortunately! Fear not though, I´ll write everything in now!
So the rest of Potosi was pretty cool. We explored and went to a viewpoint where we had lunch and then there was a huge hailstorm (which the roof didn´t keep out!), and we met up with some people we´d met in Santiago which was nice! We then headed off to Sucre. In Sucre we visited a lot of museums including one with baby fetuses in at different stages of development (and some that were deformed from the water level changing in their tanks and ended up looking like pancakes...). Sucre is probably the nicest place we´ve visited in Bolivia, with white-washed buildings, clean streets, no grafitti etc. We went to a Bolivian folkdance show that evening with Radka which was surprisingly good with lots of colourful traditional clothing and almost like being at a carnival. We also visited a castle just outside Sucre which used to be owned by a wealthy couple who turned it into an orphanage which was a nice story! The last thing we did in Sucre was visit the dinasour museum and waterfalls. The museum had a HUGE wall of dinosour tracks that were uncovered whilst the quarry was digging, although is now being destroyed by the quarrys explosions! We then trekked for about 3 hours through some spectacular bolivian countryside to some waterfalls, which me and Ralph had a swim in then sunbathed with Radka and our guide! All in all Sucre was a winner.
We then left Radka (and so had to attempt Spanish ourselves again) and got the bus to Cochabamba. In heinsight we could have missed this place out. After the hassle of finding a hostel at 6am, all Cochabamba had to offer was a giant staue of Jesus on a hill and a lovely Paris themed coffee shop! The next day, we left.
Sooo after a pretty uncomfortable nights journey to La Paz, we arrived at 7am and sat around in a rooftop bar (not drinking I´ll add!) until I discovered a show called Cholitos wrestling - female wrestling! It was hilarious! It began with some very staged males fighting, then a woman came out and got beaten up (although this was pretty uncomfortable to watch despite it being staged), she was thrown over the fencing into the audience at one point! The next fight was the funniest with the man having fencing thrown on him etc, it sounds violent but it was well planned out. We also got free beer at the hostel which was brewed there and was pretty good! Over the next few days we explored the witches market (which sells llama fetuses as good luck!, the coca museum, and observed the protests going on which involved a lot of police, tear gas, and dynamite being set off all the time! We visited Tiwanaku, a pre-inca site that they dont know a lot about as they haven´t got the funding for the archaologists to uncover most of it, very spiritual place though with thousands descending on it on the 21st of June to celebrate my birthday, and also winter solstice...!
Our next activity deserves its own paragraph - we biked down the World´s most dangerous road, as shown on Top Gear! A new road was opened in 2006 as about 500 people a year were dying on Death Road due to it being so narrow and fragile! I actually felt quite nervous when we began but once we were in our gear and on the road it was okay. The first part involved riding down a concrete road quite fast towards the road, through the rain and mist. After some snacks we hit Death Road. It´s quite weird actually as you´re concentrating so hard on not hitting the huge rocks in the road that you dont notice the HUGE drop down about half a metre away from you! It helped that it was raining and very foggy so we couldn´t really see anyway (even though the guidebook says not to do it in the rain!). The weather gradually improved and we went faster and faster, I was actually quite impressed by how fast I was going as I was just behind Ralph! I did fall into a river crossing at one point which was hilarious ( I completely blame ralph for slowing down too much ahead of me!). We also passed some locals pulling up a bus that had fallen off the side 4 days before, thankfully the driver survived though! Awesome awesome experience though and one of the most amazing things we´ve ever done! Also got a tshirt to prove we did it!
After hearing good reviews, we flew off to Rurrenabaque to do a Pampas tour in the Amazon. This was simply incredible. The aeroplane we went on was tiny, only holding 18 people with full views of the pilots. It only took half an hour but we passed over the snow capped mountains then the rainforest. After a long and very bumpy journey in a car with a smashed windscreen, we arrived at the pampas where we got on a motorised canoe! This took us around the pampas and we saw lots of monkeys, including some that got on our boat!, camens and lots of birds. Our home was a collection of wooden huts on stilts which was beautiful and had a great room of hammocks. We then went to a bar (again on stilts) and the mosquitos descended as the sun went down. This was pretty uncomfortable and I was quite glad to get into our mosquito nets around our beds! After supper we then got on our wellies and went to hunt for camens! By shining our lights into the water we found about 3 camens, and also saw a huge one that the owners of the bar had killed just before we arrived for food! Thankfully none of them jumped out at us despite how close we got. Just as we were about to get back on the boat our guide, Roberto, spotted an anaconda underneath the bar building, a metre away from us! eeeek!
The next day I got up at 5.50am with 3 others to go and see the sunrise and listen to animals. This was really good as we heard the howler monkeys and saw an anteater type of animal in a tree which was apparently really rare to see! We saw lots of dolphins too which was lovely. After breakfast we went hunting for anacondas (thats right!). In almost waist deep water in places, we walked, or in my case slipped, along for about half an hour secretly hoping we didn´t find any anacondas. We then reached an island that had cows on and lots of mosquitos , and our guides went searching for anacondas whilst we laughed at people falling in the mud! They found a baby one and a big one in a tree which was pretty cool, and also found a tarantula in a tree which we all got to see. In the afternoon we went piranaha fishing. This began quite unsuccessfully as the fish just ate the beef and not the hook (smart things), although one guy caught a catfish! That evening we all lazed in the hammocks chatting, and ralph got absolutely raped by mosquitos all over his legs!
Our last day was perfect too. We got up and went swimming with pink dolphins (what a life we lead). It was a bit scary jumping into brown water but was pretty cool when the dolphins appeared a metre away from you! Our guide was swimming around scaring people so once we managed to get him back in the boat we went piranha fishing again, and this time Ralph caught a piranha! He now likes fishing apparently! We then had to leave paradise (through the day at least) and headed back to shore for another bumpy journey in car that wasn´t designed for that sort of terrain back to Rurrenabaque.
Our flight back to La Paz was pretty bumpy so I was incredibly glad to land! We caught a taxi directly to the cemetary and got a bus to Copacabana, which involved getting out the bus and crossing Lake Titicaca at one point. This meant we travelled by land, air and water all in one day! Got a hostel and crashed for the evening. The next day we caught a boat to Isla del Sol, an island on Lake Titicaca. The lake itself is stunning and seems endless. As for the island, it wasn´t quite what we expected. The north involved us looking at a museum and walking to a ´temple´which was more some walls, then back again, and the south was just an Inca staircase to some Inca springs, ie 5 minutes up some stone steps to see 3 water holes. Bit disappointed with it but the views of the lake were amazing.
And finally, the next day we headed to Puno in Peru. After a very slack border crossing, we arrived in Puno, got a hostel and had a wander round and got some food. Today we went to find kayaks to go on Lake Titicaca, but instead found some swan pedalos and went around on that for a while! Hopefully checking out the floating islands and might do a bike ride with Ralphs friends.
Its been a pretty crazy few weeks but we´ve absolutely loved it. VERY excited for the next few weeks with the Inca trail and Machu Pichu, the Nazca lines and my masters interview which I´ve still not found a phone for...should be fun!
Missing you all, lots of love!