Bolivia · 8 Days · 22 Moments · September 2016

Tim Kovess

Odisea de Tim en Bolivia

28 September 2016

SALT FLATS DAY3 P4 And finally, our last stop at around 10am on the third day was this laguna. Sometimes we would visit the laguna verde which has a really green colour due to all the arsenic in it, but its only green when there are little waves or something, and that wasnt the case on our day so we skipped it and went to this nearby laguna blamca instead. Which was lovely. We also tried to impersonate the number 200 for one of the couple's blog...i'll let you decide the success of that.
SALT FLATS DAY 3 P3 This desert was named after Salvador Dali, i think because of a painting or something or other he has done, but having never really seen his work i can't cerify nor deny that. But it was a beautiful stretch of desert and looked almost fake across the horizons.
SALT FLATS DAY3 P2 From the sulphur pits we were onto the aguas calientes (thermal baths) which are naturally heated and bring in a horde of travellers every morning to bathe in. The water was completely crystal clear which was unexpected, and super warm (almost too warm). We only had about 15 minutes in the water as we were running late, so a fair bit of effort getting changed in the freezing cold and all that for a short stint but refreshing none the less.
SALT FLATS DAY3 P1 Day 3, last day, and we were on the move early here at around 5.30am to get to the geysers with the sun coming up. These were basically huge sulphur vents - so smelt like farts, lots and lots of farts. But super interesting with the boiling muds, steam, colored dirt etc. Really enjoyed this place.

27 September 2016

SALT FLATS DAY2 P6 Last stop for day 2 was the laguna de colores (lake of colours). Again, freezing winds. And we didnt have long here which was a shame, although dont know how long i could have lasted. And a couple of photos for our much less glamorous hostel for night 2. All six of us were in a pretty freezing dorm room. Comfort out, practicality in.
SALT FLATS DAY2 P5 'Arbol de piedra' - i actually remember the name of this one cos it's pretty self explanatory: rock tree. About 5m tall and very impressive. Also loved the other huge rocks around it, which really stand out on the otherwise flat surroundings. It was blowing an absolute gale here also, and freezing. Which was a nice change after being in the longest transit of the tour through the desert with windows up napping and sweating up a storm.
SALT FLATS DAY 2 P4 Laguna of flamingos. Really loved this place, had such an awesome mix if diverse colours and landscapes, and watching flamingos in action was pretty good also. Spent a while here; and it was good to have other people in the group hell bent on taking photos as well so we weren't rushing. The last two photos are from another laguna we visited after flamingo town.
SALT FLATS DAY2 P3 Lunch spot day 2
SALT FLATS DAY2 P2 Next stop - volcanic rock field. One of the less inpressive places of the tour, but still some nice scenery. The next stop was more inpressive and had some great views amongst some rocky scenery. Ash found a rock stack to befriend. This was before i clued onto the inaboidable fact that rock stacks are other people's way of marking their poos (well, my fact at least, and im sticking to it).
SALT FLATS DAY 2 P1 Day 2 began with the galaxias cuevas (or along those lines), which were some pretty inpressive volcanic rock/coral like structures that had formed inside these caves many years ago when the salt flats were actually full of water. Some miner found the caves and now makes his living showing people around. Still wears his miners kit - i like that showmanship. Oh and there are photos of old graves from previous nativea living there - they buried theyre family members in the same caves they were living in. Creeeepy.

26 September 2016

SALT FLATS DAY 1 P5 From cactus island we took a short drive onwards to a super open flat part of the salts and watched in incredible sunset that did things to me. Good things. Spent that night in a salt hotel which was remarakably well constructed. Unfortunately ash got really ill this night, so not fun for her.
SALT FLATS DAY1 P4 Given the amount of posts im going for, im gonna do everyone a favour and cut back on the words. Next stop was cactus island (probabaly has a more official name). They charged a hefty fee (relatively) to walk up the mountain, and id done it on my previous visit, so we bypassed that and walked around it instead. Noice!
SALT FLATS DAY 1 P3 So, the typical salt flats photos here we have it (or at least some of them). We took these photos in about 4 different places throughout the day, including while we waited for our guide tomchange our flat tyre. I have to say they're a big improvement on my first visit, thanks in parge part to our driver who helped us take the really good group shots. Also got some video ones but they'll hav to go up on facey as no video capability here.
SALT FLATS - DAY 1 P2 After the market we were back in the car and beginning our journey onto the enorrrmous, open salt flats. In some places it was just salt as far as the eye can see. Apparently the salt is 8m deep and then there's water underneath that (some at least). It's actually the water which causes the super flat surface with the dissolving and then evaporation (or something). Because Chile has a bunch of salt 'flats' also but they're bumpy because of the lack of water around atacama. We had lunch at a salt constructed hotel, which was nice. Ash tells me the toilet there was one of the worst on trip record, which was a disappointment for a 5 BOB (Bolvianos) usage fee.
SALT FLATS - DAY 1 P1 We set off from Uyuni at 10am with 4 other people in our group in the 4WD (a couple from europe and a couple from Ecuador). The first stop close by was the train cemetery. These old trains used to carry minerals between chile and bolivia. From there we stopped at a market town, got a little ripped off buying a couple of belts, and saw our first buildings constructed from salt bricks, including the museum with salt sculptures. Impressive. Unfortunately at that point Ash wasn't feeling great and was dealing with a stomach bug which was horrible timing given we had the next 3 days in a car with verrry few real toilets on offer, poor thing.

