March 2011.

Located at 4000 m above sea level, Potosi is the highest city in the world.

It is rather cold, and we put our coats on.

The city was founded in 1545, when a large vein of silver was discovered in the mountains above the city.

The vein was such that the city became the largest and richest of the Americas.

With remains of colonial architecture, the city center is a marvel.

We desperately seek an Internet connection but without success.

We take the oppotunity to have our lunch in a classy restaurant with WIFI (not working) and Matthew tastes "the highest beer in the world!

We visit the "Casa Nacional de la Moneda" where 3000 silver coins were made daily during the eighteenth century.

Huge wooden gears, driven by mules, were used for rolling ingots.

Tugdual is especially interested in the steam engine which replaced the mules in the late nineteenth century.

Children increase their collection of finger puppets: a whale, a sea lion, a llama, a condor ...

We set up our camp at the "Ojo del Inca", a few miles away from Potosi.

It is a perfectly circular lake located in the crater of an extinct volcano: the place is wonderful.

We are at 3500 meters above sea level, and a hot spring located inside the crater, feeds the lake, keeping the water at 36 C.

We bath for hours.

Bolivians take advantage of the hot water to do laundry !

In the early morning the view is fantastic.

The three men go to visit the silver mines.

It begins with a stop at the corner shop to purchase some gifts for the miners.

The sticks of dynamite, which can be bought as easily as chocolate bars are greatly appreciated gifts.

Before entering the mine, Tugdual organizes a small demo for us !

And off we go for an amazing tour underground, following the vein of silver.

We go through half collapsed galleries.

Since the bankruptcy of the National Company for Mining, mines are operated by cooperatives of miners and there is a deep lack of investments.

Working conditions are terrible, and the miners chew coca leaves all day long.

What difficult but interesting experience.

Before leaving Potosi, we cut the hair of the children !

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