It was such a relief to be out of Potosi. On this trip we pre-booked all of our flights so every day trapped behind roadblocks in southern Bolivia was eating away from our time in Peru. We only had enough time to spend one night in Sucre and although it was out of the way to get back to La Paz any movement felt like progress.
Sucre is a wealthy feeling city with European architectural touches and lots of white washed churches scattered throughout. It was originally built as a retreat for the wealthy who had connections to the Potosi mine but wanted warmer weather and more orderly streets. It was the lowest elevation we had been at in weeks and we enjoyed the warmer weather. The whole place had a very tranquil feel to it.
We passed our time walking the streets and enjoying the parks. One of the larger parks, Parque Bolivar, had replicas of the Eiffel Tower and Arc du Triomphe adding to the European flair. Most of our meals we ate in the large market in the heart of town. Multiple little restaurants were packed side by side into a large room where women would wave us over to sit and eat. The set meals were inexpensive and tasty and we ordered them with peanut soup. For an after meal treat we would either have tumbo juice (a fruit similar to passion fruit) or jello topped with whipped egg whites dotted with ice flecks and sweetened with sugar. Sucre was quickly growing on us. We made the decision right then that if we can, we will return to study Spanish at one of the many cheap language schools and spend some time exploring the smaller towns in the area.
On our second day we went to the bus station to try and sort out a ticket to get us somewhere closer to Peru. Surprisingly we were able to talk the sales girls into giving us a refund on our ticket for the bus from Potosi that never made it to La Paz and use it towards a bus from Sucre to La Paz. We had to wait until six that evening before getting word that the bus was okay to leave later that night. There were a few other Potosi refugees with us on the bus and we all looked at each other hoping that this might finally be the one to get us farther north.
That night we got two flat tires, each one making our Bolivian bus mates more nervous. We had made it out of Sucre and past Potosi but the more time we spent on the road the less likely we were to make it into La Paz before their roadblocks went up. We lost two and a half hours to the tire changes and despite everyone’s skepticism we made it into La Paz without any further trouble. We bought tickets to Peru immediately before anything else could go wrong.