After an assault on our photographic senses during the trip through Uyuni’s Salt Flats we were lining up some serious R&R. While we didn’t really need an excuse to overeat on fine food, Celina’s coming of age (30th birthday) made the bottles of red wine slip down even easier.
Sucre the City
We had placed all our money on Sucre as the nicest spot to celebrate, eat, drink and relax in good weather. The city paid us back with all that and then some. Sucre is home to around 250k Bolivians and sits at a much more comfortable altitude of 2,750masl. It’s described in the guide books as a colonial town with white-washed buildings and more or less that is exactly what it is. In our trips through Central and South America we’ve found all the colonial towns (e.g. Villa de Leyva in Colombia, Leon and Granada in Nicaragua) all seem to take on a relaxed vibe and have great places to eat – not surprisingly Sucre did too.
Our accommodation in Sucre was near to perfect (for $20USD p/night), La Dolce Vita would easily rate in top 3 of places we’ve stayed on the trip. The owners were great hosts, our room was huge and modern, there was a kitchen and terrace that basked in the sun a good book exchange and we even got the chance to watch ‘The Devils Miner’ a movie about Potosi – which was our next destination. When we weren’t relaxing at the hostel, we took to the streets, markets and miradors of Sucre. It’s an easy and safe place to walk around, the sun literally shined 24/7 with temps in the mid twenties. There are a huge number of cafes and restaurants to fill yourself up in and watch local life pass you by.
Celina’s 30th Birthday!!
Turning 30 is really an indication that you are well and truly ‘grown-up’. Turning 30 while in the middle of an adventure through Latin America is a pretty good way to do it and a sure sign that life is not about to get boring anytime soon! We’d changed our travel plans so that we could be in Sucre, it appeared to have the right ingredients for a 30th – good places to eat and drink! Nailing the accommodation was our first task and La Dolce Vita took care of things. Waking up on the big day it was time for me to lift my game and get in the kitchen. An early morning trip to the market to source fresh ingredients for the birthday breakfast then back to the hostel to work wonders with eggs. There was no question that bubbles were required and we got as close as we could do champagne in buying something from Moet and Chandon range – although I don’t think it was ‘proper champagne’. Breakfast on the terrace was a success even if we were left feeling a bit lightheaded.
Next up was a bit of time spent wandering through the town, seeing if we could pick anything up for Cel on her big day. Unfortunately nothing took her fancy – expensive tastes seem to be the growing trend – but being in the centre of town we were half way on our way to a lunch rendezvous with El Huerto, a recommended restaurant 15 minutes from the central plaza. We were stoked with the choice as we dined outside on the grass under umbrellas. Cel opted for a plate of gnocchi while I had Beef Stroganoff (odd choice but it was recommended!) We were craving a NZ Sauvignon but had to settle for a Chilean version that was pretty damn good at 1pm in the afternoon!
All the food and wine was going to our heads so it was time to relax and take an afternoon nap. This was not brought on by the turning of age, but rather a cultural experience – all the locals take siestas everyday! We didn’t do too much else for the remainder of the day other than prepare for the evenings culinary onslaught! Yep, we were not stopping at lunch, it was time to move onto the main event, dinner. La Taverne was the holy ground for good food – rated #1 on Trip Advisor of 45 restaurants in the city. We won’t lie, we’d given it a crack on our first night and come away with no doubts that it was the place for a birthday meal. This was proper fine dining but at ridiculously good prices! We both opted for filet mignon, it came as not one, but two medallions of beef, doused in a red wine and mushroom reduction served up with veges. It was outstanding – especially when coupled with red wine!
We ended the night with another bottle of wine in a local bar and chatted about all the great times that we are going to have in NZ celebrating it all again with the lovely folk coming to our party!
What a great 4 days, we’d given our bodies the fuel it needed to push on for another 3 weeks of backpacking before hitting the home shores. Sucre would without a doubt be looked back upon fondly and we’d never forget the food at La Taverne and El Huerto. Cel had seen in the 30’s in style!
It was time to head off to Potosi, a mining town. We weren’t expecting quite the lifestyle that Sucre had shown us, but we certainly didn’t expect to get stuck there!