Posted on August 6, 2015
Horsing Around in Sucre
We are both feeling better and adjusting to the high altitude (9,214 feet above sea level) here in Sucre (pronounced SUE–cray). The thin air makes it harder to breathe and any small amount of incline feels like you’re dragging a dead cow behind you! It is very dry and a bit cool in the mornings and evenings but perfectly comfortable and sunny all day long. Sucre- ‘la ciudad blanca’ or white city, gets it’s name from the municipal regulation that all buildings in the center of town must be whitewashed once a year. We are staying 4 nights at Hostal CasArte Takubamba in a private double room with ensuite and balcony. Clean, comfortable and the king sized bed is an added bonus. The evening we arrived we grabbed a quick dinner at Abis Patio which was a nice place, especially sitting out back in the garden, but we weren’t really into doing anything, since we were still adjusting to the altitude so we just ate and went home to bed.
The center of town is located at Plaza de Mayo 25. A well kept flower-filled park around a stone fountain. It acts as the meeting place of friends, playground for children and a spot for couples to stroll at night. Oh don’t worry we took a night stroll there and we even held hands! Eww gross! Right off the plaza is a great place called Cosmo Cafe. We stopped in for drinks and a bathroom break and gladly used the free wifi while watching the people go by outside. Bonus points earned for having clean bathrooms, free and fast internet and a decently priced menu.
As I write this it seems like all we do is eat, but for lunch we went to a small restaurant called La Taverne and sat in the inner courtyard. Nice place, good food and well priced, so we were happy. After lunch we explored the central market and had so much fun seeing all the unfamiliar fruits, vegetables and spices. It’s always one of my favorite activities in a new town to see what their daily live is like and especially when it comes to food. We had a few laughs over the fact that most practices in the market would never fly in the States. i.e. dog chewing on chicken foot in the aisle, no refrigeration for meats, and people camped out on the dirty floor in front of other venders trying to sell their own goods. It’s a crazy place and a fun way to spend an hour.
Came across the Ethnographic and Folklore Museum as we wandered around town, Not much there, but sort of interesting and free so I guess no harm done. The collection of cultural masks featured traditional headwear of the area tribes and was definitely the highlight of the museum. Here’s a tip, when visiting Sucre keep in mind that museums are closed between 12:00 and 2:30pm so plan accordingly. Cafe Restaurant Florin was our choice for dinner and we just split the ensalada de Van Gogh which was excellent! Great little pub atmosphere and nice beer selection. Finished off the night with a final drink at Bibliocafe Classic and were happy to crawl into bed.
Booked a half day Horseback riding tour through Joy RIde Tourismo ($45 each). After 3 hours in the saddle our butts were super sore especially with all the totting and galloping we were allowed to do. We saw beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and a first hand look into the small villages outside of Sucre. It was disheartening to see all the trash, poverty and hardship and so sweet to see the kids come running to wave and say hello. Things got a bit crazy when we had to avoid packs of barking dogs, pigs, chickens and even some charging bulls! Our guide Johnny was very nice but did not speak english; luckily one of the other riders knew enough and we were able to get by.
Per a Tripadvisor review we ate dinner at a newer restaurant called The Red Lion English Pub. It is a cool space with a very friendly owner that just moved from England a few months ago. On a Tuesday night, however, it was not very busy. The food was excellent and really hit the spot after a long day out on the range. If you get the chance eat here when in Sucre.
We happen to be in Sucre on the 190th anniversary of the Bolivian Liberation from Spain so every day there have been parades, street vendors and performers and a general sense of excitement. I imagine it would be like visiting the US on the 4th of July. We keep laughing as the bands are continuously playing “The Ants Go Marching On” and Europe’s “Final Countdown” which are now permanently stuck on repeat in our heads. Probably the funniest thing we’ve seen so far on this trip are the dancing Zebra crossing guards around town. No lie, people dress up as Zebras and help the school children get safely home. I can only imagine the uproar the public school unions would have if they mandated teachers to do this in the US!!
We planned to go to the Casa de la Libertad (House of Liberty Museum) but it was closed due to the parades and celebrations. So instead we stopped for coffee and soup at the Cosmo Cafe again. We did some research, worked on the blog, listened to the never ending parade (after 3 hours it was still going strong!) and made plans for the rest of our day.
We painstakingly hiked up the steep narrow streets to the Museum of Indigenous Art– ASUR ($25 each) and we were glad we did because it as it was a very interesting and informative museum. There are 3 main cultures here in Bolivia and each have their own unique designs, patterns and colors. One is focused on the sky or heavens, another on real life or earth and the last one on the underworld. Unfortunately they don’t allow cameras inside, so you’ll have to see it for yourself!
Just a few yards past the museum is the lovely Cafe Mirador. Large umbrellas and sling back lounge chairs allow for optimal relaxation in the bright sunshine while we enjoyed the sweeping views of the city below. A wonderful place to rest our tired legs and enjoy a beer.