More delayed than I hoped, a new post. We have been back two months now, I’ve managed to get a job and we have moved back to Liverpool. The adjustment to working again (plus driving) has left me a bit wrecked in the evenings so I’ve not had the energy to pick this up again. Hoping to get one a week (at least) for the rest of the summer though.
On the afternoon of the 19th March with Gav still covered in dust from the mine headed for the capital of Bolivia, Sucre (it’s the administrative capital, the defacto capital is La Paz). It’s a small but very beautiful city and yes it is another UNESCO World Heritage city, a fine example of 16th Century Spanish colonial style mixed with local architectural influence.
Although the city is very pretty our main reason (well mine really) for coming here though was to see the largest collection of dinosaur footprints in the world at the Cal Orck’o cliff. Yeah we live life on the edge. The park is located in the grounds of a cement factory, which is still working at the base of the cliff. The footprints date to the Late Cretaceous Period 68 million years ago when Sucre was covered with a soft clay bed at the edges of a huge ocean inlet which cut through a vast section of northern South America. However due to the movements of the plates and the raising of the Andes mountains, the sea receded, the clay dried and the footprints left by the giant beasts hardened to stone and were covered with layers of sediment. The once flat clay beach was transformed into an almost vertical limestone cliff 3000m above sea level! They were only discovered in the 90s when the local cement company Fancesa was digging away next to it (they still are in fairness), they stopped short of the layers containing the footprints as the material was not suitable for making concrete. The footprints were finally exposed when earthquakes, rain and gravity had their way revealing 5055 perfectly preserved dinosaur footprints of over 10 species. There is even a 347 m trail (world record-breaking in length actually) left by a baby T-Rex nicknamed “Johnny Walker”.
Back in 2010, a section of the wall broke off destroying some of the prints but revealing another layer underneath. It is believed that there are multiple layers of tracks below the visible layer.
We only spent 2.5 days in Sucre. There is not much here but the architecture is in exceptionally good state
In between wandering around (and finally trying some proper Bolivian food-more on that later) we had to sort out our onward travel to La Paz. Our hostel (Cruz de Popayan) wanted to charge us 160 BOB (£16/ $24) for a cama seat with no toilet on the bus. Nope. So we got a taxi to the bus station with the chattiest driver (he spoke English which helped) and got our “cama” bus for 120 BOB pp with a toilet. In fairness I try to avoid using the toilet on these buses but best to have one just in case.
We also wandered into another parade, this time not a religious one. We were here in the lead up to the 23rd March (Semana del Mar). Which in Bolivia is Día del Mar is an annual celebration in Bolivia which observes the loss of Litoral Province 1879–1883 War of the Pacific with Chile. The loss of coastal territory, resulting in a landlocked Bolivia, is a deep scar on the Bolivian psyche and they consider this week an opportunity to reiterate its claims for access to the Pacific Ocean. Bolivia has brought Chile to the UN International Court of Justice in the Hague over access. There was a fairly emotive parade on as you can see below.
And finally the foods of Sucre.
It was a short but sweet visit to Sucre and after 2.5 days here it was time to head off the administrative capital of Bolivia, La Paz. That evening we got a bus – it was semi cama not the cama we were used to. I was less than impressed but we had heard that this might happen here. The way back was via Potosi and I was so glad for the coca leaves that I still had from Potosi as the 1,300 m increase from 2,800 m to 4,100 m once again made me feel sick, but a few leaves and I felt fine and managed to sleep. Twelve hours later we pulled into La Paz bus station…..