13/07/05 - 16/07/05

Trip Start Apr 22, 2005
Trip End Aug 12, 2005

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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Wednesday, July 13, 2005

I am so glad that IŽd gotten over my illness before I started this 4 day, 3 night tour through the Southwest of Bolivia. If I ever complain of a British winter again then please remind me of this. I have never been so bloody cold in my entire life. The only thing that comes slightly close was when I cycled home in a snow storm only to arrive and find that the boiler had packed up and there was no heating. And even that seems tropical in comparison. From the first night until we finished I never felt even remotely warm. This was due to a number of things including the altitude (as we rarely went below 4000 metres and averaged around 4500) and the wind, urrghh.

However, it was a great trip and the scenery was stunning. WeŽd get to a place and the guide would ask us if we wanted to get out to take pictures. Generally, the answer would be Žno, weŽll just take them from the jeep, thanksŽ! I tell thee, flamingoes are nuts. They stand around in semi frozen lakes in winds that will knock you over at 4500 metres. Crazy birds.

The hostels we stayed at were, ahem, "basic" and despite going to bed with 3 layers of clothing, a very thick sleeping bag (that IŽve been dragging around the whole bloody continent for 3 months), 3 blankets and 2 hot water bottles, I was still finding to hard to sleep! Hot water was unfortunately a luxury that didnŽt exist and so I didnŽt shower for 3 days. Luckily, it takes a partly virulent strain of body odour to permeate 6 layers of clothing!

We stayed in a hotel made of salt on the last night which was very nice and mercifully warmer. However any body heat gained here was quickly lost when we left at 5.30am to catch the sunrise of the salt flats. It was worth it for the superb views we got after we climbed a bloody great hill in the semi darkness!

The trip was definitely worth doing and I would recommend it (with a portable heater!).
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