After Oruro, the roadtrip.

Oruro to Potosí (Saturday)

Making it from Oruro to Tarija in the one evening was wishful thinking. We get halfway, pulling into Potosi, a little before midnight. It’s Saturday night, but there’s no party and we can’t even get a local beer – so it’s a can of Paceña, then to bed.

We stayed at Casa Blanca near the central plaza.
We stayed at Casa Blanca near the central plaza.

2015-02-14 Carnaval Oruro 011

Potosí to … Tupiza? (Sunday)

A beautiful, sunny day. Grab a coffee at the central market, then a pork sandwich from a street-side stall in the main plaza. That’s what I call breakfast.

2015-02-15 Carnaval Roadtrip 018 2015-02-15 Carnaval Roadtrip 026

My travel companions don’t think much of it, but Potosí is a beautiful, colonial city. You appreciate it more as you leave – you’ll see what I mean.

2015-02-15 Carnaval Roadtrip 0132015-02-15 Carnaval Roadtrip 034

1.50pm. We reach a toll booth and tell we’re headed for Tarija. Tupiza? No, Tarija. Tupiza? Ta-ri-ja.

Wrong way, kiddos. Apparently we’ve missed the turn by 3 hours.

Here’s the alternative route we had to take. We don’t get to Tarija for another 5 hours.

2015-02-15 Carnaval Roadtrip 056 2015-02-15 Carnaval Roadtrip 062 2015-02-15 Carnaval Roadtrip 067 2015-02-15 Carnaval Roadtrip 072

Tarija Day 1 (Monday)

Just a couple of images taken in the car on the way to carnaval celebrations in the pueblos.

2015-02-16 Carnaval Roadtrip 079 2015-02-16 Carnaval Roadtrip 077

Lots of water bombs, water guns and foam. I get soaked through – partly thanks to my friend who goes around shouting, ¡Mójenla a la chinita! (“Drench the Asian girl!”). Definitely a good idea not bringing my camera along.

All you really need to know is we also eat more pork and drink beer. And some local wine.

Then there is ridiculous traffic getting back into Tarija in the afternoon – what was a 10-minute drive the previous day takes us about 3 hours.

Water, dancing and much drunkenness to be found in every plaza of the city. Tickets to the most lucrative party in town sold out, so it’s nasty fast food and early to bed.

Tarija Day 2 (Tuesday)

Tuesday of carnaval is traditionally the day for cha’lla in Bolivia. People “bless” their houses, shops, cars by decorating them with flowers and streamers. Water-throwing continues.

2015-02-17 Carnaval Roadtrip 088 2015-02-17 Carnaval Roadtrip 090

We head to the lovely Casa Vieja for lunch with a view and a wine degustation (disappointing).

2015-02-17 Carnaval Roadtrip 099
Casa Vieja.
2015-02-17 Carnaval Roadtrip 104
Picante de lengua (cow tongue) for lunch. Not bad.
2015-02-17 Carnaval Roadtrip 106
The view out over the Casa Vieja vineyards from the restaurant terrace.
2015-02-17 Carnaval Roadtrip 115
7 types of wine, and the estate’s singhani (a fruity Bolivian spirit). It’s pretty ordinary, but we buy a couple of bottles anyway.

Then to Heredad de Jacob, a nature spot highly recommended to us. At this point, the weather decides to turn and it’s wanting to rain as we drive in. There are a couple of families chatting over lunch, but not much else going on.

The owner comes out to meet us and tells us we should have come on the day before, when they were running tourist activities like preparing humintas from scratch. Seeing we’ve made the effort to come out all the way, he treats us to some tarijeño crepes and a taste of wine and fresh grapes from their estate. I’d love to come back.

2015-02-17 Carnaval Roadtrip 122 2015-02-17 Carnaval Roadtrip 118

So then it’s Adios, Tarija. We buy supplies for a picnic on the way and look forward to living it up in Potosí that night.

2015-02-17 Carnaval Roadtrip 133 2015-02-17 Carnaval Roadtrip 134

We never make it.

A detour sends us by Villa Abecia and in Villa Abecia we stay.
Partly thanks to this DJ.
Oh we’ll just have some food, dance a while and continue on our way.
But here we are in Villa Abecia and in Villa Abecia we stay.

2015-02-17 Carnaval Roadtrip 151
Gonna dance all night to this DJ, dance all night to this DJ … Well, until 11pm, when he packs up and leaves.

2015-02-17 Carnaval Roadtrip 140

Villa Abecia to La Paz (Ash Wednesday)

We’re about 3 hours out of Potosi so we know we’re in for a full day of driving. Just as well the countryside is spectacular.

2015-02-18 Carnaval Roadtrip 159 2015-02-18 Carnaval Roadtrip 169 2015-02-18 Carnaval Roadtrip 179 2015-02-18 Carnaval Roadtrip 187 2015-02-18 Carnaval Roadtrip 189 2015-02-18 Carnaval Roadtrip 195 2015-02-18 Carnaval Roadtrip 199

9.30pm. Fast food in Oruro and then a smooth ride into La Paz via El Alto.

1.30am. Home at last. Work tomorrow – not sure how I feel about that.

Get new posts in your inbox

I'm not here to make money - I promise not to give or sell your data to anyone. You'll get 1-2 emails from me at most and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Get new posts via email

Not a newsletter - just my blog posts on identity, culture and everyday life in your inbox 1-2 times a month.



Join the conversation - let me know what you think

You May Also Like
Keep reading >

From Advent to Adventure

It’s the second week of Advent and I’m not really feeling it. Generally speaking, people slide easily into one of three distinct categories: (1) those who absolutely love Christmas; (2) those who find Christmas super stressful; and, (3) those who are indifferent to Christmas. I love Jesus but I am planted firmly in the third camp. So I scour the season, I scour Scripture, both for magic and for logic.

Two words for Washington

If I could choose two words to describe Washington, D.C., they would be EMPIRE and EXTRAVAGANCE. Perhaps they…