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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by BcDano, Jul 19, 2012.
That will be great!!
The good news for today was that the 210 km out of Uyuni to the north and Potosi was paved! There is a 5 Bs toll here too. Leaving the salt we had 20 km of the dirt and then smooth pavement. We were again lucky here as we met a couple later, who were trapped in Uyuni for 5 days because of blockades sometime after we left.
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The drive is amazing with ups and downs between 4200m and 3700m.
Potosi at 4000 m is one of the highest cities in the world.
It was founded in 1546 after huge silver deposits were discovered in Cerro Rico. Estimates of between 2 and 8 million indigenous laborers and African slaves perished in the mines in the 300 years of colonial rule. Despite the fact that it is a collective the working conditions in the mine are still terrible and most miners die of silicosis in their 40’s. About 10,000 people still work in the mine every day. Silver was depleted in the 1800, but other rare metals are now mined.
Driving in this city is crazy. The roads are very narrow and some are extremely steep. It is a bit of a rabbit warren. We finally did locate a hotel not to far from the square with very hot water and a heater. We did a small tour of the area on foot and then retreated for a rare evening of English TV!
The hotel was just up the block from the Convent and Museum of Santa Teresa. The entry fee is 21 Bs or about 3.50$ and photo taking is 1.60$ for an over 2 hour tour in English and is well worth it.
The Convent was founded in 1685 and is still the home to 6 Carmelite nuns (age 23 to 55), who live in a new building next door. One of them is an architect that has directed the restoration project to convert the old Convent into the museum. The guide was excellent and explained how the wealthy colonial families sent their second daughter into the convent at age 15.
The nuns were allowed to have visits with their families. Before 1962 they could only hear their family, but not see or touch them. After that they removed the barrier so they could see and touch them through the barrier.
Another way they were prevented from contact with the outside world was these spinning wheels. They were used to pass items to the priests and sell items to the public outside.
Then you go into the entry room where these girls said their last goodbye to their families and the outside world.
Entry into the convent was allowed only if a dowry was paid and was the equivalent of 100,000 USD in cash, land, real estate, and art. Many of these items are on display.
The gorgeous gowns the girls wore into the convent they reworked into vestments for the priests.
The building itself is stunning as is the artwork.
The tour includes the renovated church.
The nuns spent their entire life inside the convent and are in fact buried here under the floor of the prayer room. The founding nun of the order has a crypt and monument.
The 156 km drive from Potosi to Sucre is paved and incredible over the high mountains and plateaus.
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We passed through another toll and the ladies there were very interested in where we had come from.
On the way there were several castle like buildings in the middle of nowhere.
Sucre is said to be the most beautiful city in Bolivia and is considered the symbolic heart of the country. It has many white washed buildings hence its nick name the white city.
Our Moto concierge Charlie was checked into a cheep and nice Hostal 2 blocks from the square and where we could park our bikes in the courtyard. Lulu fit in just, but Dan had to remove a pannier to get in the door. This is where the mini metal tape measure his mom gave him comes in very handy.
We did a small walking tour of the city center and climbed up onto the roof of a fancy hotel for an amazing view. You can also pay to get into the convent school and climb up the bell towers and onto the roof.
Since today is Sunday we headed to the nearby town of Tarabuco for the famous Sunday market.
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Many people here are wearing traditional Yampara costumes. It is only 66 km by the route 6, which we found was blocked 10 km out of town for a car rally and so is 76 km away via rt5 and 10 k very bad dirt connector to rt6. The round trip was 144 km.
The main square was filled with vendors selling traditional wares for tourists, but all the side streets were packed with vendors selling almost anything you can think of to the people who have come from the surrounding villages. The most interesting were the women with the bowler type hats and those with the caps with the fringe of white beads. We hung out just people watching until the road was open at 2 pm. Daniel made friends with two of the male vendor and talked with them for hours.
Back in Sucre the guys checked out the very good local artisanal beer sold by a Belgian restaurant and then we had dinner for the second night in a row at the very good French restaurant La Taverna. They have amazing steaks with NYC service and presentation.
Just catch up on your RR Sara and Daniel, wow you have been everywhere in SA.
Great funny pics in Uyuni
Youre offroad master rider now Sarah !
Youre tire repair master now Daniel !
-6 days !
Saludos amigos !
Awesome report. I have been following for a while and encouraged enough that I will leave in August (start in Colombia) for 8 months. Thanks for paving a great road!
In the photos, it seems you have a stabilizer. Do you find yourself using it much? By the looks of the sandy stuff, it seems great to have and I am trying to balance the need for my trip.
Cheers to you both!
Can not wait to see you guys thursday! Riding gear will be packed. Hugs to F & F!!!
S & D
Congratulations!!!!! Colombia is the perfect place to start for 8 months. We head home this week to work for 4 months, but we will be back in SA at the end of October and in Brazil.
We both have Scott's stabilizers and they are awesome. We don't need it all the time, but when we do they are a life saver. For deep gravel and sand for sure, but more important are the unexpected hazards on the pavement.
Also get some good ear protection we use HDblockers.
Send us a link to your RR when you start up!!
Now we need to get back to Peru ASAP. This meant back tracking the 156 Km on the RN 5 to Potosi and then going 303 km north on the Pan-American to Oruro.
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The entire distance is under construction with constant desvios (detours). We cannot understand why they dont just do the road in 20 km stretches to completion and then move on. Now there is 300 km of mayhem. There are a huge number of transport trucks and busses too all belching black smoke. We saw some snow on the way too.
Now we are in striking distance of the border.
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The RN 1 goes directly thru La Paz. The road conditions are pretty bad and there are hundreds of mini busses jostling for position and passengers. We had decided to try to bypass as much of the city as possible and took the Rt 9 southwest to Viacha. There is then a connector road back to the RN 1 at the indigenous town of Laja.
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This is 20 km of dirt or as it was today mud for much of it. The dryer parts had two tracks to ride on except when the transport trucks were oncoming and you had to pull off onto the muddy shoulder. That said the first few km and then a few deep mud sections after this were the worst.
The town of Laja is filled with people in traditional costumes. This was actually at one time the capital of Bolivia.
These cactus look just like Saguaro, which I thought only existed in the Sonora Desert. Any idea what they are?
Great ride report, thanks for taking us along.:
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Hey Tyler I am not sure, but they are HUGE!
Then it was only another 35 km to Tiwanaku.
This town is set on the Altiplano as is the ruins of the ancient city of Tiwanaku or Tiahuanaco.
It was founded 3000 years ago and lasted about a thousand years and had a population of about 50,000. In Bolivia and Peru the highlands and lowlands are divided by an imaginary northwest-southeast axis aligned by water bodies, making Tiwanaku the axis point. The city was the center of Andean civilization and was the inspiration for the Inca Empire.
The site is fairly nice with signs and a guide paper in English.
There was an amazing sunken plaza where the walls were covered with stone masks.
There are several nice arches and statues too.
There is also a museum housing artifacts of ceramic.