Pass the salt please
Trip Start Feb 06, 2011
20Trip End Jul 24, 2011
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The route to the salt flats involved climbing up to and crossing a plateau, nearly 5000m at its highest point, so we were glad of the couple of days we had had to acclimatise in Tupiza. The landscape soon became desert with snow-capped volcanoes dotted across the horizon, and the next three days were spent driving to the various sights, including spectacular geological formations,a ghost town deserted by the Spanish now only resident to chinchillas, lakes teaming with flamingos (including the rare but distinguished James species), hot springs and sulphur geysers
After this epic 3 day journey we arrived in the town of Uyuni, which is the spring board to the salt flats themselves. A highlight for me was visiting a train graveyard outside of the town the evening we arrived and seeing loads of rusting hulks that you could clamber over. Obviously this also included pretending to drive them, and given that I got to play gaucho in Tupiza, only leaves Air Traffic Controller as my one childhood ambition yet to be fulfilled on our travels.
The final morning we got up at 4:30am to head out to watch the sun rise over the salt flats. Normally the Salar is dry so gives people a huge expanse of white, however as we are in the Bolivian rainy season it is currently covered by a layer of water up to a foot deep. It therefore felt incredibly exciting driving out into this huge expanse of water in the moonlight with nothing to see ahead of us (Fidel obviously knew where he was going though)
Following a well-deserved breakfast of pancakes and dulce deleche we headed out further on to the now sunny Salar to admire the views and take the obligatory false perspective photos (with mixed success!). After then it was the short drive back to Uyuni to say a sad farewell to everyone, swap email addresses and head onto our next destination of the mining town of Potosí.