The drive to Sucre was a quick and uneventful 150km. We check into the “Kultur Berlin” Hostel which was recommended by Will and Stewart.
It is a very nice well kept building with mostly multi-bed dorms as it is very popular among backpackers. We are a little less adventurous and have booked a little cabin in the yard. We probably go to bed earlier than party prone 25 year olds 🙂
The next day (Christmas eve) we sign up for the big group dinner at the hostel and go take a look at the city. Of all the cities we have seen so far in Bolivia, this is the nicest. Charming old houses and cleaner streets than anywhere else we have been. There is a local legislation saying, that all buildings in a five block radius of the centre has to be white. Makes it a bit monotone to look at, but since none of the materials used to built houses are naturally white it also means all houses in that area are properly painted and maintained.
One of the museums and a great example of the architecture
Due to Christmas there is quite a crowd in the city centre. Hundreds of people are lined up for what we initially figured would be Christmas blessings at the church, but turns out to be some kind of support for the poor. Gifts for the children or food most likely. Interesting to notice is, that all the people lined up are in traditional indigenous clothing. Not all indigenous people are poor, but it looks like all poor people are indigenous. I make a mental note to read up on Bolivian history.
As for some of that history we get it at the local museum. Sucre is the administrative capital of Bolivia, La Paz is just where the government is. The guide, being from Sucre, makes very sure that we know the difference. Sucre is where the declaration of independence was signed in 1825 and we get the opportunity to take a look at the real thing. The museum is also home to the very first argentine flag, which is the reverse of the one we see in use today. White with a light blue stripe in the middle and no yellow sun. It was the first early design and there is quite an interesting story as to how it ended up in Bolivia that I cannot remember in detail.
We also went to see St Theresa convent which was quite interesting
As we left the convent we caught these two monks climbing out over the locked gate … no comment
This is my first warm Christmas. Something I always wanted to do. Not sure why, most likely just because it is different from what I know. Have to admit it feels a little strange. I mean, it is nice to be able to walk around in just a t-shirt, but it seems the northern hemispheres ideal has spilled over into the southern hemisphere as well. The main square is full of artificial pine trees, inflatable snowmen and fake sleighs with wheels. Even Lorraine, who grew up with Christmas being during the summer, feels that a real Christmas has snow and long dark evenings.
We go back and get ready for the big 50 person dinner. We end up sitting next to the only people even remotely our age. Michael and Renate from Germany. They are really nice and we have an interesting evening before retiring to the room before the all night party kicks off. Also we plan to leave not too late as we have a long travel day ahead of us.
If having dinner with a bunch of backpackers was a bit of an alternative Christmas eve, but it was nothing compared to how the Christmas day lunch would turn out 🙂