A Stone's Throw

practice your aim. you never know when you'll spy 2 birds at once.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Highest City In The World

Don´t have any photos handy to post, but this city isn´t what I expected. I had read of a crumby little town at the peak of the Andes where there´s nothing to do and better avoided. What people forgot to say is that because Potosi was once one of the richest cities in the world (yes - the world - there was a time when it was more populated and richer than either Paris or London), the remnants of a beatuful city remain. Wonderful architecture and statues crown buildings. Narrow, quaint cobbled streets line the way between plazas.

Yet the riches are gone and the people remain - poor, destitute, yet not without hope. They understand that the silver mines that had made the city what it was are almost completely depleted (hauled away by the Spaniards) and educate themselves for other lines of work.

Yet the mining continues. The mines, which have operated for over 400 years, are said to have claimed over 8 million lives. So there is a sense of sadness that hangs over Potosi like that of the great Cerro Rico. That, mixed with the frigid air at 4,200 feet, make the city seem inhospitable.

Not too far away, a 20 minute collectivo ride, I visited a hot spring formed from the mouth of a volcano. Indeed, bubbles still erupt on the surface from deep in the volcano. And, to date, no one has ever measured its depths. Swimming in the hot water was a strange experience, primal even.

I´ve moved on, but certainly Potosi has left its mark.


  • At 10:52 AM , Anonymous Dale said...

    Swimming in the hot spring. Sounds like a good set up for a story. It's snowing here in Montana and you're swimming in hot springs. You, sir, suck.


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