Our time in the states was extended a few days as Lisa’s work asked her to stay a bit longer to work a few shifts in a nearby ER. The company gladly rearranged flights for both Lisa and Kevin to accomodate the new schedule.
We arrived back in La Paz after 16 hours of travel (missing a night of sleep in the process) only to figure out that our only option to get to our next destination was via a night bus. This meant that we had approximately 12 hours in La Paz before getting on a 12 hour bus ride to Sucre. Since neither of us sleep particularly well on buses and we were already a bit sleep deprived, this was not the most ideal itinerary but we didn’t see many ways around it as we were eager to get on with the next phase of our travels.
We spent most of our 12 hours in La Paz walking around the city, figuring that it was much easier to stay awake if we were vertical and moving. The bus ride was fairly uneventful and we arrived in Sucre blurry eyed and ready to find a bed. Unfortunately, our hostel in Sucre was full and we were unable to check in until the early afternoon. So yet again we decided to do an improvised tour of the town to keep ourselves awake. We visited the central square, a couple parks, and the cemetery which boasted many famous inhabitants. As Sucre is the official capital of Bolivia, it had some beautiful buildings and parks to walk through.
Once our room at the hostel was available we took a nap for a couple hours before continuing our tour of the city. We walked up to a vista point at a church over looking the city. We sat and talked until the sunset and watched the lights of the city come on.
The next day we got back on a bus and headed for Uyuni, the jumping off point to see the famous salt flats of Bolivia. Unfortunately, a couple hours into our bus ride we found ourselves in the middle of another road blockage. We seem to have a talent at choosing to take buses on days when large groups of people decide to demonstrate their right to organized protest. We were unsure what they were protesting but we sat on the bus for quite a while debating our various options. About half of the inhabitants of our bus jumped ship and decided to head back to Sucre or try to walk past the road block and see if they could find transportation on the other side. We however, didn’t have a place to go to in Sucre or in Uyuni so we decided to stick it out. About 5 hours later we started moving, and 5 hours after that we arrived in Uyuni.
Often we won’t arrange a hostel before we arrive in a city, either because we can’t find enough information online, or we aren’t sure when we will actually arrive. This is often complicated but the fact that we don’t know the layout of the town or where the highest concentration of lodging options are located. In Uyuni, this meant we went door to door to find a place to stay when we arrived at around 11pm. We finally found a rundown hostel on the main square that had availability. The room even came with a private bathroom (a luxury that was often out of our self imposed budget). The bathroom however was up on a small platform in the corner of the room and completely enclosed in plexiglass. Around this they had hung a curtain, that didn’t quite cover everything, for privacy. We decided it was sufficient for our first night but we moved the next day.
Arriving in Uyuni later than we thought meant we ad to wait a day to find a tour to the Salt Flats. We spent several hours talking to the different tour agencies (there are dozens of them) to find prices for three day tours that would drop us off in Chile at the end of the tour. Once we decided on a tour we got our exit stamp for Bolivia in our passports at the tiny immigration office in town (they will post-date your stamp if you are going on a tour) and we were ready to go. We leave tomorrow morning and we can’t wait to see this natural wonder for ourselves.