19.01.2011 - 19.01.2011 24 °C
The train to Potosi was not so much a train but a Mercedes bus with the chassis converted to run on railway tracks. The “Trus” looked hilarious and although the trip took twice as long as the bus it was highly recommended by Ebo, the owner of the guest house we stayed at.
The Trus service is not on the tourist radar and is primarily a means of transport to and from the indigenous farming villages high in the mountains. Reserving tickets was not legally possible and you had to typically line up outside the ticket office at 4am to get a seat. Luckily for us Ebo had a relationship with the guy who worked in the ticket office, who would agree to reserve us seats for the payment of a small additional fee (around A$3.00).
The departure would have gone smoothly except that in a moment of complete carelessness I left my camera in the Taxi on the way to the train station. Fortunately, my stupidity was negated by sheer luck, in that Ubi, who had booked the taxi and come to the train station to see us off, was able to use the phone in the ticket office to contact the taxi. He got through to the driver just as another another passenger was trying to claim the camera as their own and the driver was able to repossess it and return it to me at the train station just before we departed.
Just being transported by the “Trus” would by itself have been enough to make the journey memorable but when you add in that the mountainous route passed numerous indigenous villages, terraced agriculture and some spectacular vistas it became a true highlight.
The trip was punctuated with occasional stops to move cows or rocks out of the way and as we passed through each village the local dogs took it upon themselves to chase the train, barking hysterically and bounding right on onto the tracks in front of the Trus.
We took heaps of photos out the window and have included lots of these in the gallery.
Next update from Potosi.