8am start, I am collected from my hostel. In the bus I have the pleasant surprise to find Julie, a girl who is half French half Spanish which is brilliant as the Bolivian drivers on the tour only speak spanish. It seems my good luck is still with me. There are 5 Brazilians, one Italian and 2 Japanese who live in Brazil.
First we get to the Bolivian border which is not very far but high up (4500m above sea level), we have been told to drink lots of water on the way which means that when you get there everyone needs to wee, however there are no toilets. We are told it is Bańos natural (in other words go and find somewhere to pee) this would not be so bad if there were trees around, but this is the desert and there are no vegetation. I end up relieving myself behind a stone wall in the open hair with the Japanese lady not too far away. A strange experience but needs must
We then get split into 3 jeeps and there is just 5 of us plus our driver. The jeeps seem in good condition so all is well.
Our first stop is Laguna Blanca which is beautiful and looks white due to the type of minerals inside. Then 5 mns later, Laguna Verde, also beautiful against a backdrop of volcanos. Then we go to some Gesiers but I don't like these much as the smell of the sulfur is like rotten egg and is bad enough having to cope with the attitude without feeling nauseous with the smell. Fortunately we do not stay long there. Next stop is the Hot Springs were some people go for a swim (about 35 degrees C) but absolutely freezing and windy when you get out. I do not want to risk falling ill so do not go in.
We then arrive at our refuge for the night (4300m) and have lunch there consisting of Frankfurt sausages with pureed potatoes, tomatoes and cucumber and a banana for desert. Everyone from the jeep (apart from the driver) is in one dorm room. There are 2 toilets (you have to supply your own paper), a cold water shower (no-one is going to have a shower here lol), there is no heating at all and tonight it will be -10 degree C. So basically we will be adding layers for bed rather than undressing.
After lunch we get back into the jeep to see the most breathtaking place I have ever seen. Just 10 mns down the road is Laguna Colorado. I cannot believe what I am seeing and can only show you with pictures. I stay sitting on a rock for 15 mns totally mesmerised.
After a simple meal we are all tired so off to bed, I sleep fully clothed inside a sleeping bag and 2 blankets. Unfortunately at 3am I wake up with altitude sickness (head and stomach ache) and despite taking some tablets I feel really unwell and do not sleep.
I feel really tired all day after my bad night and but after some more tablets and some breakfast, we are off again. We see some more beautiful lagoons, a mountain with seven colours, some volcanic rocks as well as the active volcano (you can see the smoke coming out of the crater) between Chile and Bolivia.
In the afternoon, we arrived at our hotel, made of salt, the tables, seats and beds are all made of salt.
Today is a very exciting day as today we are going to see the salt desert of Uuyni. This is what this trip has been all about. We are up at 3.30am for a 4am departure in order to be at the salt flats for sun rise - and it is well worth the early start. This place is unbelievable, so grand, so majestic so quiet - 12000 km sq of salt and about 8 to 10 meters deep underneath. We have fun taking some perspective pictures. I leave you to look at the pictures as no words are suitable to describe how I feel about this place. We had fun taking some photos playing prospective but unfortunately these where taken with Julie's camera and for some reason will not load on the blog.