Uyuni, Bolivia, salt as far as the eye can see. For miles and miles all we could see was a seemingly endless realm of salty, white cracked ground, salt so limitless that all of the chips in the world would not be enough. Far on the horizon the salty plains met mountains that reached the sky. We had started our world trip months beforehand. It was now September and it was during this time that we found ourselves in Bolivia. South America was to be our penultimate continent. We had travelled through Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina, but nothing quite compared to the white expanse set before us.
Soon enough our time taking silly perspective bending photos on the salt flats were over and we were ushered back into the jeep. There were six of us in total, three girls from the Canary Islands, One guy from Sao Paolo and then my wife and I. My wife, Olivia, is the reason we had found ourselves in Bolivia, the country that she decided was named after her. After spending a week in La Paz and then travelling down to Uyuni, it gave me another thing to thank her for. Bolivia was amazing, hectic and busy, but nonetheless amazing.
Although we’d inadvertently become embroiled with a less than spectacular tour agency, the views that we saw as we traversed across the plains were incomparable with anything that we had seen before. During those three days on our tour we saw many colourful flamingos, llamas and giant chinchilla type rabbits. We saw lagoons of green, white, red and clear blue. We marvelled at the stars that adorned conical snow-capped volcanoes. It is safe to say that we marvelled at the very best that Mother Nature could throw at us.
For me, the trip to Uyuni had many snapshot moments and it was incredibly hard to pick one. We saw flamingos, wild llamas and vicunas; we even sat out and watched the night sky in the middle of the desert. The sky so clear and light free that the Milky Way was so clearly visible. This was a truly amazing moment sipping wine, chatting in Spanish and watching the stars. But for me my snapshot moment came on our second day across the salt plains. We had arrived at a place known as the Arbol de Piedra, or the stone tree. The whole area is rife with geological activity and one of the rock formations had developed to look a bit like a tree.
This however was far from anyone’s interest, a quick photo was taken and then we had time to explore the rest of the rock formations around there. I’ve never been the particularly athletic kind; I suffer with dyspraxia which makes me incredibly uncoordinated, a skill that’s helpful to many sports. I do however really enjoy many solo activities that I don’t do very often, one of which is rock climbing and scrambling over rocks.
So there was my challenge, a rough rock that stood a fair height from the sandy ground below and off I went. The rough feel of the rock under my hands as I grasped for handholds, my feet pushing me higher as I ascended to its rocky peaks. So for me my snapshot moment was there, high above the sand and people below. Alone at the top of a rock, looking across some of the best scenery that Bolivia had to offer, content at how things had turned out.
And for those that are curious, yes we did taste the salt and can indeed confirm that it is salty.