Salar de Uyuni
We tried a few trick photos on the salt plains. It was fun!
I've been on the bounce, dear reader, since the last time I shared travel adventures and the journal now continues... Towards the end of my stay in Rosario I met an English lad in our dorm room and we became travelling companions for several days. He is also heading north so we organized an overnight bus to Salta in the far north of Argentina. We booked into a recommended hostel, and it was soon time to let our hair down at the local pubs and clubs for the weekend. We had a very enjoyable time and the nightlife was heaving in this beautiful northern Argentinian city. Salta is terrific, and proved to be quite the surprise packet with the amount of energy and nightlife on offer.
I farewelled my English friend, as it was soon time to move on and north is the plan. While staying at the hostel in Salta I met an English couple who were headed in the same direction as me, and we took the overnight bus together to the Bolivian border. Upon arrival an uneventful and efficient border crossing ensued. We then hopped on a local bus for the four hour trip to Tupiza in
southern Bolivia where we met another group of three travellers, a Swedish couple and a Kiwi girl. We all looked at each other on disembarkation, decided to share a coffee together and Bob´s your uncle ... we had a ready made tour crew. We decided to book a four day Uyuni salt plains tour through Tupiza tours that very day to commence the next morning. Heading out on this tour proved to be one of life's great experiences, and it was all facilitated by our guide Milton and driver Juan Pablo Montoya ... somehow his name seems familiar!
Bolivia is a magnificent country to visit if you fancy natural scenery, and the whole tour was on the altiplano at or above 4000 metres. The scenery can variously be described as spectacular, mind boggling, awe inspiring, even really quite nice; as you quickly run out of superlatives when describing this part of the world. If you are an adventurous soul I believe that going on tours brings out the very best qualities of the human spirit. It was an absolute pleasure sharing the experience with these kind travellers, and we supported each other in the best traditions of mateship as
embodied in the Anzac spirit. Er,... maybe I'm getting a bit carried away, so please forgive the free plug for the citizens of Australia and New Zealand!
The Salar de Uyuni is the world´s largest salt plain stretching 100km by 180km. In this part of the world it's definitely not recommended to go for a walk by yourself! The tour incorporated several magnificent lagoons with flamingos milling around by the shore, the geysers at over 4500 metres, and finally swimming in the hot springs at over 4000 metres. It all added up to a truly unforgettable travel experience. The end of our trip was marred by an injury to one of our crew, but she is now receiving the best of medical care as she recovers from this unfortunate turn of events.
When paying a visit at such high altitude in the world´s highest country you do what you can to acclimatise, including traditional remedies such as coca leaves, coca tea and panadol. I've become short of breath just by having a mouth full of pasta on the altiplano, it really is that crazy! You certainly need to take your time when going about simple tasks that we
Salar de Uyuni
Another one of our trick photos, directed by our tour guide
take for granted at sea level, but the scenery up on the altiplano is simply out of this world. After the tour ended we headed north within a few days via Potosi (the world´s highest city at over 4000 metres) and met up again in Sucre which received UNESCO cultural heritage designation in 1991.
To summarise, crossing the border into Bolivia from Argentina provides a stark contrast but I'm glad to be here. The country is blessed with magnificent scenery, friendly people and is as cheap as chips. However, be sure to take some deep breaths prior to arrival cause you gotta love that oxygen, it's really good stuff! Then you'll find as the travel saying goes, basically all of you should be here now!
And there we were ... as far from any human aid as if we were on the moon." Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
As I continue my travels, until next time it´s signing off for now
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