If you ask for the capital of Bolivia, most people will answer “La Paz”. And it sure is the biggest city of the country. Nowadays, it is also the most important from an economical point of view. And the government has its seat there too since 1898. The executive and legislative powers are both located in La Paz. But the constitutional capital, declared after the independence of Bolivia in 1825, remains, to date, Sucre, which holds the judicial power.
Talking about the independence of Bolivia, it reminds me of a funny fact: its national motto is the same as Belgium’s: Unity is Strength. A motto we also share with Andorra and Angola. We haven’t been very original on this one.
To date, the rivalry remains between both cities but Sucre definitely has my vote. Smaller, quieter and simply more enjoyable. It’s a typical colonial city and its many white houses resulted in Sucre being bestowed the nicknames “Ciudad Blanca” – The White City. Same as Arequipa in Peru, in fact.
I found a nice little hotel… with German food and beer. The name of the hotel says it all: Kultur Berlin. But I have to admit it was cozy, with a nice terrace, breakfast buffet and a restaurant. As I hadn’t been able to shower before getting on the bus in La Paz, that’s exactly what I did as soon as I arrived. And there I discovered the beautiful bruises I kept as a souvenir from the Death road. My skin is quite sensitive and I’m used to have parts of it all the colours of the rainbow. But how my thigh looked at that moment, I had rarely seen.
Once the body clean and the tummy full, I went to discover the city. I have to admit I hadn’t opened a book about Sucre and didn’t have a clue about what there was to see. I just didn’t feel like doing that. I wanted to enjoy the place with my senses rather than with my brain. Unlike Peru, the main squares in Bolivia aren’t named “Plaza de Armas”. However, as soon as I sat down to take a rest and read a little, someone came to talk to me. Asking me in a very friendly way and in English if I would be interested in taking some Spanish lessons. I refused in the same friendly way but the guy was in the mood for a talk. So he sat down next to me and started to tell me about the history of Bolivia, about Evo Morales – as far as I know, a very popular president amongst the Bolivians, but not with this Spanish teacher -, about Sucre and the nice places to go. Amongst others, a nice view point, a little bit uphill. I went back to the hotel after having talked to him but went to that place on the following day… and there he was again. We chatted a little bit more, he indicated me an interesting museum of traditional weaving… and then he disappeared again, as I was watching the sun setting on the beautiful White City.
Next, I was off to Potosí.