Despite the temperatures getting down to freezing and there being no heating I actually slept pretty well last night. I was very pleased I had hired a sleeping bag. We had an early very basic breakfast, packed up the 4x4 and hit the road (well dirt track).
All the driving has been off road and there is no way anyone other than a local guide would find their way around, there are no distinct tracks and certainly no sign posts. The morning is chilly but once again when the sun comes out it's pleasantly warm. We really now are in the middle of no where, there are even very few local people living out here as in reality there is no infrastructure.
We went first through the Chiguana Salt flats en route to the semi active volcano of Ollague. To be honest the volcano was so far in the distance it just looked like one of the other mountains surrounding us, having seen the spectacular volcanos of Poas and Arenal in Costa Rica I was not really impressed, guess I've been spoilt.
We continued driving and the scenery became more and more desert like and even moon like in places. Wilda was playing an interesting mix of music on the sound system it was during this ride that I learnt Rick Astley has made music to transcend not only generations but cultures as well, as the French kids started singing along to "Never gonna give you up". Really they are French teenagers, I was shocked how the hell do they know Rick Astley?
We stopped at two lagoons on the way to Arbol de Piedra but for me the highlight of the day was the third lagoon we saw, Laguna Colorada. I believe it was in a National Park as we had to pay 150 Bolivianos ($20) to enter. This huge spectacular lake is a pinkish red in color due to the algees in it and other natural conditions in the area. There were llamas grazing which you could get up pretty close to and thousands of flamingos (of which there are three different kinds, who knew?) in the lake. The water reflected the huge snow capped mountains behind and even though we were at over 4000 meters altitude with the sun shining it was warm. This place has been a nice surprise at the end of a long day driving.
We were given some free time to wander around Laguna Colorado and told to be back at the jeep at 3:30pm as no reservations had been made for that nights accommodations and we had to beat the other tour groups to secure our accommodations. Seems accommodation is not only is extremely basic out here but in short supply, especially in high season. When I asked Wilda what would happen if we could not find a place he said sleep in the jeep. Somehow I don't think he was joking!
Luckily we found our next place to stay. A cement building with a corrugated iron roof in which there were 4 rooms each with 6 beds (so space for 24 people) Looks like I am sharing tonight with all the French kids, lol. There are two clean but basic toilets, one sink and no hot water or shower in site! Last nights accommodation was basic, this is rustic, hah hah.