Potosi Travel Blog› entry 106 of 123 › view all entries
Its only a 3 hour bus journey from Sucre to Potosi (Bs15/£1.50$2.50), and it goes through some great scenery as the roads wind their way up to 4,700m, and to the world's highest city. I certainly felt the altitude when I arrived, with every step almost leaving me out of breath!! I checked in at Koala Den hostel and spend the rest of the afternoon chilling out. I booked myself on a tour of the silver mines, Potosi's imfamous attraction. I went with Silver Tours (tour Bs70/£7/$10) and the next day I was ready at 9am to start. we had a decent group of about 10 people and our first stop was to get ourselves fitted with all the protective gear necessary for the tour - overalls, helmet and lamp.
Our tour guide Freddy explaine the history of the mines and the importance they once held in the Spanish empire. The mines are only about 5 minutes outside the town of Potosi and we were soon walking inside, ducking at every corner with the low ceilings. We met some of the miners - they all have different roles in the process - and saw how bloody hard their lives are. They all work as individuals, selling their ore through the co-operative, so some end up working horrendously long hours.
So, its yet another one of those unique experiences in South America, soon to be followed by another as I head to Uyuni and the vast salt lakes...