Back on Top

So after our disaster vacation attempt after Christmas and the ensuing two weeks of sickness, I needed a renewal of spirit before work started back up in February (we’re both healthy again btw- thanks for all the prayers).  So, one of the Hogar volunteers, Andrea, and I flew to Sucre for a long weekend to hang out with Susan who was taking Spanish classes there. (Susan’s a volunteer in Okinawa and teaches English classes and catechism)  Sucre was just what we needed!  It is so clean and beautiful and the climate is so much drier and cooler.  We even got to go out into the Andes for a day of hiking.  AND our hostel had HOT natural-gas-heated showers!  Very rejuvenating. Unfortunately Tom had to stay behind in Montero and work but he also enjoyed a relaxing weekend and got to stock up on some alone-time.

Here are some photo highlights of the trip:

This sign is on the way to the airport in Santa Cruz, it says “Caution, wild animal crossing.”  The picture is of an ostrich which we don’t have in Bolivia (wild at least) but we do have rheas which I have seen on multiple occasions walking around the airport.

Lovin’ the Andes!  This ridge is called the Cordilleras de los Frailes because it’s where the Jesuits hid in the 1700′s when the Spanish King decided he wanted to put them all in jail or force them to leave Spanish lands.  The line across the mountains is a huge pipeline that brings in ALL of Sucre’s potable water from Potosi, a city 4000 feet higher.   The Andes are extremely dry in this region.

Hiking one of the remaining segments of the Inca Trail with Andrea (left) and Susan (right).  This portion of the trail has been restored and is still used because parts of the mountains are considered sacred.  People erect these piles of rocks that they believe contain spirits- and sometimes human skulls.   Along the trail there are many spirit-rock piles.  The Incans constructed these foot paths for trade and communication between Macchu Pichu, Tiwanaku and the outer reaches of their empire.

Ancient volcanic crater of Maragua.   Now the village of Maragua lies in the middle of the crater where they grow wheat, potatoes, and quinoa.  Lots of beautiful colors of volcanic rock!  And look at the soil, it’s almost magenta!

The Devils Mouth.  This is a cave in one of the cliffs surrounding the crater of Maragua.  It is never visited by the local people because they believe it’s bad luck or evil;  the story is told that a man went in the cave once and never came out.   If you look above my head to the right and left you can see the teeth of the mouth- eerily realistic!  Also the steps leading down to the cave are made of stone but no ones who put them there.  The earliest record of people arriving at the crater claims that the steps were already there.

Beautiful city park in Sucre built by the Spanish.  I believe some of the larger trees still there were even planted by the Spanish.  All the trees here are painted white to keep out termites, ants, etc.

Church built by one of the early missionary groups in Bolivia, I’m sorry I don’t know which order.  Very ornate however, supposedly it used to contain real gold but all the gold has since been removed and replaced with paint.

Soon to come: more pictures of Tom and Laura actually working!  Not as pretty but more realistic of our day to day.

2 thoughts on “Back on Top

  1. Laura,
    My guess is that the church was a church of the Mercedarians, since the statue of Mary and of two of the saints on the second level look, from a distance, like the statues in some Mercedarian churches here in Honduras. The Mercedarians were first established to ransom slaves from the Muslims in and around Spain but were among the orders that came to the Americas.
    I could be wrong because it also looks like the saint on the bottom left is the Jesuit Francisco Javier.
    Keep well.

    • Great call John! Now that I think about it, it was called Iglesia las Mercedes but I didn’t know what that meant. It was in pretty bad repair and didn’t have any informational signs or anything, so thanks for that background. And interestingly, there was a also San Francisco Xavier Iglesia in town that had a similar design.

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