La Ciudad Blanca (The White City)
06.04.2009 - 10.04.2009
My future masters supervisor looked up Sucre on the map and commented it was probably a nice town.
It is indeed quite pleasant here. The name "white city" did not mislead. This is one of the most beautiful cities I have visited in the past two months, if lacking in quality internet cafes. (But then again, what South American city isn´t?) Mind you, it is an exotic (for me) sort of wild beauty created by the green Andean mountains overlapping with the cityscape and clusters of little houses with red brick tile roofs. On the edge of the city, goats pass you by herds as you try to catch your breath from a slow walk at the high altitudes. (Sucre is about 2500m above sea level.) Definitely not the same sense of beauty as the picture perfect, postcard worthy tropical beaches of Florianopolis, Brazil.
At the same time, having once been the national capital, there are colourful and meticulously kept gardens and shiny colonial white buildings with grandeur strewn throughout the city. The market is full of fresh fruits and vegetables, though the actual structure of the building is more befitting of a destruction project. All this gives the city an unexpectedly polished and almost luxurious image. Not bad for a city in the middle of Bolivia, especially after having just passed through more run down cities like Uyuni which seemed hopelessly dusty and makeshift to a stranger´s eyes and the mining town Potosí with its woefully tenuous maintenance of presentableness.
- Caveat: Potosí is the world´s highest city at 4070m above sea level. Uyuni is 3789 meters above sea level. Highest I have been so far was around 5000 m on the first day on the 3 day jeep tour from San Pedro de Atacama, Chile to Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia. (12000 km^2 salt flat! Vast nothing of whiteness!!) Sleeping at about 4500 m in elevation (not to mention with no heating other than the 3 layers of blankets and a sleeping bag in a concret building), I got my first real migrane, which made me throw up twice at 4 am. Ick. Have been fine since, other than having to walk everywhere slowly.