Monday, August 22, 2011

Salar de Uyuni / Sucre, Bolivia

Bolivia was breath-takingly beautiful, partly because of the altitude (we were never lower than 2.5km above sea-level in any one place, and in some over 4km!) the mere proximity to the sky meant that the skies were always the brightest blue you could imagine, and the sunlight was harsher making all the colours clearer and more vibrant. I really did feel like I was on top of the world, particularly when we were travelling by bus between towns and cities, we'd just be surrounded by a vast plateau of arid land, ringed in the distance by snow-topped mountains, and barely any signs of habitation for miles and miles.

The Salar de Uyuni is the largest salt flat in the world, some thousand kilometres wide, and we drove through it and on it for hours and hours, until you were almost blinded by the endless whiteness of it. Sophie and I had fun attempting the perspective shots on the flats but we were pretty rubbish at it and soon got bored, questioning whethere doing the two-day trip over the one-day had been a good idea. Our arrival at our hostel at the base of Tunupa volcano bordering on the flats soon silenced our questions, the view of the flats in contrast to the sparse grass of the volcano was stunning, and the volcano itself was also an awesome sight, with a caldera of deep red fringed with snow. We also saw some flamingos!! They were feeding at the edge of the flats and they were even brighter pink than I'd imagined.

We somehow managed to survive our night out on the flats (OK, we were in a hostel but we may as well have been outside it was that cold!) and the next day our group attempted the trek up the volcano. Out of the six of us only two made it to the top, Soph and I had to stop first as the altitude made breathing incredibly difficult so we decided to head back to the car and ended up having to be rescured by the other two members of our group who gave up the climb, as there was a herd of rather intimidating llamas! After this embarassing incident we headed to the Isla de Pescada for some more great views of the flats and lots of cacti, and then headed back to Uyuni to catch our overnight bus to Sucre.

Sucre was lovely, with such beautiful buildings and a really laid-back atmosphere. We didn't really get up to much, we frequented cafes and ate a lot of good food, wandered around and sun-bathed. As it was about 1,000m lower than Uyuni the weather was sunny and warm and it was really soothing after the rawness of the salar. I don't know what else to say about Sucre, it was just a really nice place, and Sophie and I both agreed that it was the place we'd want to visit again most in Bolivia.

1 comment:

Reb said...

Hello. Awesome blog. Am now following, and longing to be back in South America. Australia just doesn't quite cut it.
Reb xx