Published: July 27th 2012July 27th 2012
When Freddy told us that when we return from the salt flats we had to get on a 12hr bus trip back to La Paz dad and I both decided to seek another option! As that is almost the same as our 13 hr flight from Santiago to Sydney. We raced around all morning organizing flights and ended up booking a 45 minute flight back to La Paz instead... we will still arrive earlier than the others on the bus. Anyway, our 4WD's arrived and we split into two groups. I lucked out with the front seat! Our first sight of the salt flats was breathtaking! It was a sea of pure white, with a pure blue sky... and every so often a mountain would appear and make the most beautiful backdrop. The contrast of the white salt and blue sky looked surreal. We soon arrived at an island that stopped us dead in our tracks. At this moment dad and I agreed the Bolivian salt flats shits on Macchu Picchu in terms of wow factor! However it's probably not just to compare the two as Macchu Picchu is man made, whereas the salt flats and volcanic ruins are a natural wonder. We hiked for 40 minutes around the mountain still in complete awe, then joined the group for lunch. Our picnic on the salt flats was one of those moments where something so simple provided so much enjoyment. Our driver had prepared lunch- quinoa, avocado, veggies, llama steak and bananas. We all then had so much fun and laughs taking the tricky photos that are very deceiving- like me stomping on dads head, dad holding me in the palm of his hand and so on. Dad and I were buzzing with energy, and being at around 4,000m we decided on a 3km jog out onto the flats by ourselves for some high altitude training! The Mexican Olympic team begin training here 6 months before their events, so dad thought it might help with his cycle racing. It was a rejuvenating run, just me and dad with no one else in sight- we took a video which I may share when I get home! We had organised with the driver to pick us up, and when they saw us they thought they would be funny and keep driving! They eventually came back though and we pretended to hitch hike with our thumbs up. After some more four wheel driving we arrived at the very basic hostel which reminded me of the little inns we stayed in while hiking the Annapurna Circuit. The place was filled with about 30-40 people from all over the world and we had shared dorm rooms. The little place had so much character though- the floor was made from white salt, the tables and chairs were made from salt and they provided warming soups and teas and even a billiard table.