Sucre was a beautiful, relaxing welcome to Bolivia. Planning to only stay a few days, we found the atmosphere of the city and the people we met there so charming that we kept extending our stay, day after day.
Every day we would make the trek up the steep cobbled streets to the Mirador, the viewpoint overlooking the city. Here, we would sit for hours in the cafe’s courtyard, eating and drinking fresh (!) juices and salads, playing cards and enjoying the hot sun after what felt like weeks in the cold.
In the afternoons, we would amble down to walk around the city – to the incredible public market, a hive of activity – with women selling their fruits and flowers, napping at their stalls, and displaying their offals, trotters and entrails in little butchers booths. Downstairs, there was a whole area filled with women standing behind walls made of fruit – offering freshly squeezed juice. In an effort to rid myself of my cough – I ordered a orange juice. It was brought to my stool in an American style milkshake glass, and upon finishing the juice and returning it to the casarita (woman of the house, a Bolivian term to describe a stall owner), was met with another glass of juice. It was my first experience of the Bolivian custom, where if you buy something from a stall, you are given more as a gift. Something I can definitely get around!
The town square in Sucre was one that I see so often here, particularly in Mexico, but am continuously enamoured by. With spritzing fountains, hundreds of public benches stacked in layers throughout the park. (This one though, however beautiful, had about 200 too many pigeons hanging out). We sat one quiet afternoon and overlooked the hive of activity there.
We went to the most incredible Italian restaurant two days in a row in Sucre. It was called Casa Monterosso, a restaurant hidden behind a common household door. Ring the bell, and you’re led into a tiny room – complete with dim lighting, red curtains and homey atmospheres. Here, I had the best tiramisu of my life, and a few truly exceptional pastas, too. The setting was brilliant – so cosy and warm that when you stepped out, after hours of conversation, you were suddenly jolted into the realisation that you are in fact in Bolivia, not a Nonna’s house in Southern Italy.
Sucre, and Bolivia generally, has been incredible – for me, it possesses the perfect mix of modernity and tradition, chaos and organisation, with a slow, meandering pace that celebrates good meals and enjoyable afternoons. Perfect.