With our bums sore from the crazy Death Road ride, we left La Paz for Solar de Uyni. We were facing a 13 hour bus journey. The bus was very nice - it had great reclining seats, pillows and blankets. We also got food and snacks. So the first bit of the trip was easy. But then we got to the GRAVEL or should I say no road at all So imagine us in the middle of the night trying to sit up straight hardly touching the seats, that way you don't feel the bumps as bad.
We arrived in Uyni in the early morning and found a caffe for breakfast, I got a huge omlette. We then walked around the main square, Plaza de Armas ( did they tell you that all main squares in South America are called Plaza de Armas?) and tried to find the best deal for a 3 day trip to Salar De Uyni. All the agents were warning us that they can't speak English, so the whole tour was going to be in Spanish. However we found a company called Latitude and the guy could speak perfect English. He was even joking that he will be serving us flamingos for breakfast. Robert must have asked the guy like 3 or 4 times (a little over the top I thought) if he would definately be taking us as he can speak english - he assured us, so we booked the tour.
At this point, I started to feel unwell and had to go back to the hotel. I was hugging the toilet for quite a while, so it was a bit concerning to go on a 3 day trip the next day.
By next morning I was feeling better. At 10AM we were waiting for our pick up. All the other cars were leaving and our guy wasn't in the rush. Half an hour later he came in with another lady and invited us to his office. He said that he was not going to be able to go on the tour and that we had to join another group. He was also speaking in Spanish and the lady was translating everything in Eglish. We couldn't believe that he was pretending that he couldn't speak English.
Robert pointed out that he had asked him 4 times the day before about this happening and insisted on a refund for some of the money, he returned some money and we joined the Blue Line tour with the guide called Johnny
It worked out to be pretty good as we met this great bunch: Megan, Steve, Emma and Matt. We felt pretty bad as we ended up paying a lot less than they did due to the refund we got.
The salt flats were amazing - white salt desert contrast with the blue sky. We stopped for lunch at a place called Fish Island. The picture below
Johhny - our guide and driver- cooked steak on his little gas stove. After lunch we practised perspective photo taking. We spend the first night at a salt hotel (yes a hotel built from slat). It was quite warm inside despite the cold weather oustide.
Next day we were up at the crack of dawn, Johhny was a bit slow as he had 20 beers the night before We packed our things into the jeep and set off. Soon we saw 2 other 4x4's stuck in the sand. One of the guys tried to pull it out ant it got stuck as well. Then Johnny went and tried to pull it out, we were screaming for him not to do it. But he managed to pull one car out, which in turn pulled out all other cars
That day we saw the most incredible views - volcanoes, mountains, lagoons and of course lakes with flamingoes. I always thought that they liked hot weather, but apparently not as it was cold outside.
By the end of the day, we stopped to sleep in this house, shacks really. It had a little fire build at the front of the house, but our room was at the back. I was wearing all my sweaters and thermals, we had some wine that Johhny gave us ( he didn't seem in the mood to cook ) and a bottle of rum, so it wasn't too bad. But it started to get so cold and the fire was dying, so we burnt a book that Steve had to keep it going. (I never thought that we can get so much heat from John Grisham)
All 6 of us went to bed early. By that time I was wearing all the clothes that I had, including my hat and gloves. The night was so cold that I couldn't sleep. According to Robert, it wasn't even that cold on his Kili trip
Anyway, we had to leave at 4.30am next morning, but all our alarm clocks failed to work, (perhaps the cold weather), so Johnny woke us up late.
That day we saw some geisers and a volcano that inspired the famous painting by Salvador Dali 'with the time running'. We were all heading to the Chilean border for a 10 o'clock transfer, we managed to get a flat tyre, but Johhny was very quick in changing it so we made the border crossing on time.