We went to Sucre originally planning on spending 4 nights but there was something special about this laid back Bolivian city that made it very difficult for us to leave. So, after 8 nights these were our five favourite things about Sucre…
1. The food markets
Chris loves food. Especially local food. In particular local food where local people eat it. So, it was like Christmas morning for Chris when we found the first food market just outside our hostel (Mercado Central). There was an impressive line of little shops selling traditional Bolivian food (each behind the same coca-cola sign proudly displaying the name of the woman preparing the food). We each had a soup and Chris had a main course and the whole thing cost BOB14 (less than £1,40). Amazing!
We then heard about a bigger market (Mercado Campesino) 15 minute walk out of the center of Sucre so we set off on Sunday to explore it. Again, it was full of delightful looking fruit, juice and homemade food.
I am expecting Chris to follow this blogpost with one with a lot more detail on the tasty food he tried throughout Sucre.
2. Visiting the theatre
Sucre has three theatres. We kept walking passed the one close to the center (just off plaza 25 Mayo) and the ‘this is obviously a comedy’ poster for the play lured us into the box office. The ticketing system is hilariously archaic. The have a wooden diagram of the theatre with a hole in the wood for each seat. The ticket for that seat is then rolled as small as possible and stuck into the whole. So, when we chose our seats we were handed the rolled up pieces of paper from inside the hole.
The theatre itself was tiny – a small raked stalls section and then a series of boxes (each holding 4 people) on 2 levels. Finally, there is a gallery in the rafters. We chose the back seats of the stalls since Chris is a giant in Bolivian terms and we didn’t want to block anyone’s view. Despite the fact it was a late show (eventually starting after 10pm although billed to start at 21:30) it was packed with children of all ages. They even had some children sitting in the aisle and in front of the only fire exit – I don’t think the show is ever ‘sold out’ – there is always space for one more family.
The play was hilarious and while we didn’t understand most of the words (as expected, it was all in Spanish and, as feared, we are not yet fluent), we understood the plot and enjoyed the noisy, haphazard Bolivian experience.
3. Dinosaur footprints
By a stoke of luck, Sucre discovered a large set of dinosaur footprints on the outskirts of town. The story goes that many years back, Sucre experienced a severe earthquake. The city needed to rebuild itself (this time using concrete) so they set up a concrete factory outside the city. While the workers at the factory were working in the quary they discovered a large wall with prints in them. This turned out to be a collection of 100s of footprints of dinosaurs! Conveniently, the movements of the earth had caused them to lift so now the footprints are seen on an upright wall – much easier for tourists. Unfortunately, part of the wall recently collapsed so now they can only be viewed from afar. Still, we found it very exciting to peer at real life dinosaur footprints. And the brightly coloured life size dinosaur models only added to the fun!
4. Taking Spanish Classes
When we realised how much we liked Sucre we decided we should sign up for more Spanish classes – this would give us a reason to stay for at least a week. We signed up for semi private classes (just Chris, me and a teacher) with http://www.latinoschool.com/html/sucre.html for an initial 20 hours (4 hours a day for 5 days) but liked our teacher Lili so much that we stretched it our for another 2 days. Hopefully, we are slowly improving with this Spanish learning!
5. The white buildings
I’ve made this point number 5, hoping that no on notices that architecture always appears on our favourite things list! Oh well, when the city is full of such beautiful white washed buildings you can’t help but include it on the list.
And a special mention for…
People dressed in zebra suites
In an attempt to help children, old people and tourists cross Bolivia’s dangerous roads safely there is some sort of initiative whereby students dress up as zebras and tell people when its safe to cross. (Although on at least 2 occasions I could stuck behind and enthusiastic zebra and was still in the middle of the road when the lights changed and the danger increased.)