18.05.2012 30 °C
So since we have last blogged its been a while. After the Inca trail we left Cusco and headed to Lake Titiacaca to a town called Puno. Here we did a day tour of the floating reed islands, which was really interesting but so set up for tourists it was a little strange. However well worth a visit- we went to the islands of Uros and then Taquile.
After this short stop we headed over the border into Bolivia to La Paz. We had heard very mixed reviews about this city and weren´t sure what to expect. It turns out the city is big and dirty with not much to do (we had already decided against doing the "death road"- the name gives it away!) We enjoyed a big night out with various friends we had met along the way, and took a visit to the Witches Market where there are lots of shops and stalls selling all sorts of touristy and downright creepy stuff! We soon discovered that there was a strike going on in La Paz and surrounding villages due to the minors wanting better working conditions. We did, however manage to get a bus out of the city, so took the opportunity to move on. Unfortunately at 6am on the night bus we realised that we were no longer moving and had hit a road block set up by the minors. And, not only were we not in Sucre, but we were actually outside a different town, 4hours away! After deciphering some Spanish we realised the road block would be there for another 12 hours and our best bet was to get off and walk, hoping there was a taxi that could take us into Potosi, so after much debate, that is what we did. Luckily a taxi did pick us up, and we eventually managed to get another bus to Sucre (going through another road block and having to change buses enroute!) Unsurprisingly the journey took us much longer than expected!
Sucre was a lovely town which seemes very European and we stayed for a few days just chilling and visitng the local park and market. Unfortunately our stay was extended due to a sick bug which spread around the 6 of us currently travelling together! However after a bit of recovery time we got the bus back to Potosi and onwards to Uyuni. Here we started a 3 day tour into Chile.
Six of us set off in a 4x4 landrover starting with the steam train graveyard (actually as weird as it sounds!) and onwards to the salt flats. These were amazing, flat and white in every direction, like snow or sand with massive mountains in the distance. Here is the perfect place for some perspective photos and we enjoyed messing around with various props! That night we slept in a hotel on the edge of the Salar made completely of salt. Day two took us to see a smoking volcano and lots of different coloured lagoons where we saw flamingos, as well as visiting some rocks which were completely weird shapes due to the wind. By the time we reached the hostel it was already zero degrees and our tour guide said overnight it hit -20degrees! Needless to say getting up at 5am on day 3 was rather cold! However after an hour of driving we went to see some smoking geysers and then onto some hot springs. Getting into your bikini when there is ice on the floor is very unnatural, but the springs were so hot they warmed us up instantly, and even when we got out we stayed warm for a long time. After this we just headed down into Chile, and across the border to San Pedro de Atacama which is our current destination.
All in all Bolivia was an adventure, with some tricky travelling and some beautiful sights. Next, bring on Chile!