|Rich, Catrin & I arrived in Uyuni after a comparatively uneventful night bus (always pays to spend a few more dollars and take a special tourist bus - especially in Bolivia!) Uyuni was absolutely FREEZING...honestly don't think have ever felt cold like it and had to spend most of the day in bed trying to get warm!..We watched the Champion's League final and have to say it made my day seeing Liverpool get thrashed...sorry Rich!! Couldn't gloat too much though as he was close to tears...!!
So the next day we set off on our 3 day tour of the Salar (salt flats)..we thought it was going to be just the 3 of us and a total shambles due to the organisation, however we got into the jeep and were greeted from 3 of my friends from La Paz - Daniel, Miriam the crazy Dutchie and Kiwi Olivia...so it turned out to be a great laugh, basically a Loki hostel reunion and lots of fun was had by all..!
The salt flats are the largest in the world and are at an altitude of nearly 4,000m (so yes was pretty damn cold the whole time!)...they span nearly 12,000 square km so is an amazing sight just seeing white as far as you can see, it feels like you're on ice...is very easy to get lost and totally disorientated too which is why you have to take a guided tour across them.
We saw the Salt hotel - absolutely EVERYTHING is made from salt - the buildings, chairs, tables, beds etc - unfortunately we didn't get to stay the night here though...no such luxury - our accommodation was very basic and so cold as we just stayed in like a concrete shelter...i think we were all in bed by 7.30pm shivering under lots of blankets trying to keep warm! (after all running around and doing star jumps in the dorm!)..the temperatures dropped to around minus 15 at night...i think my lips actually turned blue!
The rest of the tour was spent mainly driving through the most spectacular scenery..lots of beautiful lakes and volcanoes..and seeing great wildlife - pink flamingoes and of course lots of llamas..
We visited some hot springs which not everyone was brave enough to get into purely because of how cold it was outside...they were pretty hot once you were in but the wind was so so cold on your face and head that we couldn't stay in for long...was actually pretty painful and not sure it was worth it really, especially as the wind blew some of my clothes into the water and then i had to put them back on wet - i was almost crying!!..but at least i got in!!
So we finished up driving through the Atacama desert and then across the Chilean border to San Pedro...almost back at sea level now and in a desert so was so nice to feel warm again and back in the sun...great thing about south america - climate and temperatures are constantly changing as you travel through so never have to put up with anything for too long!