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16-19th February 2015 La Paz, Sucre - Bolivia

  • Bolivia has two capitals. La Paz is the administrative capital of Bolivia, Sucre is the constitutional capital and the seat of the Supreme Court. La Paz is situated over 3,500 m above sea level, lies in a stadium-shaped valley that during the nights makes you feel like as if you were sitting in the bottom of a treasure box. Daylight the city does not look so cool, the wonderful hillsides are full of bare brick houses. The downtown must have been really nice once (one street has been restored as it looked like originally and there are some pretty squares), now it is rather depressing, ruined, and its former beauty is hidden by mass of cables...also the modern buildings make the city featureless. I arrived in the middle of Bolivia's carnival time. I like festivals and to celebrate, but this was rather a loud, tuneless and endless march, a big crowd moving ahead: half of it doing the parade, other half spraying foam and throwing water balloons all around. The streets were smelly and some people as well. To my surprise La Paz had public toilets on almost every corner (mainly in shops), yet many people used the street for that. The carnival had one big advantage: there were many policemen. Still, due to above details I didn't feel like doing much there.
  • ...and almost the same happened in Sucre. I didn't expect that on carnival's days buses don't run from a capital, not even to a city like Sucre. I got to Potosí by overnight bus, where I found out at 5 am that there are no more buses operating that day. I was not the only one surprised by this fact and luckily a group of people shared a big taxi van with me, so a bit later than planned, but I arrived in Sucre, in La Ciudad Blanca de Las Américas (the White City of the Americas).
  • People say, Sucre is Bolivia’s most beautiful city and the symbolic heart of the nation. It is set in a valley surrounded by low mountains and really has well-kept Spanish colonial, whitewashed buildings. There I took some time to recover from the intense pace I had the previous weeks. On my 3rd day there the carnival was over and finally got a chance to see the city in its beauty and everyday life. Yet, I felt tired and overfilled with experiences...