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Sucre - Potosí

Heading for the high altitude

View High Altitude Landscapes Tour - Bolivia, Chile & Argentina 2023 on Grete Howard's travel map.

I wake up feeling just as rough this morning, and when I take my blood oxygen reading, and it is now registering 80%, I am beginning to get a little concerned. I ask David to see if he can get me some antibiotics. Having suffered from bronchitis on a number of occasions over the years (including the last time we were in Bolivia in 1990), I know that if I manage to catch it early enough, Amoxycillin does the trick. In 2017, however, I let it go on for too long before seeking medical assistance and ended up being hospitalised for two weeks with pneumonia.


At breakfast, I pick up a slice of apple cake and am delighted to find it is just like my mum used to make. That, by the way, is quite a compliment indeed. I am still coughing badly, which unfortunately upsets the lady on the next table in the restaurant (if looks could kill…) almost as much as it upsets me. After eating, I go straight back to bed.

While I have a relaxing morning, David goes with Juan to the museum, with strict instructions to take some photos for my blog.

Casa de la Libertad Museum

The museum is located in a well-restored and maintained convent from the colonial era.


The chapel was the meeting hall where Bolivian independence was declared on 25 May 1825.


The museum includes a number of paintings and objects related to Bolivian history, especially to the independence movement, and the struggles to break away from Spanish domination.

Map showing the original borders of Bolivia, in the shape of a condor, before the country lost some of its land to Chile, including access to the Pacific.

Sculpture showing a fierce tribal warrior wearing the head of a jaguar.

A clock made in London and gifted to Bolivia. It still works.

Golden quill studded with pearls, once owned by the liberator Simón Bolivar, resting on a military certificate issued by Bolivar in 1825, and carrying his signature.

The bust of Simón Bolivar


When David and Juan return from the museum (with some drugs for me), we all three walk down to the main square, to the restaurant where we had lunch yesterday.


I struggle big time, and Juan suggests we stop and eat at a restaurant nearer the hotel instead (about halfway to the square).

Plaza Hotel Restaurant

We are the first people here, and thankfully they have a lift up to the first floor where the dining room is. We choose the set four-course lunch menu.

The starter is a help-yourself salad buffet, with some lovely small sweet potatoes – and when I say “sweet”, I mean very sweet!


Cazuela de Mani
This thick and creamy soup is made from bits of beef, peanuts, pasta, carrots and corn, topped with thin slices of fried potato. Very nice, especially after the addition of a little of the local hot sauce.


The main course – pastel de carne – is a bit of an oddity. Similar to a meatloaf, the idea is that you supplement it with the salad bar. Despite us being the first people in the restaurant, there is remarkably little left of the buffet. After the lovely soup, I don’t really need much more food, so I just eat it as it is.


Dessert – pannacotta. Very smooth and the compote on top (plum?) is rather tasty.


Indian Market

From the restaurant, we walk through the square and continue down to the Indian Market. Juan promises me it is “not far” (which to be fair, it isn’t), and that there will be plenty of places to sit (which once we leave the square, there aren’t).





The market is crowded, and Juan suggests I take great care with my personal belongings.






Cultivated in the Bolivian Andes for thousands of years, the potato is today the country's most important food crop, and there are supposedly 138 different varieties.

Double freeze-dried - I remember having these in La Paz on my birthday in 1990, our first visit to Bolivia



I see some seats at a juice stand, and we share a carrot juice just so that I can sit down.


David isn't very keen, so I drink most of it - I find it quite refreshing

Rather than walk all the way back to the hotel, David and I perch ourselves on a window ledge outside a chocolate shop (Sucre is well known for its chocolate, and we purchase a small bag to enjoy on our travels) while Juan goes back on his own. Our bags are packed and ready in reception, and he is happy to load them into the minibus with the help of Miguel, the driver, and Raol, the hotel manager, then pick us up from here.

The chocolate is quite gritty, and incredibly sweet – a bit like eating a ball of sugar!

Seeing how crazy the traffic is – we are near some traffic lights that seem to just let a couple of cars across at a time, with the subsequent vehicle blocking the junction – we realise we’ll have quite a wait. All we can do is be patient and watch the goings on while we wait. It seems every other vehicle is a small bus, and (almost) every single bus driver is on his phone.


An electrician's nightmare!

After around 45 minutes, we spot the familiar minibus – it is much smarter-looking and much less dented than the majority we see. As Juan opens the door, I am delighted to see that Miguel has removed the entire front row of seats in order to give me more legroom. Give that man a medal!



This afternoon we are leaving Sucre and heading for Potosí.

Bridge of Libertadors

Built during colonial times, the bridge served as a passage of the Libertador Simón Bolívar on his journey in 1825 during the quest for independence.


I reluctantly exit the vehicle to take a quick photo and go straight back to sleep.


Thankfully, we can pull up straight outside the hotel, and our room is on the ground floor which means I don’t have to try and drag myself up steep stairs. I feel absolutely exhausted, with my chest feeling tight, breathing laboured and I am struggling with a nasty cough. I start the Amoxycillin Juan bought for me earlier, and take my blood oxygen levels before collapsing into bed.


No wonder I have been feeling so rough – an SP0² of 64% is dangerously low. Remembering the breathing exercises my dad was given when his COPD was causing a low reading, I manage to get it up to 91%. Phew.

Feeling too rough to even consider going for dinner, David goes off with Juan while I stay in bed. Potosí is at an altitude of 4,000 metres above sea level, which is not a good place to have a chest infection.

Thank you to Undiscovered Destinations who arranged this amazing trip for us.


Posted by Grete Howard 10:00 Archived in Bolivia Tagged chocolate market map museum sculpture bolivia potosí convent south_america sucre potatoes antibiotics undiscovered_destinations coughing chest_infection sp02 blood_oxygen_levels amoxycillin apple_cake casa_de_la_libertadad bolivian_independence tribal_warrior quill simon_bolivar plaza_hotel_restaurant cazuela_de_mani pastel_de_carne salad_bar pannacotta indian_market bridge_of_libertadors

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Such a shame you were so ill on this part of your trip. The museum sounds interesting and I love a local market! Bolivia is on our 'list' so I'm following your route with interest.

by ToonSarah

Thank you so much, Sarah, you'd enjoy Bolivia, I am sure. It is a photographer's delight!

by Grete Howard

I hope you get better soon on this trip. Seeing how sick you are, I am amazed you still can do all those things. Not only the driver deserves a medal that's for sure!

by Ils1976

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