Monday 20th May
Getting up at 7am, before sunrise and walking to the bus station to discover that our bus from Salta to San Pedro de Atacama in Chile was cancelled due to snow wasn't the nicest way to start the week. We decided to head back in to town and have breakfast and think about what to do. Eventually, we were told that there would be no bus until Thursday as the boarder with Chile would remain closed because it was a public holiday in Chile and no one wanted to work on clearing the snow. We decided to get our money back and take an overnight bus to Bolivia instead.
Tuesday 21st May
The overnight bus released us into the empty streets of Tarija at dawn. We wandered down what appeared to be a main road leading to the centre of town and happened to be lined with banks. We withdrew money then found a hotel open that would let us check in and went out for breakfast and wifi. We then wandered around the market, bought a sim card and were pleasantly surprised at how cheap everything was. After a much needed nap, we went out for lunch and did a few other chores, exploring the streets of rows of one kind of shop after another (blocks of hairdressers, followed by blocks of butchers, followed by blocks of hardware stores).
Wednesday 22nd May
We got up too late for breakfast at our hotel so went out to a place on the main square and tapped away on our iDevices over scrambled eggs and pancakes. The rest of the day involved uninteresting chores (getting our clothes washed and fixed, buying a Bolivian sim card, getting me a haircut) but was of course punctuated with a café break.
Thursday 23rd May
We managed to catch breakfast at our hotel, then packed up and checked out. The day then consisted of another series of chores: washing clothes, buying a bus ticket, getting the 3G to work on our sim card, withdrawing cash, shopping for a few extra warm clothes. We enjoyed a very cheap lunch and worked a little in a café in the afternoon before catching our overnight bus to Tupiza.
Friday 24th May
Arriving in Tupiza at 3.30am, we gingerly knocked on the door of the hostel we'd booked, who had told us that it was no problem to arrive at such an hour. True to his word, the owner very kindly let us in and showed us to our room. We slept for a couple of hours before breakfasting and getting information about tours in the area. We then went out for lunch, taking our time walking around town at almost 3000m above sea level, giving our lungs time to adjust to the thinner air.
Saturday 25th May
Waking up, we were shocked how cold it was in our room, so after breakfast we sat on the hostel's terrace in the sun and worked for a while before going out in to town for a quick lunch. We came back just in time to have a short rest and change for our horse riding excursion out of town. We were lead by Fernando, a cheeky 16 year old boy on our trip and made our way out of town through the quebrada towards the Cañon del Inca with very little input from us, as the horses seemed to know the route very well.
Sunday 27th May
We had a lazy morning breakfasting and then working before going out for lunch and more work. In the evening, we prepared ourselves for our four day desert tour and went to bed early in anticipation of the 7am start.