Monday, May 21, 2012

Casa de la Moneda

Casa de la Moneda from the outside. It is a beautiful building!
So after my exciting morning, I returned to my hostel (which was the best hostel I have ever stayed in. If anyone ever goes to Potosi.. the Koala Den is where it's at) and took a nice hot long shower and was very happy to do so. Potosi is really cold because the altitude. Then, I made myself go to this museum that my Lonely Planet just raves about. It is the called Casa de la Moneda, the mint museum. Back when Potosi was a booming city, money was coined right in this huge, beautiful building. Okay, so maybe it was because I had such high expectations thanks to LP, or maybe I was just really tired, or maybe it was because this was basically the coldest museum in the world and I wore my gloves, hat, scarf, and jacket the whole time, but it was not what I had expected it to be. It was interesting, but I was grumpy because we had to have a tour guide and my guide in particular really liked to just speed through all the rooms. I had no time to look at things on my own. Also, it was sort of expensive on Bolivian standards, 40 Bolivanos for a ticket, so about $6 and you couldn't take pictures unless you paid an additional 20 Bolivanos. But, Hannah, I snuck this photo just for you:
So. Many. Minerals.
The museum was just an amazing building.
No, I am being a bit bitter. It was a very interesting museum and I am glad that I went.  Something that I found really interesting is that the US dollar sign comes from Potosi. Because the mint stamp was a PTSI, all layered on top of each other so part of it looked liked this $. Also, Bolivanos and dollars use to be equivalent. Thank goodness that isn't the case anymore because otherwise I would have long ago exhausted my Global Citizen Funds.
There was one really cheesy part in the museum. They had this exhibition with these stuffed mules displaying how the machines that flattened the coins were powered It was cool: there were these huge machines on the second floor with three or four large wooden gears. This machine extended down to the first floor, where it was powered by mules. So the cheesy part was when our tour guide said, it was very loud and noisy with all the mules working, then she flipped on this switch and this really soft background noise started: just mules breathing basically. The tour lasted for a little over an hour and then we were all rushed out of the museum, so I didn't even have time to go back and look at some galleries that I wanted to check out again. But, I wasn't that upset because at that point I had lost all feeling in my fingers and toes. I am glad I went because I learned a lot about the minting process, something that I knew near to nothing, but I wish I had gone earlier in the day when the temperatures were a wee bit higher.
random photo of Potosi
And another random photo of Potosi with Cerro Rico in
the background. Wherever you are in the city, you can
always see Cerro Rico.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the photo Em. Money!

    haha... couldn't resist the pun.