Sucre, aka the White City and another of Bolivia´s UNESCO World Heritage Sites, is where Adam and I decided to rest from our travels and improve our Spanish with a few lessons. The city is known to have a myriad of Spanish language schools, and after checking out a few (or 7), we decided on Latinoamericana for group lessons. In our first week, we also took part in a game of wally ball. Affectionately known as wally, it is basically volleyball with the use of walls and feet, and is a popular sport in Bolivia. We also took advantage of the free salsa lessons offered at the school, which were really great, but let`s just say we need a bit more practice before we enter any dance competitions.
In addition to these cultural events offered by many schools, we found that many bars & restaurants offer activities like free dance lessons, game nights, and show movies pertaining to Bolivian culture, which we were able to partake in as well (Recommended: The Devil´s Miner– a documentary about Bolivian mining culture in Potosi).
More than hosting cultural events, the city of Sucre has a rich cultural heritage and is famous for its lovely, white, colonial architecture, and also for its significance in Bolivian independence. Part of its history pertains not only to Bolivia, but to all of South America, as Sucre was where the first cry for independence was heard in all of South America. Interestingly though, Bolivia was the last country to actually gain its independence from Spain. When it finally did, Sucre was the named the official capital in the country`s constitution and remains, part capital today. While citizens of the city will say that Sucre is the only capital of Bolivia, only the judiciary offices remain, while the legislative, executive, and other government agencies have moved to La Paz. We learned all of this information courtesy of a friendly, Bolivian diplomat we met on the street one day.
In Sucre, we also found delicious Bolivian foods, and an amazing central market, which was a few blocks from our hostel. Here we found great chorizo, one of the city’s specialties, as well as extremely fresh fruits and veggies, chocolate covered quinoa, and other goodies. Sucre is also known for its chocolate, and there are many stores near the main plaza selling their wares, but our favorite was Chocolates Para Ti. We were also lucky enough to be less than a block away from a restaurant which served excellent aji de fideo (spicy noodles) for 5 Bolivianos (approximately 85 cents) a bowl everyday. I can say we were not the only ones ordering more than one bowl each time we visited!
All in all, we ended up enjoying about three and a half weeks in Sucre, learning history, experiencing the colonial architecture, indulging in a number of the delicious, Bolivian culinary creations, and mejorando (translation: improving) our Spanish. The city has been one of the highlights of our trip thus far, and we are looking forward to returning again someday.