19.06.2008 -5 °C
After the coldest bus journies we have ever taken we arrived in the town of Uyuni. The start of the 3 day trip through Bolivias salt planes. We were meant to take a train but due to some political activity further afield they put a blockade on the track we were due to take. Exactly why, we still don-t know.
Uyuni is very much a frontier town. Dusty, cold and with only one purpous, to get you to the Salt plains although it did have a good line in exporting minerals but only when the trains were runing. We found an ok tour into the planes and set off in an old 4x4 with two Danes an English couple and one guy who was Swiss who could speak Spanish. The first stop was a train grave yard. a surreal place on the edge of the plains. Giant rusty old steam engines left for dead, huddled in a long line of neglect. Once great locomotives now piles of rust left for tourists to clamber over. After that we headed straight into the worlds largest salt plains. Miles and Miles of flat white salt. We all had to wear sunglasses becuse there was a real risk of going snow blind. They still collect salt from these flats. They just scrape it from the ground, crush it a little bit more, bag it and it ends on the dinner tables of South Americans. They only life to be found is on the small volcanic rock islands dotted in the plains. they are covered with tall cactus and some very dry looking grass. Due to the flat nature of the place we spent ages taking photos with trick perspectives. A bit cheesy but a lot of fun.
The next few days were spent driving higher into altitude to see barron lakes of different colours. One was even red another bright green. It was to do with a type of algae that lives in the water.The green one also had large amounts of arsenic in it so we were not advised to fill our water bottles Flamingos and mountain foxes and a few different types of Llama all living in and round these bizzare lakes at the top of the world.
The scenery was still amazing but the weather this high is always cold. Especially at night. On the last night of the trip the temperature went down to about -15c. We also had to get up early to see some amazing volcanic geezers. As the sun rose we were greeted with the amazing sight of huge clouds of steam bellowing from the ground. It was the most dramatic sights I have seen. It was as if we were transported back to the dawn of time.
I was the last day so, after the geezers and a very early cold start, we were treated to time in a thermal pool. At first we were reluctant to get into our swimmers as the air temp was still below freezing but once we did it was all worth it. After that we only had to think about getting back out.
From there we went straight to the Chilian Bourder to start our adventures in yet another country.