Day 1 Salar de Uyuni.
This day we took probably more photos than any other day of our entire trip. There were 6 of us in our jeep, obviously, Jevina, plus our friend Louisa who we met in Cusco, and a lovely Dutch couple called FRODO and Hanke. The beauty of his name is that he was actually named after the Lord of the Rings character! We also had a very moody guide, well, driver really. But this did not matter as we blasted him out with Louisa´s ipod the entire time we were in the jeep anyway.
Firstly we climbed all over some poor dead trains in the train cemetary. They were British and left over from the 1900´s, quite sad but fun to climb on.
We then entered the salt! Blindingly white and the largest and highest salt lake in the world at a massive 12000 square Km. People still mine the salt and there were little salt pyramids everywhere.
We climbed an island (isla del pescado) which was made of coral and covered in cacti.
This was crazy as it was right in the middle of the salt planes and you could see for miles. We then spent hours taking very funny photos which are much harder than they look....
We drove on through the salt and that night we stayed in a salt hotel, everything was made from salt, even the tables and chairs.
This was a day of lakes and rocks
We visited the valley of rocks from which we could see a huge active volcano (Volcan Ollague)
, a tree made of rock
and lots of very beautiful lakes with flamingoes.
One of our favourites was Lagoona Colorada which was coloured red by algae and there were lots of rare flamingoes. This lake was at 4270 metres. This did not bode well with Jill who spent the whole day very sick from the altitude. Sad times. But the beauty of the day was definitely still appreciated. We slept in a house of dorms at 4300 metres. This is high!
We got up at 4.30 am so that we could be at the geysers at sunrise and as much as we might not like getting up that early, it was totally worth it. The geysers were amazing, 200ēC spurts of steam and boiling mud all over the place. The steam helped a little as it was absolutely freezing outside.
Because of this the prospect of stripping down to a bikini to get in the thermal pools was not good. However, by the time the sun had risen we decided to brave it and again, it was definitely worth it and it warmed us up nicely.
En route to San Pedro (Chile) we saw some more beautiful lakes, snow capped volcanoes and lots of desert. The border into Chile was a little hut in the middle of the desert, very surreal.
Ok, so bus from La Paz to Uyuni (in south Bolivia) took approximately 12 hours. This bus was more like what we got used to in Ecuador- mainly driving over fields of rubble rather than any sort of road. The bus felt like it was going to tip over and we were rained on through the roof. However, we made it in one piece and arrived in Uyuni where we were seduced by a man offering us tea and heating AND a tour of the salt flats, which we wanted anyway.