29.01.2012 - 31.01.2012
Finally I made it to my next big tour, the worlds largest salt flats which sits at a soaring 3,653m and the blankets an amazing 12,106sq km. We managed to get a really good deal for the 3 day tour at a very cheap £25 per day!!! We were travelling with a group Spaniards comprising of 10 backpacker’s altogether and we were lucky to have such a good tour guide who had taken us the reverse way round so we didn’t have to be with another 30 other tour groups viewing the same sites at the same time! So day 1 comprised of us going to the old trains which still stand, all rusty but really cool to jump on and have feel of the size of these bad boy machines – there was a man made see-saw where I and Michael had so much fun on and also swings that were made out of odd bits of train remnants. After leaving we had to make a lengthy ride to our 1st hostel so we had to spend most of our afternoon in the car but the sites that we came by were so different and diverse. For lunch we had stopped over these mahussive rocks, I felt I was in some Indiana Jones movie heheh. Lunch was great but our 1st night was not! There were no showers available and well the toilets I would not call them that and how cold was it….bloody cold I literally had all my clothes on in a sleeping bag plus 2 blankets god know how I managed to get some sleep!
Day 2 – we had hit the 4,950m ‘Sol de Manana geyser’ basin very early in the morning and these streams of volcanic steam were ridiculous esp the height that they were reaching not forgetting the foul sulphurous smell that they were gushing out and the boiling mud pots! We then were very glad to hit Termas de Polques hot springs which reached a comfortable 30degress water and certainly provided a relaxing morning dip at 4,200m. The view was sublime…outside the small pool we were faced with a never ending view of the ocean and nothing else! Clothes back on and we were off to see several lakes but Laguna Colorado and Laguna Verde were just breathtaking! Honestly, Colorado I just could not believe that the water was actually RED! The rays of the sun heat up all the elements from precious stones to bring out the colour – just crazy. Laguna Verde was in the middle of nowhere and BANG there it was. Greener than green a beautiful turquoise in colour just spectacular but extremely COLD! My pictures seriously do not do any justice to them. Right next to Laguna Verde was Laguna Blanca which was ok…We were off to our next hostel which was a lot warmer and the toilets were more bearable heheh. We were staying near these huge rocks where supposedly Condors fly by really early in the mornings (did not get up that early to see them).
Day 3 - The final day we were making our way to the piece de la resistance the actual salt flats…it was a bit of a drive so by the time we reached Uyni we stopped to have some lunch and then we had spent about 3hrs on the salt flats. Trying to describe the view, the feeling, and the atmosphere is just so hard! You are faced literally with a blank canvas. Straight ahead of you cannot differentiate where the sky ends and where the salts meet. The salts were covered by an inch or so of water which gave it an amazing mirror gaze. As you can imagine we took loads of pictures and went a bit too loco hehe but everywhere you looked it was just looked crazy. At one point on the left we had the clouds forming a very soft cover, on the left there were grey clouds building up with the odd lightning sprouting out, in front I had saw the most beautiful sun set and then to top this we saw a flock of flamingos flying away in the distance. This was an amazing tour that I would recommend anyone to do and you would be surprised…I mean who would have thought you would get to see loads of pink flamingos in Bolivia?!?!?!? Beautiful Bolivia but bloody cold.