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Mat and Vendy's travels

Salt Plains trip

BOLIVIA | Wednesday, 27 August 2008 | Views [3155]

After a cold night in Uyuni, we had time to buy snacks and water before being picked up at 10.30 to go to the salt plains, the largest and highest in the world, they are almost twice as big as the ones in salt lake city covering an area almost as big as Northern Ireland.

We´d been looking forward to this and it was well worth the wait. I´ve seen nothing like it before in my life. We started at the train cemetary where all the old steam trains are resting and then went to the salt factory before going onto the salt plains. We had lunch in the old salt hotel, people dont stay there anymore as it is known to have been bad for the environment. While waiting for lunch we took some silly photos with verying degrees of success - the best are here for you to see.

Later we went to Fish Island, which was fascinating as it still has old coral on it, showing it was once underwater and now has lots of cactuses on it, one is over 1000 years old.

After this we drove to the hotel where we would spend the night. It was made from salt, but wasn't on the Salt Plains. It was very near though. We were worried that it would be cold but it was the warmest night we´ve had for a few days!

Day two was very long, we were woken at 6.30 and there was a lot of driving. Our first stop was at the Galaxy Caves, more like a small cavern, but interesting as it still feels like it should be underwater!

Then off to see the active volcano in the area, it was a long drive, and it was made longer because one of our jeeps came across someone who had broken down and stopped to help. Our driver (who was always the fastest, and wouldn't wait for the others-he was a good driver but not a team player!) took us to a viewpoint where we waited for the others to catch up. This was how we later found out about the story! While we waited our guid mars got out her skipping rope (shes training for a half marathon in buenos aires!) and we all practiced skipping at altitude - very tiring work!

Later in the day we stopped at various lagoons to see flamingos and finally at the red lagoon which is red due to minerals in it. They are more spectacular at the end of the wet season but still wonderful nonetheless. Soon after this we stopped at our hostel for a second night. This was very basic, dorms for boys, another for girls - unofrtunately for mars she ended up sharing with us as there wasnt enough room for her in the girls.

This hostel wasn't very nice, but luckily for us the night wasnt as cold as expected and as it was our last night in Bolivia they also gave us some Bolivian red wine to keep warm - it was gross but a nice gesture!

Next morning we were up at 5.15am to get to the geysers at sunrise. The weather was freezing but not as bad as it could be - our friends jeep last week couldn't leave as the petrol was frozen!

We got on the road at 6am and were amazed that these geysers are natural and heated by the volcanic activity nearby. They smell of sulphur and the wind was biting but i couldn't help wandering round until I couldn't feel my face, hands or feet anymore.

Next we went down to the springs where plenty of people had a swim before breakfast but i couldnt bring myself to get in - there was ice on the lake! The people brave enough to get in said it was lovely - I´m sure it was!

Then it was off to Dali desert where we drove through before stopping for our last walk on bolivian soil, at the green lake. No birds or animals here as it is full of arsenic. Then we drove past the ´White Lagoon´which didn't look white - and over the border into Chile!

This was by far the best thing we did in Bolivia, something we´ve never seen before, and I´m sure that none of us will ever forget the last three days.

   

Tags: bolivia, chile, galaxy caves., geysers, green lagoon, lagoons, red lagoon, salt hotel, salt plains, volcano

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