25 September 2016

UYUNI, BOLIVIA So our 4 nights in La Paz were up, much to our disappointment, so we committed mentally to coming back one day and spending a couple of weeks here, and then we boarded our night bus to Uyuni. We had the captains chairs again right up front and they were big and cosy for our 10hr bus to Uyuni, in the south of Bolivia near the Chilean border. On arrival to Uyuni at 5am we were accosted by what felt like the entire town (at that ungodly hour of the morning anyway) trying to get us into their restaurants and tours. Mildly unsettling, but at least we had options of places to hang out. Uyuni is the departure point for the salt flat tour ('salar de uyuni'), which i did 6 years ago. My memories of the town were that it was bit of a dive, but it was actually a lot nicer than i remembered. Huuuge open streets (plenty of space to work with down here) very old western like. But we were only here for a few hours before our tour started at 10am with salty desert adventures.

24 September 2016

FOOD AND TELEFERICO, LA PAZ La Paz had some pretty good food options on offer as well. We smashed a couple of pizzas and Cafe del Mundo got a fair bit of attention over our five days. I was really excited to revisit a little middle eastern restaurant that did awesome schnitzels when i was here last time 6 years ago. Unfortunately after finding the place it seemed to have changed ownership and was only open for lunches - this was a MASSIVE disappointment. Also on our last day we rode the Teleferico (cable car) up to the top of the La Paz bowl and got some impressive views of the city. Not as big but a lot of similarities in terms of views as Medellin in Colombia. While at the top i also stepped in dog poo. This was disappointing. Luckily there was some rank water nearby to soak my shoe in (patches of grass are few and far between so i was very concerned this poo incident would not be resolved easily). Think that's all i have to say about poo for now.

23 September 2016

DEATH RD P3, LA PAZ I don't know what it is but there's something about putting on all this biking gear that makes me want to make stupid hand gestures. And so i did. In abundance. So of the 8 of us in the group, 7 finished the ride in the end. And we were Hot by the end (even though it was 99% downhill and only required the use of brakes pretty much). By the bottom we were sweaty. Especially my shins from the knee guards, as shown in my tan pants. After the ride we went to a jungle restaurant nearby for a buffet lunch that was really tasty, but very buggy for me. Check out what turned up the next day!
DEATH RD P2, LA PAZ After the paved rd section at altitude, we were back in the van for a short trip uphill and to the start of the dirt Death Road. From here the climate started to change as we fairly rapidly descended around 1.5km in altitude. One person in our group pulled the pin early after stacking it (trying to fang it too hard i reckon). Me and ash continued taking it easy and enjoyed the epic views of the mountainside (which opened up once we moved through the clouds at the beginning). The bumpiness of this road was probably the hardest thing to deal with. Geeez our hands were sore from geipping the handlebars after a while.
DEATH ROAD P1, LA PAZ For the second time in my life i buckled up and took on the famous Death Rd about an hr out of La Paz. The Road is so named because back when this was the only way down into the jungle it was super dangerous with vehicles going both up and down. Now it really isn'tvery dangerous as a new rd was built and this one is pretty much only used for tourist biking groups. The tour actually starts on paved rd around 4,500m altitude, so pretty chilly. From there we put on our kewwwl suits, got a feel for the bikes and then rode around 30km to the start of the actual Death Rd, led by our guides Ariel and Victor. As was my form 6 years ago, i stuck right to the back 😋

22 September 2016

CITY WALKING TOUR, LA PAZ Quite unlike recent performances and very slow starts in new places, we didnt waste any time in La Paz and day 2 we were on a walking tour with Red Cap (for the bargain price of $3USD). Really glad we did this; tour was actually really informative and saw some cool things. Heard about Bolivia's crazy politics and current President who does some interesing things (floated the idea of taxing women more who don't have kids to boost population growth 😬); saw the famous prison from Marching Powder (from the outside; tours these days can get you raped or stabbed or stuck inside); ate papas rellenas; saw the traditional 'good fortune' llama foetuses; and checked out a crazy winged-rat (pidgeon) park. All in all a lot of fun which is a good result from a city tour which can be very hit or miss.

21 September 2016

LA PAZ, BOLIVIA After 2.5 weeks around Cusco in Peru we unfortunately had to leave as we continue oneards to Patagonia. Fortunately our next stop was La Paz, Bolivia. And gee whiz i love that city. There's something about it that i can't quite put my finger on (i wish some language would invent a cliche for that sorta feeling) but it's a refreshing feel for big latin american cities and doesn't have the same stress inducing suffocation i often feel visiting the more populated places. Anyway we had four nights to spend in La Paz and we stayed at Muzungu's which was pretty good value. And La Paz is dirt cheap so that was a win also. This also marked our first drink since our jungle retreat about 2 months earlier. We kept it at one also, not wanting to test the limit straight up ay 😉