Back Roads of Bolivia

Ok, just one more quick video from the Salar. Our tour guide Markus made this one, a true horror classic.

And one last (I promise) silly picture of us balancing on a shoe string.

With all the fun behind us we found our way back to Sucre and our favorite hotel. Remember I said we had the best room in the house? Here is a pic, we had the whole top floor. Trust me, not all our accommodations are so luxurious but we’ll take it when we can.

And a super nice restaurant with really good food.  

Serendipity

Also as mentioned in the last post we met Marco Birchler at Casa de Turismo across the street from the hotel. He had a recommend route that went into the Bolivian mountains and included the Ruta del Che, named after Ernesto “Che” Guevara, but more on that later. Deby and I were in Marco’s shop inquiring about the accomadations he recommended along the way. One of them, Posada Casa del Telegrafista in La Higuera was an small place run by a French woman. According to my map this little pueblo was 15Km off the main (dirt) highway at the end of a dead end road. After some discussion about needing a reservation he called her on her cell phone to see if she had a room available. Sure she said…. she would be right over! She was in Sucre for the day with her boyfriend and was a block away in the main square. Literally two minutes later Aude walked in the door with her boyfriend, who is also from France, Jacques. It get’s better…. they are travelling two up on a big Yamaha Super Tenere. It’s a two day ride to their hotel, would we like to join them? Sure, a personal guide with local knowledge who speaks the language? So, that is how we ended up spending the next three adventure filled days with Aude and Jacques. We made plans to leave the next afternoon.

That gave us more time to wander around the city one last time. We were getting close to the annual Carnival celebration and there were almost daily parades and activities in and around the main square.

Who doesn’t love a parade? People from all the surrounding villages come into the big city to march and represent their communities. Everyone was having a great time, including us.

Saw this on a 125cc motorcycle. I guess Harley doesn’t bother with enforcing their branding down here. 

In the main square there were about a half dozen of these kids, all well under 10 years old, doing chalk drawings on the sidewalks for money. 

Some were really good. Can you imagine how good an artist you would be after doing this everyday since the age of six? Deby was quite generous with her appreciation of the art.

Saturday February 18, 2017

On the road with our new friends. The Bolivian countryside is amazing, with green mountains everywhere and narrow twisty roads. We started out on nice pavement and pleasant temperatures in the 70’s. A good start to the day.

I don’t think there is a straight road in this part of Bolivia. 

We were behind this bus for a while and for once I didn’t really want to pass. I was glad it caught up with us at a stop so I could get this picture. 

The road eventually turned to gravel but it was nicely maintained as we wound through the hills. 

We ended up in the small village of Villa Sarrano, population 2,877. Aude was friends with the owners of the Hostel San Miguel so we pulled in for what ended up being two nights.

The secure parking is, of course, in the lobby of the hotel. Something we were quite used to by this time. We wait until we’ve had some beer and it gets dark before loading the bikes for the night. 

Easy….

Here is Jacques and I congratulating ourselves on a job well done storing the bikes. 

I didn’t mention that Jacques and Aude don’t really speak much English, they speak French and Spanish. It’s no problem because we can get by with basic stuff with our limited Spanish. At dinner we were trying to explain where Seattle is in broken Spanish when I hear a voice behind be in perfect English say, “It’s near Vancouver.” Hey! I turn around and meet Jean, a French Canadian from Quebec. We invite him to join us and immediately becomes our translator jumping between his native language of French, his perfect English and his third language of Spanish. Here is Jean and Jacques.

Jean is a totally interesting guy, he’s been in the pig industry his whole life. His father was a pig farmer and that’s what he always knew he would be. He was in this little town working on a joint Canadian, Bolivian project to open a slaughterhouse for pigs. I think he was just as glad to see us as we were to see him. He gave me his business card where he has the title, “Economic Coordinator – Swine Production.”

That night the rain starts, and doesn’t stop. Just after midnight we wake up to torrents of rain hitting the roof, loud cracks of lightning and building shaking thunder. A thoroughly impressive display that I would say surpassed the massive thunderstorms of my youth in Wisconsin. It didn’t take long for the power to go out.

Sunday February 19, 2017

No power, but that didn’t stop the hotel from finding breakfast and coffee (instant) for us. Slowly we all filtered down to the little restaurant to evaluate our plans for the day. Jean, who had been there a while and knew the roads said travel would be out of the question. With rain that hard the roads would be a mess with washouts and mud everywhere. Aude concurred, the road to her hotel would be impassable. We looked at each other and decided the best course of action would be to stay put in Villa Seranno.

Here is the view from our room, not quite the same as in Sucre but pleasant enough. 

Luxury accommodations, not bad for about $25 USD.

So we spend the day exploring the town, went to the market and took pictures in a few shops. Here is a shoe shop, sandals are pretty popular here. 

These are made out of recycled tires. 

We went for a walk across the suspension bridge and hiked up the small mountain you see for a view of the city. 

A pretty impressive little town from above. 

Common construction, stone, mud, wood. 

Nice looking cow. 

This is an ant hill. It’s great to have Jean along with us because he knows a lot about agriculture and animals. He said these ant hills are so hard they damage the plows in the fields and cause problems. 

Back in town we look at some of the construction techniques. We saw this many places in Bolivia, it must work. 

This picture was in the hotel. Must be the same (famous?) artist that painted the bus.

I’ll stop all the excitement here. The next few days were true adventure as we connect with the ghost of “Che”.

Thanks for following

Donn and Deby

3 thoughts on “Back Roads of Bolivia

  1. Buena ….! Its nice when you don’t have to search for accommodations at the end of the day … I remember the ‘transplants’ in Chile and Peru … was always interesting talking to them … those that were there many many years couldn’t speak their native language too well or Spanish either …. But when they spoke .. there was always wisdom/ depth in their words .. . Have to confess I’ve been looking at some other biker blogs too … Have fun … que se divierten!

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