After the first day of fun on the road to the salt flat Salar de Uyuni we are ready for new adventures and memorable landscapes. Our day starts with the caress of the first rays of the sun on the colorful lagoon and tasty marmalade pancakes and coca tea. We stock provisions and venture on.
Our first stop is a surreal landscape, a tree made of rocks (Arbol de piedras). Later, the Hill of the Seven Colors.
|The shadow of the clouds obscures the seven colors|
Next is a visit to the altitude lagoons, there are many in the region. There are those, which are filled by underground water sources, and those which are filled by rain (when it stops, the lagoon dries up). We visited the three most famous – Honda, Hedionda and Cañapa.
Each one is prettier than the last, all of them full of flamingos and surrounded by tall mountains. The heights attract the rain and the clouds so we can travel in peace. However, the Poilish guy mad sure that we didn’t get much peace. Once again he doesn’t come to the car at the designated time and the group has to wait for him. This time he was 30 min late, even though the time for taking pictures was 15 min. With a bit raised voice we explained to him that this is not a private excursion and that he’s a part of a group, no matter how small. We made it clear that we wanted to have the time to contemplate all the beauty along the way and not wait for him to catch up and then move in a hurry. It had an effect on him, he became more silent and evidently more punctual.
At the third lagoon, while we were having fun observing the flamingos playing, Johnny and Ruben (the driver of the other half of the group) prepared delicious lunch. We inhaled it within minutes and went for a walk in the desert. The drivers were to collect us when they finish loading the luggage. A third car had broken down and our goody-two-shoes went to help them, so we had a lot of time amid the desert landscapes. We truly experienced what it’s like to be in the middle of nowhere, without any way of communication. We passed by Chiguana salt flat.
|The hungry viscacha|
We rode around similar landscapes for about an hour before we reached the most comfortable point for observation of Ollagüe volcano. The interesting thing about this region is that some volcanos are semi-active and smoke mysteriously while we wonder if they’re going to erupt and ruin our day.
From here on we only had to ride while singing Vivir mi vida of Marc Anthony, which somehow became the anthem of our group. We still can’t get it out of our heads. The final destination for the day is a salt hotel on the edge of Uyuni salt flat. On the way there we stopped at a store, which was called 5mentarios or no comment. It consisted of a small room where you can find anything – candles, batteries, food, water, wine, beer, medicine, clothes, Nike shoes and souvenirs.
We tried beer made of quinoa and coca. The one from quinoa was great. It turned out that this was a region where a lot of quinoa is grown. While we were contemplating the quinoa field a few raindrops fell, then we heard thunder and it started pouring, there was even hail. We were no more than half an hour away from the salt flat. There is the unwritten rule that nobody enters the salt flat when it is raining, especially to visit Incahuasi, because it is risky and you can get stuck there. Then the only way for you to be rescued is by helicopter.
We arrived at the salt hostel.
The walls, the tables and the chairs were all made of salt cubes and the floor was made from larger grains. It was impossible to sleep outside the sleeping bag, but there was a hot shower for the fee of 10 bolivianos. We decided it was a good investment.
The dinner was tasty with a special menu for the vegetarians and a complimentary gift from the driver, Bolivian wine.
We were all awaiting the decision of the two drivers about our plans for tomorrow because of the rain. They discussed, called their colleagues and their boss at Uyuni and came up with a proposal. We leave at 4:30 in the morning and very slowly and carefully go at the salt flat. If there is too much water we go back and try to enter for a bit from Uyuni. So it was decided, within minutes everybody was in their beds in the hopes of getting what we came for instead of the alternative. The alternative is more likely in this situation, but hope dies last. Wish you a salty and rainy good night.
4 x 4 to Uyuni, day 1
Captured in Salar de Uyuni
This article was brought to you in English by Marta Petrova.
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