Bolivia & back to Peru: Sucre & Puno
After Potosi, the city of mines, we continued our trip to Sucre, the actual capital of Bolivia. Sucre is a charming city with a lot of museums and interesting view points. It has also a very pleasant climate being at an altitude of about 2800m, we could finally wear our short sleeves garments and enjoy 5 continuous sunny days.
In Sucre, we visited the Casa de la Libertad, which gives a good overview of the Independence process of Bolivia and other South American neighbouring countries. The place has a beautiful patio and is loaded with a lot of history. It was a renowned university and this is also where the most important agreements and the declaration of Independence were signed.
An also interesting museum is the Museo del Tesoro, an interactive presentation of the gold, silver and gemstones mining in the country. We walked up and down the city for 5 days and enjoyed spending a relaxing time there. We must however confess that we skipped the visit of the convents as we did many before and it seemed that the story behind it, belonging to Jesuits or Dominicans, is almost always the same (follow our visit of Santa Catalina Convent in Arequipa for details)
We left Sucre by plane to first reach La Paz and then back to Peru to Puno. It was some kind of a gamble as again we didn’t know exactly what to expect about the collectivos (interprovincial minivans) from La Paz to the Peruvian border. But after taking 1 taxi-1 plane-1 taxi-1 mini van-getting through the border on foot-1 last mini van, we arrived in Puno by mid-afternoon safe and sound.
We decided 10 days ago to go back to Puno to catch the beginning of the Virgen de la Candelaria Festival. This is a major event in Puno and it starts with a few ceremonies and a large procession of the Virgin in the city’ streets. It mixes up christian rites and indigenous rituals. We spent our entire day following the procession in different parts of the city and spread roses petals to the Virgin for good luck. A lot is going on during this festival, once the procession is done, the brass bands and the dancing groups invade the streets. The celebration will last about 15 days with big parades and one main competition of folklore dances and bands to take place in Puno‘s main stadium Sunday after the procession.
we specifically enjoy
- Sucre: this is a very nice and relaxing city, this is not to be missed and should be included in any Bolivian itinerary.
- Puno: the Virgen de la Candelaria procession, the different cultural associations and companies decorating the streets with coloured woods powder to honour the passage of the procession.
- Sucre: the B&B, la CasArte Takubamba, a nice place set like a small village of white houses with an outdoor kitchen. We went to the market and bought fresh vegetables to cook pasta (twice in a row!)
- Puno: Suites Antonio Hotel, before leaving Puno 2 weeks earlier, we secured rooms this hotel at an affordable place. It was nice to come back and get our delicious palta (avocado-cheese or avocado-ham) sandwich for breakfast!
- Sucre: Condor Cafe, a vegetarian and non-profit restaurant, very nice and inexpensive food.
- Sucre: Cosmo Cafe, Daniel’s favorite, try the Pique a lo Macho, some kind of typical Bolivian dish mixing a lot of different meats (beef, chicken and sausages) and boiled eggs with, of course, fried potatoes.