Out of sorts!
Trip Start Jun 16, 2008
93Trip End Sep 18, 2008
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Where I stayed
We jumped into a taxi and made our way through the labyrinthe of streets to our hostel. Potosi was so empty compared to La Paz. Unfortunately the hostel didnīt have our reservation for a private room (grrr) and the only beds they had left were in a dorm. We were so tired we took it.
Thankfully the room had a heater so it was toasty warm.
We had a few hours sleep and woke feeling a bit groggy. Perhaps this is the altitude?
After sorting ourselves out, we headed off to get breakfast
Potosi is famous for some very terrible reasons. In the 1500s, it was founded as a mining town after discovery of vast veins of silver in the nearby mountain, Cerro Rico. The spanish forced not only the local indigenous population but also brought in african slaves to mine the mountain.
At itīs peak, Potosi was the largest city in the world - larger than London or Paris. There is a saying that you could build a bridge from Potosi to Madrid with all the silver that was mined. The locals say you could build a bridge with the bones of the people who died mining the silver.
Funnily enough there is still an expression in spanish that you are `worth a potosi`...meaning you are worth a fortune.
Millions of people were said to have died in the mines. Even today, although they do not mine for silver, there are still deaths whilst mining for other minerals.
The wealth accrued from Potosi underwrote the spanish economy for at least 2 centuries and was said to have helped finance the industrial revolution.
So. What else to do in Potosi but to go into the mines!
After booking a mine tour for the next day (again, very standard thing to do), we had lunch at Koala cafe and met Carolina (Peruvian Canadian from Toronto) and Cherie (South African New Zealander who also, randomly, had lived in Toronto).
We spent a long time reading in the cafe before trying to buy bus tickets to Uyuni for the next day. This was far harder than it sounds.
Despite signs in EVERY travel agency saying `WE SELL BUS TICKETS`, no one had any to sell. This was very frustrating. Double GRRRRR.
We had a long session on the internet in our hostel and went straight to bed...grumpy and still feeling out of sorts!