Uyuni – The beautiful landscape of a desert

Nightbus. Honestly I cant see them anymore. It means bad sleep and long travel distance. Well this one we have to take. A 3-days tour through the desert of Uyuni is waiting for us. The nightbus is not so bad. I can sleep. Boooom – the bus hit the dirt road. For the next 4 hours the 3 travelers have one of the worst bus trips. Right over the axis of the back of the bus we are catapulted to the air. How can you honestly find sleep?! And its becoming cold, let me watch out of the window: Negative. The windows are frozen – from the inside. Thanks god, the trip is over. Lets go out of here! Outside the next shock: It is soooo cooold. Minus 10 degrees says the temperature. I organize the trip for us and we catch some breakfast. I never ate breakfast inside with gloves. The heater is not working and the breakfast is not good. Not the best way to start a day.

But the day becomes better. We start with a delay of almost one hour – the guide is late. We just leave the city for 5min and do the first stop at the train cemetery of Uyuni. It is really impressive to see these old rusty trains in the desert sun of Uyuni. It is  a weird scenery.

The trip continues and before we reach the salt lake we pass a small village where they win salt. Two children are working in the production, they say its because of Sunday, they don’t have school and like to help. Hopefully he says the truth. Now the salt desert. It is white until the horizon, without sun glasses it is almost impossible to open the eyes, that strong is the reflection of the sun. It is incredible how beautiful the desert can be. We drive one hour before we reach an “island” full of cactuses. Here we eat lunch, climb the island for a great view over the solar de Uyuni and take a lot of pictures.

With the sunset we start to our night camp. The dinner is good, the shower is cold. The sky is full of starts, I’ve never seen so many! Every start is a sun, how cant be there live outside?! The generator for the electricity turned out. Time to sleep, it is going to be a cold night.

The breakfast was okay, time to start. The guide/driver is angry about me, cause I managed to destroy the electric window of the car. He needed a while to fix it while we discover the desert. Its cold and windy, not the best place to be. We pass an active volcano and have lunch at a lake where we can see our first flamingos. The mountains are mirroring in the water of the lake. It is beautiful. And cold. The next lake has hundreds of flamingos, but it is smelly because of the phosphor of the volcanic activities. Its beautiful though and we need some time to compute the whole beauty of nature what we are seeing.

We continue to a pass of 4600 meter. The wind is strong and its impossible to be out of the car more than 5 minutes because of the cold. We reach an area of weird looking stones, all formed by wind and weather. One stone looks like a tree. The scenery is weird, its cold – lets get out of here. 30 minutes later the 3 travelers see a lagoon, which looks like they killed thousands of people and throw the inside. The water is so red and looks like blood. Lagoon Colorado in the deep of the Uyuni desert. Not close from here is our night camp on 4200 meter. The food is good, the shower is hot, but it is even more cold outside. At night almost nobody of our group caught a recovering sleep. Temperatures around 0 degrees inside and that high altitude – how can you sleep well?

The next day starts very early. We leave our (cold) beds at 5 and our jeep is going through snow and wind up to 5000 meters where we see in the first lights of the day a bunch of active geysers. Its beautiful how the volcanic activity set the morning in a big fog cloud, but again it is extremely cold. Temperature drops in the dusk under minus 10 degrees. When the rays of the sun gave their best to warm up the country, we reached the hot springs. Niiiice, the first hot bath after a looong time and the first time these days I have hot feet. It is hard to leave but the trip has to continue.

After a while we reach the most south point of Bolivia. A green lagoon on the border to Chile and Argentina. The volcano of the side of Chile (I saw this volcano 4 years before from San Pedro de Atacama, Chile) mirrored in the green lagoon. How beautiful can nature be! From now on it means that we have to go back. And it is a long way to civilization. We drive 3 hours before we hit a village for lunch and another 1 hour before the tires touch a paved road. Before we see another million of lamas and vijunas (similar to lamas, but are not domestic animals like lamas) on the side of the street.  We do a stop at a part of a huge forest of stones which form again a weird, but very beautiful landscape.

Right before the sun leaves we reach Uyuni again. What a beautiful trip. We have seen sooo many beautiful places in these 3 days and all in the desert. It is hard to believe that desert can be beautiful. But only for 3 days, the winter cold of Uyuni makes us leaving this place as soon as possible. Again on a bumpy road. Again a nightbus. Again no sleep. But it was worth, it is worth!More pictures here :

Mathias Written by:

One Comment

  1. 22. June 2012

    Biutiful. It is simply beautiful. Adding to the quality of your pictures it makes it look like a dream. Definitely the three of you have reached a very remote place where not many people have been before. It is a pity that it has to be away from civilization, however it is the only way you can be sure that it will remain beautiful. Too bad that bus travel in Bolivia is so bad, maybe once you get to another country it will be better.
    Keep enjoying South America, I guess your next stop would be either to the West toward Chile or to the South towards Argentina, Paraguay, or Uruguay.

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