Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Salar de Uyuni

A 12 hour overnight bus ( half on dirt roads.... ) got us down to the town of Uyuni. Just west of the town are the Salar de Uyuni - an area of salt flats approximately 160km x 120km. Bloody huge. We started our tour of the area by visiting an old train scrap yard. Doesn´t sound too interesting, except that one of the wrecks is supposed to be one of the trains robbed by Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid during their period on the run in Bolivia. Kind of cool...

The salt flats themselves are vast. They were formed millions of years ago when the same tectonic forces that forced the Andes skywards, also lifted up a huge inland sea. Over the millenia, the sun evaporated the water to leave the salt flats behind. It´s very strange landscape. Everything is white, which makes it very hard to judge the size and distance of objects ( see photo of the 4x4 nudging into my water bottle for instance ). It´s a very harsh enviroment, but it was amazingly beautiful.
We spend the night in a hostel built entirely from rock salt blocks. Even the furniture was salt. I checked by licking things. The photo on the left was our view at sunset. Fab.