We awoke early on Kate's birthaday to head straight to the border with Bolivia. By the time we had arrived the temperature had already plumeted as we had climbed into altitude. Therfore before we had boarded the bus my t-shirt and shorts had transformed into full winter clothing.
Our first stop was at one of the many salt lagoons. IT was inhabited by countless flamingoes. They were not the floresent pink ones that Attenborough hangs around with but a paler pink with vivid feather tips. Nexyt came a selection of mounysind, one name after Dali as it looked like it belonged in one of his palintings. After this came a number of geysers. They all bubbled from the eath with a dull grey colour. They were spectacular and thankfully the gale force winds blew away any smell of sulphur from the air. Our final stop was the Red Lafoon, coloured by the minerals within it. To see a vast lake, filled with flamingoes, red not blue, was something that I shall never forget.
Finally we arrived at our home forthe night. It was nothing special but what do you expect from a desert, the beds were made of concrete. However, I think we were all relieved to be able to rest awhile as the altitude sickness affected some quite badly. I however, was feeling alright so Kieron and I went for a walk before dinner. Having climber the small hill behind our accomodation we were awarded with sights of the sun setting over the Red Lagoon. Some nutter was actually running along the roadway toward it, crazy considering walking was making me short of breath. Kieron and I did walk out towards the lake and made it about half way before turning back for dinner which was a fair effort.
Day 24 26/10/09
On the second day we had an early breakfast before heading out towards the Salt Flats. Our first stop was a rock which looked like tree or bird, depending on how active your imagination was. Surrounding this were a numer of other rocks whihc we all had a climb of.
NExt we drove toward the Stinky Lagoon On the way we spotted both a Chinchilla and a desert fox who was a big fan of our pancakes. Finally we reached the Stinky lagoon which is again vast with salt./plant islands. Whilst ehere some idiots decided it would be clever to run out onto the islands and chase the birds another on thought hurling rocks at them would be fun. This really annoyed me. How can you trave so farm see such incredible sites, that few others in the world will ever see and act like a mndless thug?!
For lunch we had llama steak which was different but quite nice and made a change to all the beef.
Our last lef of the journey was to the salt hotel at the edge of the Salt Flats. It was marvelous. The whole thing was made entirely of salt from the floors to the ceiling. Even the table and chairs in the main dining room were made from blocks carved out of the salt. Also there were showers. FANTASTIC as it had rather heated up! It probably be the most unique hotel I ever visit!!
Day 25 27/10/09
This day we headed out onto hte Salt Falts proper. They were out of this world, perfectly flat, the sun shimmering off. We pause to take the obligatory jumping/stretching photos. Then onto the island. The island is a hill that appears out of nowhere in the vast sea of the salt flats. IT was covered in cactai and inhabited by birds, a coupe of the chincillas wandered around a one lonely gnu. We all entered the national park to climb this hill and the views from the top were stunning, the flats stretching out as far as the eye can see, Before and after lunch we gota little snap happy taking perspective pictures with bottles, dinosaurs, jumping photos etc.
From the salt flats we went to a Railway/Train graveyard. Lutterally hundreds of trains and carriages were littteded along a disused line just outside of Uyuni. To be honsse after a quick climb on the trains the novelty soon wore off.
Finally we arrived at out hotel and had a wel earned relax and stretch after the 4x4s.