After 10 days traveling on our own, Heidi studying Spanish in Sucre and Gilles discovering the South of Bolivia, we met as planed on Wednesday, November 21st in Potosí, the highest city in the world at 4.070 meters.
Given the altitude, Potosí was rather cold, with daily heavy rain since the rainy season had just begun. On top of that breathing becomes difficult especially when walking uphill … We chose for the first night a strongly recommended hotel in the Lonely Planet, the Hotel de Las Tres Portadas, because it was described as well heated and cozy. It actually turned out to be the most overpriced hotel we have been so far in South America. Well, at least it was heated … So the next day we moved to Residencial Felcar, which had much bigger, much nicer, better heated rooms for less than half the price!
Each of the three evenings we were there, we went and enjoyed the Restaurant 4.060, taking its name from its altitude: great Caipirinhas, excellent food and heated. Most of the customers were Bolivians, with only few tourists, which made it even nicer.
The supposed highlight, the “Casa de la Moneda”, turned out to be relatively disappointing. The museum must be visited in a tour, and the tour was simply overcrowded, with a guide speaking very poor English with an accent almost impossible to understand.
On the other hand, the tour through “Convento Santa Maria” was excellent. During colonial times, the second daughter of an aristocratic family was expected to join a convent at the age of 15, where she lived completely cut off from the outside world.
We also spent quite a bit of time looking for a way to travel from Potosí to Trelew near the Peninsula Valdez in the north of Patagonia, Argentina, more than 3.200 kilometers away. Well, since we did not manage planning in advance, we could not find any suitable solution: flights were too expensive or booked out, travel time by bus unbearable … The fact that there is no airport in Potosí and no competent travel agency did not help either. So we decided to head south on Saturday morning by bus and find a solution once in Argentina…