Potosí, Bolivia
19° 35' S 65° 45' W
Sep 04, 2004 23:36
Distance 427km

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Text written in: English

Potosi (4 - 5 September 2004)

The plan was to leave La Paz for Uyuni. This is however only possible in a very uncomfortable way, well that is if you want to go directly. There are two or three bus companies with direct buses and for some typical South American reason they leave the capital at 15:30 and 17:00, arriving at in the middle of the freezing cold night in Uyuni where you have to wake up hotel receptionists to open the door for you.

Another option is to take a train 4 times a week from Oruro, three hours away by bus. This train however also leaves in the late afternoon only to arrive late at night or in the middle of the night after dark. Nobody ever thinks about such things in South America.

There is another route you can take and that goes via Potosi. Again, buses from La Paz to Potosi only leave late afternoon getting you in Potosi at an hour you do not want to be in a freezing uncomfortable bus, let alone getting out at 4020 meters altitude.

This time however there is a solution. When you take an early morning bus, 7 AM latest, you get to Oruro before 11 AM. At 11 AM there is a day bus to Potosi, allowing you to enjoy the great scenery along the way and getting you into the highest city in the world before nightfall so you can enjoy a nice dinner and hotel bed afterwards. The route was very spectacular and I can not understand why not everybody travels this way. It is amazing with views of deep canyons, lonely desert and great mountains. On the bus I got a lot of attention from the locals who wanted to know everything about my country and my amazing trip through this continent. Good exercise for my Spanish again.

Potosi is a big city too and used to be the richest on the continent because of the silver mine that operates near the city. I chose a nice hotel across from the bus terminal and had a good lasagna dinner in their restaurant. CNN brought me the latest news before going to sleep. A nice day it had been.