Trains in the middle of nowhere
So we are in 4 by 4s for the next 3 days. Our first stop was to an area where there were trains in the middle of the salt flats. We took some fun pictures there and then headed to a little town where there was some sort of festival going on. I tried on this cute pink hat after we went to see the band playing.
The salt flats!
After that we went to the proper salt flats where there were small hills of salt which the people in the village from before work at and sell the salt for a living. They earn 50 Bolivianos for every 50kg of salt. We got some cool pictures there. My favourite was one of me jumping off the salt hill.
Next stop was a coral island again in the middle of nowhere in the salt flats which were amazing because the cacti there were massive some as tall as 12m and thought to be 1200 years old. The estimate is that they grow one meter per century. That was where we had the most amazing lunch: steak with roast potatoes, boiled vegetables which included carrots, beans, cauliflower and broccoli which I have not had since forever, the best corn which tasted very buttery, great rice, Coke and a banana.
After lunch we drove a little more and then stopped in the middle of the salt flats for our pictures session. Basically it wasn’t long enough at all and we were all extremely disappointed. I think the only good picture I got was of me on my Lonely Planet book. I got a couple of others in Matt’s and Stacey’s mouths, splits holding Tim up in my hand, me and Matt kicking the dinosaur, Stacey and I sitting on a Toblerone and me in a bangle.
The Salt Hotel
We then headed to our salt hotel for the night. It is a very simple hotel whereby the floor is just salt. The bed is made out of a big rock of salt with a mattress on it. The dining area is pretty cool with salt tables, chairs and fake salt chandeliers. Dinner was simple – mashed potatoes with beef and a slice of canned pineapple for dessert. After dinner we went outside to see the stars and I immediately thought that it wasn’t as impressive as the time I saw the stars in Tanzania. There is only electricity for about 3 hours at the salt hotel. After playing cards, I went out again to see the stars. This time it was more impressive than when I went an hour before since all the lights were out. I saw Venus, the Milky Way and the stars were really from horizon to horizon although I thought that it still wasn’t as many as in Tanzania but it was still very impressive.
Flamingos of Laguna Canapa
The morning of October 11th 2009, I saw one of the most magical things ever: Laguna Canapa’s flamingoes. It was just breath taking seeing this mass of water high up in the mountains. It was extremely windy and the smell wasn’t particularly great as we edged closer towards the water to catch a closer glimpse of the flamingoes.
Next we drove towards the Seven coloured mountain which Barbara told us from earlier that we shouldn’t expect to see 7 colours but it was still very impressive.
Then we went to see the Tree Stone which was a huge stone that looked like a tree. It was impressive but I didn’t think it really looked like a tree. It was just an upside down triangle.
Final stop of the day before we got to our hotel was Laguna Colorada or better known as the Red Lagoon. The red lagoon truly lived up to its name. The water was as red as it can get. It was extremely windy there and we all tried hard to not be blown away although we were figuratively by the view.
5000m above sea level – I’ve never been higher
Breakfast the next morning was amazing – mixed fruits and cornflakes with peach yoghurt and pancakes and I had Neslo (Nescafe and Milo) again. We left the hotel just after 7am. We got into the car and Isabel showed her water bottle which she left from the day before which was all ice. As we drove, we passed a stream which was part water and part ice. It must definitely have been below zero the night before. Our first stop was the geyser area which was nothing like in Iceland. It was constantly just spraying gas and very little water in the holes. It was extremely cold as we were 5000m above sea level. Next stop was the hot spring which was quite ugly as it was just one pool in the middle of an area which was not very pretty.
Previous stop: Sucre