We woke on the morning of the 8th having booked a 4 day jeep adventure to see the most spectacular scenery in Bolivia with Neils and Amber. Stocked up with water, pringles and most of all LOO ROLL we were ready to go.
Our vehicle was a red 4x4 Toyota as used by the Taliban! We met with the driver and English guide, Angel and Archie, and loaded the jeep. Having decided to ditch the cook in place for more leg room, we left Tupiza behind in a cloud of dust (at this point we thought we had Schumacher behind the wheel, little did we know!).
We drove for the next couple of hours through red formations that resemble needles 4200 meters high. Rob at this point was slightly in need of the loo roll already due to a fear of heights!
We passed many small "villages", local farmers, gold mines, and hundreds and hundres of Llamas (which we also had for lunch that day!).
After a long drive we stopped for the night in a small village called San Antonio de Lipez, 4660m, 250 inhabitants (50% children).
The day before leaving we started our so called anti-altitude sickness tablets which seemed to work well. Unfortunatley that night Rob developed a, shall we call it ´toxic stomach gasses´, bad tummy. Much to our surprise the next morning the loo roll was the life saviour!
An early rise and we set off again for the longest day of the trip. Although first up and out we were quickly over taken by a second group who also left Tupiza at the same time. We began to realise that Angel was far from being Schu!!
We passed through more very small villages and towns. The inhabitants survive on delivering their meat produce to near by towns while the children, some as young as 5 years, are left to mind the houses.
After 6 hours in the now most uncomfortable jeep we arrived at Kollpa Laguna, a welcome hot spring that was much needed by our sore joints!
Then onto Volcan Licancabur overlooking a blue lagoon.
Following Rob´s morning eruptions, Emily decided to join in! Not requiring loo roll but a gass mask! The altitude pills had turned our stomachs into sulphur factories. Yuk! Archie decided to rename us ´The Killer Couple´!
We continued the tour through the Dali Desert, a forest of eroded stones that inspired Dali melting clocks artwork. One more hour and we arrived at the `Sol de Manana´ a 1km sq km area of craters of burning lava and geysers. We were now at the highest point of our journey, some 5400m above sea level!
To help us with the altitude we chewed coca leaves! Not as nice as expected considering all Bolivianos chew them.
We spent the evening in another local village. Electricity is turned off at 10:00 so we had a prime opportunity to use our head torches at last.
We woke early and headed straight for the Laguna Colorada, which is located at the bottom of a Black Mountain. The Lagoon stank of sulphur, but it was a welcome smell compaired to Emily´s burps! There were also hundreds of Pink Flamingo´s or as our guide named them, ´stinky pinkies´!
Next was the Desierto de Siloli, where you can see the ´stone tree´ (a lava formation).
Our final night was at the Salt Hotel, next to the salt flats. Surprisingly the entire hotel was made of salt!! We had a very welcome hot shower and a comfy bed, ready for our 4.30 start the next day to catch the sunrise. We hoped that this would be early enough for Schu to make it!
We were the first to leave and our spirits were high that we would make it onto the salt flats before sunrise! Doh! Within the first half hr we were over taken by two other 4x4!!!
At last we were on the flats, the largest salt lake in the world, and considered the size of belgium (and a whole lot more interesting). Like eager beavers we waited for the sunrise. We were not dissappointed! It was amazing! Cant put it into words so here are some pics.
After the sunrise we headed for breakfast at one of the fourteen islands formed of coral. Then we had a couple of hours to have some fun with photography! What we didnt know was that it was the day of ´no shadows´!!! And yes parents you were right we needed hats!
Our trip ended in Uyuni, where we said goodbye to Niels and Amber (they headed off to Chile), and we put ourselves onto an overnight bus to La Paz.