19.10.2016 - 21.10.2016
Day 2 of the trip was another jam packed and brilliantly beautiful day. Our first stop was the rock soldiers, Soldado de Rock, which are really interesting rock formations in the midst of surrounding volcanoes. Likely volcanic rock formations from a volcano eruption thousands of years ago but their true origin isn't 100% understood.
After crossing the train tracks that lead to Chilé..
We stopped to see Ollague, the smoking volcano that is half in Chilé (the smoking half) and half in Bolivia.
Now, onto the first laguna of the day, Laguna Cañapa, flanked by mountains and full of colourful flamingos, it's not a bad sight!
But not quite as many flamingos as the second lake... Laguna Hedionda...
(The many flamingos that I tried to blend in with)
Next was Laguna Honda...
After this we entered the Bolivian desert and Eduardo Avaroa national park. First stop there was Arbol de Piedra, the stone tree, shaped this way by the fierce desert winds..
The scenery in the national park definitely indicated that we'd reached the desert, Mars-esque areas...
After driving a bit further... Finally... The final lake of the day, the dazzlingly red Laguna Colorada. Bright red cherry on a beautiful day of lakes!
Our final destination of the day was the geysers, Fumorolas Sol de Mañana. (At about 5000m elevation, where, yes, finally, I experienced no altitude issues!!)
And then, after so many times piling in and out of our trusty Lexus (jeep), we reached Polques, our hotel for the night. A bit more basic than the night before and featuring shared rooms, no electricity or shower... Buuuuuut. Hot springs! The cold clothing change and walk into the hot springs was 100% worth it for the stargazing and wine drinking in a hot spring in the middle of the Bolivian salt flats!!! And the water warmed us up so much it actually wasn't cold at all getting out!
The nights sleep also wasn't as cold as I had expected, thumbs up for that.
Here is what the hot springs look like in the cool morning air...
The third day only had a few stops before reaching Chilé. First was the Salvador Dali desert, named for the interesting rocks in the sand.
And the Ladies of the Desert and other Mars-esque mountains...
And a final ice covered lake...
And just like that, we reached the border and the tour concluded! Sammy and Mai continued with the jeep back to Uyuni, and John, Amelia and I to Chilé, on transport buses to San Pedro de Atacama. Hard to believe the three days were done, but after so many beautiful sights, you know what they say about all good things!
To end on a high note... My favourite things about Bolivia:
Street popcorn- this is absolutely my favourite salty snack on the planet and I don't think I've ever had better than what they make on the streets of Bolivia. Mmmmm just talking about it I want to go back to buy more.
Food pouches- empanadas/salteñas, papas rellenas, you name it, it's delicious.
Walmart markets- so this is the name of which I have christened the huge markets along the streets that sell basically everything, just like a spread out Walmart market on the street. They're so fun to walk through.
Fruit juice- in an extension of the amazing fruit I've been having everywhere, so many places I stayed in Bolivia had unreal, fresh, delicious fruit juices.
Natural wonders- from waterfalls, volcanoes, and mountains to salt flats, lakes, and deserts, Bolivia has it all! I enjoyed all the cities but the true draw of the country for me was all the natural beauty, places unlike any I've ever seen before.
"There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars" - Jack Kerouac