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Graham Williams & Louise Jones Travel Blog This is our journal logging our trip through Central and Latin America from July 2005 to the present date. We update it and add new pictures every two to three weeks. At the moment Will is travelling in South Africa, while Lou is living in Buenos Aires.For more background reading on our travels go to - http://journals.worldnomads.com/will/

Central Bolivia and the Salar de Uyuni

BOLIVIA | Monday, 19 June 2006 | Views [4639]

On the Salar de Uyuni

On the Salar de Uyuni

We have had a busy couple of weeks traveling around the central area of Bolivia. From La Paz we went to the city of Potosi, at 4000 meters the highest city of its size in the world, bright and cool most of the time. A couple of hundred years it was the richest town in the world, its wealth based on the fabulously rich silver mines in the mountain that overlooks the town. It is now full of wonderful old churches and for some reason, lawyers. The main reason travelers come here is to do a mine tour, as the mountain is still worked, a very unique experience. A fuller description of what its like can be found at,

http://grahamwilliams-traveller.blogspot.com

From Potosi we went to Sucre, for historical reasons the capital of Bolivia even though it is a small town. This is a beautiful place, lower, so much warmer and filled with grand white buildings and palm trees - like arriving in the South of France. As the Supreme Court is here, it s another place packed with lawyers. On the outskirts of the town is a quarry with the largest collection of Dinosaur tracks in the world, about 3000 dinos walked across the bed of lake and their footprints are now preserved on the quarry face and many of them had very big feet.

From Sucre we went back to Potosi and then on through some very wild country to Uyuni, a town founded at a railway junction and on the edge of one the most spectacular landscapes on earth.

Uyuni is a cold, bleak place but filled with tourists who come here to visit the Salar de Uyuni, at 10,500 kmsq, the largest salt flats in the world, an expanse of white. The trip takes three days and is done in a Land Cruiser. From the salt flats the tour takes you to a wilderness of Volcanoes, lakes, geysers and boiling mud. We were lucky to have a great guide and driver, Javier and his wife Liset, who was the cook. She managed to put together some imaginative meals in very basic conditions and they always had the kettle on, even serving up tea at 5 o clock in the morning.  We also had some nice traveling companions including a Bulgarian film maker, a lovely young Irish couple and a girl taking time out from her job in the Diplomatic Service. The trip is a tough one as the facilities and roads are very primitive and environment harsh. In daytime the sun is bright and warm but at night the temperatures drop to well below freezing and on the second night we were sleeping at almost 5000 meters high. At night, the stars were unbelievable, we never see the Milky Way like this in the Northern Hemisphere.

Despite the discomforts the trip was fantastic, wonderful views of lakes covered in Flamingos, a smoking volcano and the great white expanse of the Salt Flats. Only a few animals live here but we saw herds of Vicunas (a primitive form of llama), Vizcachas (a giant rabbit) and an Andean Fox. We even had a chance to have a dip in a thermal pool which we did very early in the morning when it was still well below freezing. You had to be brave to get into your swimming kit but once in it was a lovely 30 C, Liset had the tea ready for when we got out. Overall it was a sensational trip.

We are now back in La Paz and preparing to leave the mountains to head to the North East of Bolivia and the Amazon Jungle, and from there into Brazil.

Tags: The Great Outdoors

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