Potosi Royal Mint

Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Potosi, Bolivia
Another relocate day. The short couple of hours drive from Sucre up to the mining town of Potosi was at our risk. Of all the trips, this one felt one of the quickest and I was glad that it was soon over and not any longer. If the roads were wet, I would have been concerned.

Back higher, I felt it a little bit as we walked through the narrow streets to lunch and along the way got our quick city orientation as to where things were located. It was much cooler here than down at Sucre.

Lunch: El Fogon and Lomo de Llama a las Hierbas Finas or steak in a delicate local sauce with cooked vegetables B/- 45.

Armed with a steet map, it was off to explore a little it of this city in the remaining time that I had. Potosi is another compact city and main central sights covers only a few blocks.

Plaza 10 de Noviembre was city's the central meeting point.

At the "i" office, located in a modern building with reflective glass and 2 interesting pieces of modern art sculptures outside but the "i" was behind an old Jesuites church facade 1707 AD, I realised that by paying just BS/-10 I could climb the old church tower and have the postcard view that I was after of Cerro Rico which dominates Potosi and the city buildings in the foreground. Glad that I went back and snooped around as to how to get up to the tower or mirador "Torre de la Compania de Jesus" as I saw people up there as I was walking away from the "i" office the first time.

More churches: Santa Teresa, Iglesia de San Lorenzo and the all important Mercardo Central or central market where I could briefly escape from the vehicles fumes.

Having got a 4.30 pm entry ticket for the Casa Nacional de Moneda or the Royal Mint, returned there expecting an English tour. No, it was not so for 90 minutes had to follow the Spanish speaking group around. Each room we visited was locked so I couldn't jump ahead.

In addition to the BS/-40 entry ticket, paid the extra BS/-20 so that I could take photos.

This place records the history of Bolivia's coinage. Interesting and worth the BS/-40 but not the 90 minutes. Suppose it was getting colder as well which didn't help and the large stone walled rooms were cool to be standing in. 

On my way back to the hotel passed the San Francisco church which seemed to be smoothered in the vehicles desiel fumes and the setting sun. Something which I did not like about Potosi was the constant vehicle fumes being kept in the narrow streets so the single pedestrian vehicle free road back to the hotel was used when possible.

Dinner at El Meson and for me Chateaubriand filete de res enuuelto en tocino, con papa frita y verduras glaseadas or fillet of beef wrapped in bacon with french fries and vegetables for BS/-48 or less than NZ$10.

Tomorrow, the mine tour and why we came to Potosi. How will it differ from what we saw in "The Devil's Miner" film?
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