Salt Flats

Trip Start Jul 19, 2010
Trip End Aug 13, 2010

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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Woke up, had an amazing breakfast, something to expect for the rest of my visit to South America. I desperately needed some warm clothing and so took to the local market with Dawn (Canadian) and bought a questionable hoodie and wooly trousers. This hoodie treated me well throughout the trip, and a highlight of the trip was seeing a Bolivian old man walk past me in the exact hoodie- it was a beautiful moment to the amusement of my friends, and I shall forever treasure this bloody awful looking and oversized hoodie.

On our return to the hotel we came back to bad news, due to the bad winds we won't be able to go to the lagoons in the South of the Salt flats:( At least we can see the Salt Flats, something I thought we wouldn't be able to do, due to the transport issues caused by the strikes, and it's just under a 7 hour drive. After all our other long journeys yesterday, this was easy.

Our first stop was to a small island in the middle of the largest salt flats in the world (12000+ km) and it was filled with Cacti! It was truly incredible and we walked up and around the mountain of Cacti taking pictures. From the top of the little island of Cacti you could see what seemed liked the never-ending white Salt Flats. Something everyone should experience, to experience the serenity and the feeling of freedom. We then descended down and had lunch. This is the first meal I felt ready to eat after briefly losing my appetite. Perhaps, not the best time to start feeling hungry again- they bought out a steak on a bone structure which looked like a bat! Turned out tt was actually Llama steak. Again, anyone that knows me will know I am a VERY fussy eater, and once in my mind, it's usually hard for me to overcome the obvious put me off- however, I surprised myself and ate must of it! Basically until I was full- appetite still not fully restored- which is such an achievement!

We then walked further out onto the salt flats where we took the classic perspective pictures which I think every tourist who has ever ventured to the Salt Flats have done, which was a lot of fun. The Salt Flats were crazy, the only way I can describe it is to imagine the entirety of your surroundings made up of pretty much endless crystallised salt. Now en route to the Hotel of Salt.

As we continued to travel South of the Salt Flats, again, due to the altitude, it was freezing! On arrival at the Salt Hotel, it looked pretty dull on the outside, just a standard bricked house with a corrugated iron roof held down by stacks of rock... When we entered the hotel it was just completely made out of Salt! It was crazy, the floor was big grains of salt, and the tables, chairs, beds, headrests were made out of salt! Time for the head torches and sleeping bags tonight! It was so cold that I wore pretty much all the tops I owned, excluding my vest tops. I shared a room with Michelle and Rickie (Denmark) Kim (Australia) and Barney (Leeds) and Soledad. Little did I know that this was the start of a lifelong friendship with Michelle and Rickie (See later blogs of trip to Denmark 2011) We all sat around the salt tables and chairs and played cards, multiple games of uno etc and had a lot of jokes and laughs- it was so nice getting to know them outside of a bus! Barney and Kim bought a beer and it came served with these plastic shot glasses- hilarious!

I didn't have a very good nights sleep as Soledad snored! Good news though, she came in when most of us were already in bed to tell us that we were able to continue our trip down south to the Red Lagoon- woooo. For dinner we had a chunk of Llama again with mash and veg... oh and soup and really nice dessert.
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