There is nothing like the salt lakes of Uyuni

Trip Start May 12, 2005
Trip End Sep 19, 2005

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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Sunday, June 12, 2005

Bolivia - all chaos??? After booking the tour with some guy named Petr from Serbia (he lost all his documents and can't enter his country anymore... sure...) we went off to the Bolivian border, got our entry stamps again in the weirdest border post I have ever seen (in Brazil they would call this favela). I found myself in a Toyota Land Cruiser with two Englishmen and two Englishwomen and a Bolivian guide. The guide was actually in a quite good mood - for a good reason - the problems in Bolivia were gone! All barricades lifted - a new president elected. I had already planned to return to Chile and head to Iquique afterwards, but now changing plans again - I am flexible :-) FYI: travelling to Iquique wouldn't have been a good idea anyway - since it suffered from an earthquake just the day I would have been there - lucky Martin.

Well, so we started in good mood, saw one of the most fantastic scenery I have ever seen in my life. Submontane of volcano Lincancabur we visited Laguna Verde and Laguna Colorada, saw flamingos, llamas and alpacas. Laguna Colorada is one of Bolivia's most spectacular and most isolated marvels. The shores and shallows are crusted with gypsum and salt, an arctic white counterpoint to the flamingo red, algae-coloured waters in which the flamingos breed. You have to see it to believe it!

The first night of the tour was actually the coldest and most uncomfortable I have ever experienced so far. Sleeping in some dirty hostel with all my clothes on and 10 (!) layers of sheets and blankets, it was impossible to sleep - it was rather not about sleeping but about surviving - with about minus 20 degrees and winds outside. Oh - I love the altiplano ;-)

The second night was much more interesting - we slept in a salt hotel - that means everything is out of salt (almost). The blankets weren't and I had a good sleep after a hot shower. My fellow travellers turned out to be good company. One guy was travelling together with two girls (lucky him) and the other Englishman - a lone traveller as well. I was running into Marc up until Rurrenabaque and we had some good time together.

The third day was all about the salt lake itself - the largest and highest in the world. After an early start (thanks Marc for waking us all up - our guide overslept) - we were on our way to see the sunrise from a little cactus island in the middle of the lake. Being quite late we were running up the little hill (in 4000m you are kind of out of breath) and were rewarded with a beautiful view over the lake.

We actually got used to living on the altiplano and almost didn't want to go back to civilization, but in the early afternoon we arrived in the small town of Uyuni and I got myself set up with a cheap hostel, dreaming about the overwhelming experience I had.
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