In March 2010 me and Becky were hanging out in a lovely park in Mendoza, Argentina, when we thought ‘hey, we could so easily just pop up to Bolivia’. Less than a week later we were setting off on a round trip tour of the Bolivian salt flats, Tupiza to Salar de Uyuni and back again! Here is my diary from those perfect four days…
‘So, on the 17th of March we set off, early in the morning, in our jeep.
There were two other travellers, from Argentina, in our group and then the driver/guide and the cook. Not one of them spoke English…at all. We weren’t expecting this and it did make things quite hard. I mean we didn’t understand where we were, what we were doing, or what we were seeing for most of the trip! Not to mention it made us feel like idiots for not picking up more of the language.
However who needs language when you are spending 4 days in photography heaven?! The tour itself is so visual, that despite language barriers, it was absolutely amazing, and definitely worth the money and the spontaneous trip up there. With views like this who can complain:
The first day was mostly driving, stopping once in a while during the morning to take pictures of the amazing scenery: mountains, valleys, greenery, excessive cacti, animals, random Bolivian women and men wondering the remote roads…pretty cool.
Then at lunch we stopped in the middle of a huge field of llamas and were literally 5 minutes late to see a baby llama being born! We saw the placenta and the baby trying to stand though; equal parts gross and hilarious!
More driving and more taking pictures. More driving and then finally we were ‘home’ for the night. We had this really cute little room that reminded me so much of our homestay in lake Titicaca. Actually loads of things in Bolivia reminded me of Peru; they are very similar. You sometimes feel like you’ve stepped back in time.
The next day we had to get up at the unholy hour of 4 o’clock to see some Inca style ruins at sunrise. It was still pitch black when we got up and the stars were like I’ve never seen them before. Seeing the milky way for the first time is pretty special!
Seeing the ruins at this time was amazing with the sun coming up behind the mountains, changing the colours and shadows of the landscape each minute. The town itself was spectacular as well with about 2 miles of buildings crumbling to decay. Sadly I could not tell you the name of this place due to the aforementioned language issue!
Next stop was a large flamingo filled lake, the first of many beautiful lakes. I fell pretty hard for flamingos that day. They are so beautiful and graceful and watching them is so peaceful.
We journeyed on to another lake which had mostly dried to a salt plain and someone had made a salt igloo! The diversity of the landscape here is just incredible and the entire place holds this otherworldly aura.
We also went to the Lagoa Verde, the green lake, which was beautiful and the most easily understood name in Spanish for us novices.
That day we also visited a collection of Geysirs, something I had never seen before, which definitely heightened the sense that we were on another planet!
The 3rd day started with a trip to the red lake with more flamingos, making these beautiful cooing noises in the early morning sunshine! I could have watched these beautiful creatures all day but we had more alien landscapes to witness!
We then went to the volcanic rocks. The most famous of which I think is called the tree rock. Sadly this was cautioned off so the pictures aren’t that great. Much later in Vietnam I would find out that Oli was part of the reason for this as he has a picture of himself on top of it! There is always someone who ruins it for everyone else!
Driving that day was especially amazing. We were so high up and we drove across loads of really flat desert areas so that you literally felt like you were on top of the world as all you can see on the horizon were clouds and the very tops of mountains…it was so surreal!
We then made our way to our nights stay right on the edge on the salt flats. We went past loads of really cool places, one with round huts, another with big open windows looking out onto the flats. We started getting worried we were being taken to somewhere rubbish but, oh no, we were going somewhere better…the salt hotel! We’d obviously heard about it but didn’t realise we were going to be staying there. It is so so cool! EVERYTHING is made out of salt- the walls, the beds, the chairs, the tables…not the loos ha. We had a lovely evening, yummy dinner and then made some friends and played cards. In a hotel made of salt!
And the next day promised a lot more salt! But the Salar de Uyuni deserves a post of it’s own so tune in next week for the 4th day of photography heaven on Memory Lane Monday!