Cycling in Bolivia

Bolivia, a dusty ride

by Bicycle Junkies
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For weeks now, or probably months, we’ve been cycling through desert like landscapes, I can hardly remember the last tree we’ve seen! It’s time for green, time for trees, time for birds. We are on our way to Santa Cruz!

Cerro Rico
Tourist trap or must see? Well, we are here now, so we might as well visit Potosis silver mine Cerro Rico. Myles, Flo and us two book a tour and visit the tiny and narrow tunnels of Cerro Rico. We give the miners a bag with drinks, coca leaves and some dynamite and crawl for a couple of hours through new and old tunnels and climb unstable ladders… I’m a happy girl when we finally see some daylight again! Pfff, been there, done that.. but only once!

Cycling in Bolivia

Visiting Cerro Rico with Myles and Flo

Golden voices
The idea was great: having dinner together in colonial Sucre with about 10 world cyclists, 1 biker and a backpacker couple. A farewell party, because soon we all be parting our ways.The outcome was even better: having a great dinner together in colonial Sucre, a couple of happy hours in bar ‘Amsterdam’ and another couple of happy hours in a dodgy Karaoke bar! “I did it my way” never sounded better! But, maybe that was because we forgot to turn on the microphone.. well, who cares! At 4 am we stroll through the abandoned streets in Sucre… here’s our Facebook chat the next morning:
“Hey Myles, ready to leave?”
“Grumph…”
“What about you, Paul & Jan?”
“Grumph…”
“Marcin, Flo?”
“…”
Needless to say, we all stayed another day… 😉

Cycling in Bolivia

Look at us sing!

Le tour de Bolivia
Seven die hard worldcyclists riding alongside. Elmar in the lead and me… desperately hanging by a thread at the end.., having stomach problems…: welcome to Bolivia! It’s getting hotter and hotter when we leave the Altiplano behind, that night we camp near the river with a cold beer to cool us down. Four tents in a row and six cyclists, Flo, the flying Frenchman has left the party. Marcin, the young and sweet Polish guy; Myles, our funny English teacher, adventurous Paul & Jan from Canada and the two of us are enjoying the warm evening together. It has been a while that we were able to sit outside our tents after the sun has set, in shorts!

Cycling in Bolivia

Wild camp spot with Paul and Jan, Myles and Marcin

Baby wipes, who can live without them?
The main road from capital Sucre to Bolivias largest city (Santa Cruz) needs a little maintenance… It’s a dusty track, nothing more than that! And it’s full of trucks, spraying us with big clouds of very fine dust. Sometimes there are cobblestones beneath the dust, which make it slippery too. Breathing all that dust can’t be healthy.. but we look great by the end of the day. And without a shower to wash it all off, we totally rely on baby wipes. So, after a dusty ride, we all retreat into our tents and here happy sounds of cleaning ourselves with baby wipes and we all smell so sweet, so baby!

It’s all about ‘saying goodbye’…
We meet so many nice people on the road. An invitation here, a couple of oranges there. Just a smile or a friendly gester, a wave, an encouriging thumbs up during tough climbs, funny Myles… and every time we have to say goodbye. It’s time to say goodbye to Myles now. We give him a hug in front of Chickens Planet in Aiquille and I can’t help it, but some tears escape. We met him in San Pedro de Atacama and we’ve been riding, camping and dining with him since Uyuni. We sang together in a Karaoke bar, drank together, cheared for the Dutch soccer team during the World Cup (in spite of traitor Van Persie, right Myles?) and Elmar fixed his bike and baked him eggs in the morning. But, here in Aiquille our ways part. Stay safe dear Myles, one day we’ll meet again!

Cycling in Bolivia

Myles

Together with Paul & Jan we continue our ride, encourage the Dutch soccer team in Samaipata, drown our sorrows with Mojito’s and treat ourselves to a 5-star hotel in Santa Cruz. What a life! And Bolivia, well, Bolivia is a positive surprise!

Cycling in Bolivia

Very, very, very.. dusty!

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