Well I felt like a complete dust ball each day as we drove across the altiplano reaching over 5000m above sea level – it was dry and hot and with limited amount of water, not many opportunities to wash yourself clean. But once again it was the scenery, the people and the flamingos that made this journey a good one. I was also pleased to be able to sleep indoors at a refuge for the night as it was very cold in the evenings. I hope you like the my journey through my pictures as for me that tells a whole story!!
Once again it was a long drive from amazing dry and arid planes to surprising green oasis with willow trees to reach my next destination – Uyani. Pretty much a nothing town, solely in existence for the tourists making their way to the Salt Flats and ultimately Chile. It was a very small town with some walls surrounding the town but to be honest it looked like a rubbish dump!! Certainly no hygiene system in place here.
But I wasn´t here for the town but to experience the gorgeous scenery of the the salt flats. Taken their by jeep I looked in wonder at this white plain in front of me that certainly looked more like snow than salt. This sensation stayed with me for the rest of the day and when you look at my pictures you will probably wonder why I wasn´t wearing more clothes because it looks cold. I had a great day on the salt flats taking perspective pictures and enjoying the experience of nothing ness around you.
The day ended with a magic sunset across the salt flats and I hope my pictures tell you more of a story.
It was a long drive from La Paz to Potosi, once one of the richest cities in the world as it was known for its silver mines. These mines were exploited by the Spanish and although the mines are still in operation all you can see of its wealth is the magnificent churches and for some reason everyone is driving brand new cars!
I spent the morning in Potosi exploring the city with my friends, Jen and Anthony. We opted to give the silver mine tour a skip basically because it sounded horrible to be trapped underground with traces of arsenic and all sorts of other dusts. It was also not appealing to be watching 14 year old kids working in the mines which still use original equipment in other words ancient!
The town had great character and the churches lived up to expectations. We managed to find a mirador (viewpoint) overlooking the main square were we saw a religious festival and a protest go by.
In the afternoon we visited Miraflores Hot Springs. We ordered a taxi that took us to the hot springs and agreed to wait for us for an hour and bring us back to Potosi. This was a great idea as it was off the beaten track and we probably would not have been able to get back into town. Not exactly what we expected but it was great to be away from the usual touristy spots and visit places the locals go too. Obviously we were a surprise to everyone there and every move was watched.
La Paz is a great funky city and one with loads of character, from the great views to the witches market it has something to offer everyone. I spent four days in this lovely city, exploring, buying souveniors and experiencing the long waiting time at the local post office.
It was a time I got to know my fellow travelling companions over great meals and some good Bolivian wines — this time with a decent alchol percentage.
I also visiting my first Moon Valley in South America – apparently any geological wonder in South America is called Moon Valley so guess I will be waiting to be visiting the next one in yet another country upon my travels. Formed out of mud, the hot sun actually bakes the soil like clay and this is what makes it sturdy. It had been raining previously and one of our party did sink to there knees so I am not too sure how stable they actually are and sort of rushed through the formations to be on the safe side.
Woo-ha! I made it across the border from Peru to Bolivia – not being too sure about the stable situation of the country I was well pleased to find that only the official capital of Bolivia, Sucre, was affected by the riots. The main reason being is that the people in Sucre want the government to come back to Sucre and not stay in La Paz which is known as the defacto capital. Consequently there were riots and a 3 people were killed by the police. At the moment the situation is stable but as you will see from the first places I have visited it looks nothing but peaceful.
Staying in Copacabana for 2 nights at Wendy Mar was a great treat after a long drive from Peru. I could not believe that the hotel cost us $4 per night and it was really lovely besides from the temperamental showers that have some odd electrical wires sticking out the top — mmmm electricity and water don´t exactly go together me thinks!!
Lake Titicaca from the Bolivian side is way more beautiful than from Peru and with the local food kiosks overlooking the harbour you can definitely enjoy watching some beautiful sunsets over a cold beer. I did try some of the local Bolivian wine – which tasted of warm Ribena and the best bit was the alcohol percentage was….wait for it….0.05%. So much for warming up with a class of vino tinto.
It was not just feet up in Copacabana but a small trip out to Isla de Sol (the island of the sun). It was a 2hour trip across to the island before we went on a 6 hour walk across the island to enjoy some amazing views. Not for those that struggle with altitude but if you take it slow it is rather enjoyable – but you also have to remember that most boats leave at 4pm so not too much dawdling is allowed. The sun was well up for the boat trip back and it was a perfect end before making the long drive to La Paz the next day.
To ensure a great drive we joined local tradition and had our vehicle blessed by the local priest in the main square…bizzare but I had real fun decorating the truck for the occassion.