A day trip from Sucre – it snows in Bolivia!

This is out of sequence but I need to get it down so as not to forget.
The ever-helpful Rene introduced us to Pablo, a local guide, who would take us out into the Cordillera de Los Frailles, the ridge of hills outside Sucre, where the Jalq’a people live in small villages. The plan was to drive to a chapel/shrine on the top of the ridge from where we could walk down a pathway, built by the Incas but recently restored, for three hours to a village where we would have lunch in a local home. There were 7 of us all together, 5 tourists, Pablo and the driver, David, all in a rather small vehicle.
After visiting the shrine we set off on the walk, fortunately ignoring Pablo’s advice that we would not need waterproofs as we couldn’t be bothered to take them out of the backpack! The path was in good condition, the walk, downhill, was delightful with lovely views. After 2 hours walking the thunder and lightening started, followed by heavy rain. Eventually it was so bad we had to take shelter in someone’s home for over an hour. Pablo, our weather forecaster and guide, had to borrow Alan’s jacket to go to find the vehicle which took us the rest of the way to our lunch stop where we huddled together on a covered patio to eat our soup, delicious and very welcome.
After lunch we drove off along flooded roads towards the village of Maragua, situated in the crater of a collapsed volcano. It was a peculiar, unreal landscape especially as the storm died away. We decided to walk as the rain had stopped and were quickly bogged down in the mud.
Maragua is described as a weaving centre with tourist facilities which support the community. Probably because it was Sunday none of this was in evidence and the huge school where all the children from the surrounding villages are boarders from Monday to Friday was empty and silent. Pablo found a woman who obligingly set up her loom in her muddy back yard to give us a demonstration and after that we set off on the return journey to Sucre.
The roads were wet and muddy and, although the driver was cautious, it was a nerve racking journey back – especially as we drove over the ridge by the shrine where snow had settled!

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