Bolivia travel blog by a backpacker -
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From La Paz it took 3hrs 30mins to travel to Oruro by bus. Oruro is known as a cold and windy place but wasn't while I was there. I was interested
in having a quick look around and finding out about the train to Uyuni. There are quite a few budget hotels and hostels around the city center. I
planned to stay just 1 night.
Train to Uyuni
The first thing I did was take a walk to the train station, I was very lucky, it was a Monday, the train to Uyuni,
the Expreso del Sur goes on only Tuesdays and Fridays and leaves in the mid afternoon. The other train called the Wara Wara goes on Wednesdays and
Sundays but at night, so you see nothing along the way. I bought a ticket for the Expreso del Sur for the next day leaving at 3:30pm, the ticket
was standard class and cost 56 Bolivianos ($8USD). The trains from Oruro go all the way south to Villazon via Uyuni, Atocha and Tupiza, here is a
photograph of the complete timetable of trains
from and to Oruro.
What's Around Town?
Apart from getting a train ticket I just walked around the city a bit gathering some of the sights.
There is a monument called Dia de la Morenada with a statue of Jose Flores, a master of traditional Bolivian dancing. The day of Morenada is a tradition
held in all of Bolivia each year on the 7th of September. I visited the markets which are between the center of town and the train station, along the
way I noticed people on the sidewalk playing a card game with colored picture cards, I am not sure what the game is called but it seems that people
challenge for money. The markets are just your normal Bolivian markets with fruit and flowers, snacks, coca, produce, products and cloths for sale.
Not far from the train station are a line of music shops selling guitars, pipes and percussion instruments. There is also a witches market here in
Oruro very similar to the one in La Paz with all kinds of potions and remedies. On the way back to the center I had a rest in a little plaza called
Plazuela Genaro Frontanilla Vistas and nearby I found Plaza Uyuni which has a big clock tower at one end. Oruro has a bunch of museums (at least 5),
a zoo, mirador lookout, a cathedral, palace of culture, university and other plazas and parks.
Carnival and Train Out
main attraction however is the annual carnival
usually held in February or March. The train from Oruro to Uyuni takes 7hrs, about half of it in daylight. I was on the right side of the salon car, we past some wetland areas where there were 1000's of birds including flamingos, it's
20mins out of Oruro, have your camera ready but it's quite bumpy and photography is challenging, but fun. We past through a few remote settlements and amongst
mountainous regions before it got dark and after a few more hours arrived in Uyuni