Flamingos, Salt Flats, and Silver Mines, Oh My!

Alright, still not willing to take the time to take pictures off the camera and upload them…mostly because we’ve already gone through an entire memory card, but I’ll fill you in on the basics of the last week anyway…

In San Pedro de Atacama we managed sunrise over the Tatio Geysers and wandered through the Valle de la Luna to enjoy sunset over the desert mountains, but didn’t get a chance to go sandboarding. This was mostly due to the fact that we were too busy eating Chilean empanadas and buying every piece of alpaca warmth that was for sale. There is a place in Southern Peru to go sandboarding so we are hoping to cram it in there. After three days in San Pedro de Atacama, we left Monday morning for our tour through the Salares de Uyuni across the Bolivian border.

The salt flats were incredible! We crammed in a 4-runner with 2 British peeps and our Bolivian guide, Miguel, and spent three days photographing flamingos, soaking in natural hot springs, admiring high altitude lakes, freezing our butts off, sleeping in a hotel made out of salt, and giggling hysterically during a 2 hour photo session on the salt flats. Like I said, a bit too much to weed through on the camera right now (especially cause I blew out our battery charger yesterday by plugging it into a 220 outlet…whoops!). Until we are guaranteed to be able to put charged batteries in the camera, Alex has forbidden me from looking through the 400 flamingo pictures I took!

After our tour we took the most ridiculously cramped bus to Potosí. We have started a list of the worst bus rides of the trip and so far this one is numero uno. Amanda sat in front of us with a Bolivian man drooling on her shoulder, while his seat was so far reclined that I was literally pinned under my day pack and couldn’t move my arms for 7 hours. It was also freezing in the bus and the whole drive was on dirt roads. Good times. We arrived in Potosí at 2am to find that our hotel had screwed up our reservation and only had more expensive rooms available…how convenient…for them. We crashed for the night and then moved across the street to a less conniving place for the second night.

While in Potosí we visited the still working mine that the city is famous for. Wearing jumpsuits, helmets, and headlamps we headed underground to meet the miners and learn about the history of the place. Alex is planning to post about this so I won’t say too much more, but I did think several times about Dad’s directions never to go in a mine shaft during our family trips out west….

We are currently in Sucre, Bolivia, something that wasn’t originally on our radar due to time concerns, but Alex planned in a few cushion days at the beginning of the trip so we ended up with plenty of time. Sucre is an old colonial town that according to the guidebook is reminiscent of Florence….I don’t know if I’d go quite that far, but it is beautiful and has some amazing old buildings. We plan to explore the city, drink coffee in some cafes, and go look at some giant dino footprints that are near here. Then it’s off to La Paz before heading into Peru by way of Lake Titicaca.

More to come when we’re in La Paz…


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