Higher than a Kite

Trip Start Jan 04, 2012
1
18
24
Trip End Jul 18, 2012


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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Saturday, May 5, 2012

Our next adventure was a tour across the peaks of the desert into Bolivia and to the Salt Flats near Uyuni. Sophie, Rosie, Tony and us all booked to be on the same tour using a company we had been recommended.

First stop on the tour was being transported by minibus across the Bolivian border and stopping for breakfast in the middle of the desert. We were transferred into 4 by 4's and with only Tony and I out of the 6 of us not being 6ft and over it was going to be a cosy few days!

Our breakfast stop was in an amazing location, and the next 3 days were full of unbelievable views, and really spectacular scenery, Bolivia is an absolutely breath taking country. We were given a brief in English that our drivers spoke minimal English and that Bolivian people were very different to Chileans and much more shy!

After breakfast day one consisted of a stop at a beautiful lagoon, some hot springs where we were able to get in the pool with snow capped mountains in the back drop and then the hot geysers. Not quite what I was expecting when told we were seeing hot geysers but impressive all the same!

We reached our accommodation for the night, a simple stone house in the middle of nowhere at 3pm on the first day and were delighted. Within the space of those few hours we had climbed up to an altitude of 4900m and everyone was suffering with breathlessness, headaches and I was puking. Luckily an afternoon of lying down and a lovely dinner our bodies were starting to adapt and by the time we woke up the next morning we felt back to normal. Such a strange experience. The accommodation for the night due to the altitude was absolutely freezing and with a sleeping bag, socks, and 3 blankets we were just about warm enough!

Day two was the most time we spent actually travelling in the car, luckily our driver Johnny was happy for us to play our own music although he joined in moaning if the songs were too slow and dancing when he enjoyed them! First stop of the day was another beautiful lake with the edges full of flamingoes and backed by snow capped mountains, probably my favourite stop on the tour, it was so peaceful and the flamingoes are gorgeous. On that day we also visited tree rock, you guessed it a rock that looks like a tree, saw volcanoes including an active one, another lagoon and more impressive rock formations before arriving at a town called Culphina K. An impressive buffet lunch was also served with a table cloth covering a rock, very posh.

During the day we had been, what felt like re-entering civilization with small houses starting to appear, pylons and then eventually paved roads and the small town we stayed in. It was the first time we had seen a Bolivian town and it was very clear that it was very different from Argentina and Chile being much less developed, much poorer and the majority of women still wearing traditional outfits and hair styles (very very long platted pigtails). Our accommodation this night was much warmer, due to lower altitude and had showers, although they weren't warm it was nice after the dusty journey.

Day three started early with a trip to the train grave yard a peculiar stop just outside the town of Uyuni that was full of old rusted engines and carriages, some of which had been made into swings, some art others just left there rusting - I didn't get it. The final stop of the tour however the salt flats were like nothing we had ever seen. Pure white ground for as far as you could see, that were really bright and you felt like should be cold like ice but wasn't at all, absolutely unique.

We spent a couple of hours having lunch, playing around with the perspective when taking photos and marveling at the views before heading back to the town of Uyuni. It was a really great tour, Johnny our driver was ace, the stops were beautiful and I don't think you could get a more impressive scenic entrance to a country. I think we're going to like Bolivia.
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Comments

Granny Gu and Bryan on

Bolivia sounds very different! Glad you are still enjoying yourselves. Your birthday is coming up Bethan so we expect you will make it a day to remember. You will have to wait for your present till we see you but Happy Birthday. Megan has sent some more pictures of Anna. She looks just like Megan did at the same age. Hope we will see you in Swansea in the summer. LOLxxxxxxxxxxx

Granny Gu and Bryan on

Hi Bethan----- hope you had a really good birthday. It will certainly have been an unusual one. We were thinking about you! When do you come home? Can't wait to see you and Dave. Lots of love xxxxxxxxxx

Mum in Devon on

It all looks and sounds amazing! Wish I was there.
Can't believe how immense the salt flats are.
Looking forward to seeing you very soon
Take care and love you lots xxxxxxxxxx

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