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Rough but rewarding

4 days of otherworldly landscapes

semi-overcast 20 °C
View Northern Argentina/Uruguay/Bolivia/Peru 2006 on Utrecht's travel map.

It has been a while since you heard anything of me.

Last saturday I took the bus from Salta to the argentinian-bolivian border at La quica-villazon. From there I took the train to Tupiza, which was actually quite comfortable. Tupiza is nice to stay a day or so which I did. The city itself isn´t that much, a central plaza and some streets. But the countryside around Tupiza is very beautiful with some wild west landscapes, consisting of canyons and cacti. That´s why I took a afternoon stroll out of town to escape the boring town on a sunday.

On monday I started a 4 day tour in the southwestern part of Bolivia, which was really amazing, if not a little bit tiring as well, but that´s travelling as well.
The first day took us, me, 3 australians and an english girl, to the canyons and mountains from tupiza to san antonio de lipez, which is nothing more than a really small dusty village at about 4200 metres altitude. At night it cooled of quickly after it got dark, during the day it was actually quite nice.
The second day we drove along some deserted places and stunning landscapes, like Laguna Verde, a perfectly green lake. The lake is actually full of arsenicum and other deadly metals, and because of this there are no animals found here and the lake stays liquid even at temperatures of -20 degrees celcius. Highlight of the day were probably the geisers at an altiude of almost 5000 meters. Lots of boiling mudpooles and sulfur fumeroles which really made it unearthly and literally breathtaking. Although I haven´t suffered any altitude sickness as a matter of fact. Just breathing is more difficult and some tingling fingers but that was it. Maybe it was because I slowly got used to the altitude by staying in Tupiza at 3000 meters, or maybe because I am a smoker, already used to a lack of oxygen...;)
We also passed the dali desert, with some rock formations placed by salvador dali himself (just as his famous paiting). We slept at Laguna Colorada, a red lake because of the algue and full with flamingos as well. It got really cold here, probably around -10 degrees celcius with some winds.
The 3rd day we first went to the red lake itself, after that we drove to some desert landscapes to much photographed stone tree. After that it was a long day of driving before we arrived at the edge of the salar de uyuni, the biggest saltflat in the world and 40 meters thick as well!
Today we started pretty early at 5 o´clock to see the sun rise at the salar de uyuni. After that we went to the Isla de Pescado, were we had this amazing view across the saltflats and the cacti on the island itself. After breakfast we drove along the big saltflats to uyuni, visting the train cementary.

And now I am actually dead tired so I am going for a sleep, because my train from uyuni to oruro leaves at 2 am this night! In Oruro I will take the bus to La Paz, so hope to update my blog overthere.

Posted by Utrecht 11:05 Archived in Bolivia

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