Uyuni

 

We arrived at Uyuni after 24 hours on bouncy buses from Salta in Argentina (and a long queue halfway through to cross the border at La Quiaca) and short of breath having reached an altitude of 3,700m. So we didn't quite feel in our most happy selves. But after a quick rest at the hotel, we managed to painlessly book our tour to the Salar and the Lagunas del Altiplano, have a surprisingly good and restoring pizza and finally sleep in a bed. Early the next morning we went on our way and... oh boy, was it worth the effort!

After a brief visit to the Train Cemetery where the best thing -other than clumsy tourists dangerously climbing rusty train carcasses- was the only railway into Uyuni, an epitome of the vanishing point. After that we headed to the Salar which was flooded due to the rainy season, so instead of the white plain we found ourselves floating on an endless mirror that blended mountains with clouds and sky.

In the afternoon we headed into the altiplano, crossing first a violent storm that loomed for a few hours in the horizon, growing menacingly by the minute until it reached us. Our 4x4 seemed so fragile for a few moments!

We stopped for dinner at a basic hostel on our way and went into the open plains of the altiplano, constantly surrounded by vast spaces, little oxygen and peaks covered in snow. The scenery is unreal, hostile and empty of wild life -except for the odd pack of llamas or wild vicuñas, and the flocks of flamingos that crowd the lagunas- and the hours pass on by while roaming from extreme heat to snow thunderstorms. The thin atmosphere, tinting the sky with a deep blue, and the sheer scale of this part of the Altiplano -which becomes only apparent when you see other tour cars like tiny dots in the far distance- made us feel smaller than we have ever felt before.

Kensho Life