Saturday 21 October 2023

Salt salt and more salt!

We finally made it to Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat amid the Andes in southwest Bolivia. It is desert like, nearly 11,000 squared km landscape of bright-white salt, rock formations and cacti-studded islands. Salar de Uyuni is very hard to describe it but it was eerie and blinding in all its whiteness, yet it was just salt, salt and more salt! It almost felt like you were walking on ice or just above the clouds.

Although there wasn't much to look at (apart from vast white salt in every direction you looked), we found many things to do. Like climbing up a hill of the north side of the Salar for the view of a colourful volcano above us and the view of the Salar below! The colours of the volcano were stunning - dusty greens, yellows, oranges, browns. It looked like a rainbow! But we weren't the only ones there enjoying the view; there were two llamas up the hill with us staring down not at Salar de Uyuni but at their tasty grass burgers which I thought were disgusting compared to my leftover salami pizza from the night before! 

And when we came down the hill, and drove back into the Salar, we spotted one of Ioanna's favourite animals: there, in a small lake on the edge of the Salar, were a small group of pink flamingos. Believe me when I say that this was a relief for the eyes to see something that was not so white!

In the afternoon, we drove to Isla Incahuasi (also known as Inka wasi). This little island is in the center of the Salar and the perfect place to enjoy the sun set, sun rise and of course the stars above at night. The island itself is covered in hundreds of funny looking cacti that looked like people with no head, long necks and both hands up! Very funny to see their shadows on the white salt!

We set camp there and watched the millions of hundreds stars above us! It wasn't the clearest night but still spectacular.

In the morning, we woke up before dawn and ran around the point of the island to enjoy the best sunrise we've seen since the start of our trip! It was truly magnificent. A bit cheekily, we were also photobombing the other tourists' photos who were on the top of the Isla Incahuasi hoping to see the sunrise from up high. We should probably not have done this but could not resist. Of course, we did move when the sun started coming out. 

But owing to the fact that the Salar was so vast and spacious, I very much enjoyed taking my very first driving lesson across the Salar. Though there were no other cars to avoid, I still had a lot of fun dodging the raised pieces of salt and finally driving a big red 4-runner (not combine harvester, but the magnificent Chiquita). 

Heading back down to Chile tomorrow and the Atacama desert. We are taking the Ruta de las Lagunas which is supposed to be spectacular and I am really looking forward to it. Bye for now! Oh, and here's me with a toy model of our amazing Chiquita 4-Runner...

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