As difficult as it was to depart the comfort we experienced in Cochabamba, we were excited to change atmospheres from the mostly modern city to the more historical Sucre. We caught an overnight bus, arrived early in the morning, walked the city a bit to find a hostel, and went to bed to make up for sleep lost on the bus. We awoke to radiant sunshine illuminating the bustling, neo-classical, colonial city. Sucre is the constitutional capital of Bolivia and the country’s 5th largest city.
Known as “la ciudad blanca” (the white city), Sucre is filled with historic buildings, parks and squares, as well as indigenous culture and prehistoric sites in the surrounding towns and countryside. We were equally invested in enjoying its relaxed atmosphere, which detains many travelers for far longer than expected, as we were in visiting the Tarabuco market, where different tribes or family groups from the villages that surround Sucre come together on Sunday to sell handicrafts, tapestries, bags, belts and food.
We started our tour at Plaza 25 de Mayo in the heart of Sucre and searched for local establishments with televisions to see if we could possibly watch Creighton compete in the NCAA tournament. Our search was unsuccessful so we checked out the Textile Museum, as research before we visited the Tarabuco market. Afterwards, we stocked up on the necessities at a local market and supermercado, before returning to our hostel to stream the Creighton game. After Creighton’s victory, we returned to the streets to visit the Metropolitan Cathedral, before finding a comfortable bench to people watch in Parque Bolivar.
On Sunday we took a bus to Tarabuco to shop from the variety of vendors who all offered their own unique items and styles, which was shown in their work by different quality of materials and varying colors and patterns. We scoured bags, handicrafts, jewelry, paintings and weavings. Some of the tapestries we considered purchasing took an entire year for one person to make. We wandered the extent of the market and conversed with locals before deciding on our purchases. Prices varied drastically depending on the size and complexity, but quality also followed suit, and we chose our purchases based on both the personality of the artist and the quality of their work.
We spent our final day exploring the local cemetery and accidentally stumbled upon an important military funeral. Processions lined up to visit the grave of this general as military personnel played music and marched in the deceased’s honor. Afterwards, we found a vegetarian buffet and cherished the abundance of healthy food that came with the set menu. We also wandered around the central market where you could procure everything from batteries and tupperware to fresh squeezed juices and traditional meals.