Cochabamba in Bolivia was a strange town. I guess my head was just not in the right place to fully take it in as I got quite attached to the previous town we were in called Sucre. After spending 7 full days in Sucre – which is a long time to spend in one town when you’re travelling – me and my best friend and travelling buddy, Cath, turned to our Lonely Planet guide for the first time in a while to pick out a town to head to next. Against my feeble whimpers of wanting to stay a little longer in Sucre, we settled for Cochabamba. And boy did we feel like we settled.
There was nothing really offensive or dangerous about Cochabamba, and some parts were actually really pretty. There was just a strange vibe and we felt a bit like lost babies most of the time. The hostel we were in felt like a haunted house and there were not any friendly travelling faces to bounce new conversations and stories with, which was huge change to the experience of our journey so far.
On our second night there we looked up a restaurant to eat at, because on our first night in Cochabamba we struggled so hard to find anywhere to eat that we ended up resorting to buying chicken and fries from a small stall which they served to us in a plastic bag. They literally put the chicken and fries INSIDE a plastic bag… We looked so sad eating it in the courtyard of our hostel. So, we found an all-the-meat-you-can-eat Brazilian restaurant in the shopping mall and due to our impatience and hunger, we arrived about 45 minutes before they even opened. So we turned around and decided to get a snack and sit in the small park square outside to look at the surrounding views – including the “Jesus on the hill”.
‘The Cristo de la Concordia’ Jesus Christ statue is the main feature of Cochabamba, and is in fact taller than the Jesus statue in Brazil – by about 30 cm! We hadn’t taken the cable car up the hill to visit him up close yet, but he was in good view from a distance at most points of the town. As it had been cloudy that particular day he was pretty hidden away, and whilst innocently waiting in the park square with our rumbling tummies, we didn’t expect to see the spectacular formation of the clouds and light surrounding the statue as the sun was setting.
It was incredibly magnificent to see and the statue had a somewhat omnipotent presence around it – for a the lack of a better or logical description – and that moment became one of my favourite sights I saw and one of my favourite photos that I took.