El Salar

April 28, 2013

Preface:

I apologize, this is a long one. However, the Bolivian salt flat tour was not just a highlight of this trip, but one of all of my travels combined. It is well deserving of the blog space - I hope you'll agree...

 
Realizing time was running thin and my month in Colombia was at risk, I said goodbye to beautiful Valparaiso and sped up to San Pedro de Atacama in northern Chile. Although mainly the jumping off point for Bolivia crossings and salt flat tours, I made time for floating in Lago Cejar (extremely high saline levels) and a sunset over Tebinquiche. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Freezing cold, my salt flat group piled into the Land Cruiser and hit the road early - first stop, Bolivian immigration and a quick desert breakfast. The sights from less than an hour in made me realize the next three days would be much more than just a salt flats visit!!!
 
 
 
Every corner we turned something new knocked us aback: a different colored lake, a different kind of flamingo (thousands of them!), a different rock formation. It was all more than the human mind is meant to handle - I found myself laughing as much from bewilderment as from jubilation.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Even when the car broke down, it was in the perfect spot...
 
 
After a night in the salt hotel (walls, tables, floor...all salt...I even pinched a bit for dinner), it was time to hit the flats for sunrise. The morning was spent having fartoogooda time running around barefoot and taking endless perspective shots. 
 
 
 
 
However, my favorite part of the day was still to come. We stopped to see the salt being gathered for transport. The addition of new subjects to the previous infinite landscape was incredible - workers, vehicles, tools - I wanted to stay here for hours, but had to make due with 15 minutes?!? 
 
 
 
 
 
And as if the voyage hadn't been visually stimulating enough, we make a quick detour to visit a train graveyard outside of Uyuni. Honestly. A freaking train graveyard! 
 
 
 
 
 
I spent three days and two nights bouncing around the desert with some truly incredible people. My thanks and love go out to all of them for helping make this such a unforgettable and special experience. 

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