Anthony on the Gringo Trail 2005 travel blog

Our 4WD on the Salar

4WD passengers on the Salar: Rikki, Belen, Stephan, Christina, Antoni and me.

The hotel made of salt

Outside the salt hotel

View from Isla de Pescadores across the Salar

A 4WD on the Salar

Character in another Bolivian pop video

Me relaxing on the salt

Needless to say I had a bad hangover, probably compounded by being nearly 4 kms up. I am well practiced at packing, etc, though, so managed to get it together and even burn camera memory to CD before I left. So back in a 4WD drive again - where all the best things happen. Our driver Natalio, a Spanish couple Antoni and Belen, two Danes, Rikki and Steffan (apparently not a couple), a German Swiss Christine, and me. All over 30, which makes a nice change. (In a guessing thing last night it was generally agreed I was 35/36. Not as good as 25, but better than 50 I thought).

So first of all we drive off to the train cemetery again. The light was at a different angle, so I did take a few more pics. And then to the ubiquitous handicraft market on the edge of the Salar to buy things made of salt, like little llamas, etc. And then onto the Salar itself, which was just amazing, a comlpetely flat sea of white, stretching every direction into the distance, very much as if Lake Titicaca had turned white and you could drive on it. The light was blinding, and made ones eyes water in seconds without shades. It was also quite hard to take pics as the camera had trouble focussing.

After a brief stop to watch how people gathered salt, off across the Salar to a hotel completely made of salt: walls, floor, furniture, etc. Interesting, but more so was its setting. And then even further into the Salar to one of the numerous islands within the 'lake'. This had great views, and was covered in the biggest cactus I had ever seen, one of which was 50 foot high and apparently 1200 years old. The views were magnificent from the top of the island, only slightly marred by the hundreds of tourists and another bunch of Bolivians making a pop video. And the fact I felt really rough. And then off across the Salar again, covered in hexagonal paterns of crystallisation, and blinding white and flat to the distant mountains. We head for one of these where our accomodation for the night is, as if we were on the edge of a sea. This would have been nicer if we werent all in the same room. Nice sunset though.

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