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Uyuni - Day 3

Added: June 22, 2010

Tags: Bolivia RTW SouthAmerica animals geothermal geysir lagoon mountains photos
Last day at Uyuni trip was less impressive (compared with previous day). We have seen only a few nice places and then travelled for long time back to Uyuni. However, the boring ride was compensated slightly by adventures in Uyuni.

We reached the highest altitude for us so far and finally I got decent photo of llama. Apart from that I made my first vertical panorama of llama! You know, bumpy road, driver does not want to stop, you need to shoot at high speed during ride :-) The first photo cuts the head, the 2nd one misses legs. No, I did not try to stitch it... But I like the concept ;-)

All in all, it was fine end of this wonderful trip. I encourage everybody travelling in Bolivia to go there.

Geothermal awakening

We left the accommodation at 5:01am, one minute late :-) It was without breakfast, we will have one later in the morning. It was still dark, stars were shining, but apart from Southern Cross I could not find anything familiar.

All tours had the same program. Leaving early to get to geothermal area with geysers before sunrise. Many cars were ahead of us and when we got to geysers the place was crowded.

Apart from steam we did not see any geyser. I am not sure some of those geysers are natural, during our visit we could see only steam ejecting from drill holes. But it was still very nice, pinkish steam, dark red ground, colourful sky. Following photos don't show the atmosphere there well.




Thermal pool at Polques

We did not spend much time at "geysers", we were in hurry to see sunrise at thermal pool at Polques. I was late due to taking photos (again), but I am sure I was not the reason we did not manage to get there before sunrise.

Instead we have seen probably the most beautiful sunrise from car, unfortunately we did not stop. I really regret that. Cars ahead of us raised a lot of dust and hills ahead and valleys between them were covered in wonderful red-orange mist.

When we arrived to Polques it was flooded with nice golden light. Steam ascending from water and crawling around made it even nicer. Then I realized I left my towel in backpack, safely stored at car roof. No way I will be able to get it. So much for morning bath in hot water. On the other hand I could look around with my camera and take advantage of that wonderful light, while breakfast was prepared.


Sunrise at Polques

The pool is next to house, where all people are. It was not very big and at least 15 groups were here, so it was not as attractive as I hoped for originally.
Polques thermal pool

Drivers are cleaning dishes in hot water.


Laguna Verde

We had 2 possibilities where to go next. Either Laguna Verde or some rock paintings. Without knowing much about those paintings we wanted to go to Laguna. Its attractive altitude (4800m) was hard to resist :-) It is also beautiful, but we were told it will not be green in the morning.

Next to Laguna Verde is Laguna Bianca, but we did not stop there, so I could not take a photo.

Laguna Verde bellow volcan Licancabur.
Laguna Verde with volcano Licancabur



Detail of textures in water
textures at Laguna Verde

Summit of volcano Licancabur.
Summit of volcano Licancabur



And we are heading back

That was our last stop at big attraction. We turned over and headed back to Uyuni. We had a few more stops, but they were for lunch and stretching legs.

That stretching was really important for me. After 2 days of sitting in the back my knees started to hurt after 2 hours of sitting stiff. Nearly every stop was at the last possible moment for me. Fortunately our fellow travellers offered us to switch places, because they wanted to sleep in the back. There was more space in the middle, but periodic stops were still necessary.

We returned to Laguna Colorada where we turned to other road and until San Juan we went different way. So the views were not all the same.

Colourful mountains near Laguna Verde.



I think that could be Laguna Colorada, but I am not 100% sure.



Lunch at Villa Mar

Villa Mar (Mallcu) is pretty small and interesting village along the road. Cute small houses with straw roofs bellow nice cliff.

We had lunch here, inside a local shop. I think some kind of cooperation was going on. Owner allows us to use their premises and we might eventually buy something. I am not sure it really happened though, because shortly after finishing my meal I went for the 2nd round of taking photos. Zuzka found herd of llamas or alpacas (who can distinguish them, anyway?) before and I really wanted to take some nice photos.






I was curious to know how I look after 3 days without shaving, so I asked Zuzka to use my camera like a mirror. Somehow it turned to be pretty good picture considering it was not composed in any way :-)





Back to Uyuni

It took us about 4 hours to return to Uyuni. We had only short stop in San Cristobal. This section was less interesting especially because we have seen the last part of it 2 days ago.



Salar de Uyuni in distance! But we are not going there :-(



Eating in Uyuni?

We arrived to Uyuni at 5pm, our bus back to La Paz was scheduled 8pm. Plenty of time to find something to eat. Lonely Planet mentions the only dish you will find in Uyuni is a pizza. Zuzka cannot it pizza, so we decided to find something else.

Lonely Planet was nearly right, you cannot find anything else. But it was also completely wrong, because to find even pizza was not so easy. There are many pizzerias around, but the big question is whether they are able to make some. We have seen that group of Britons we came to Uyuni 3 days ago with to struggle finding good place too.

Finally we went into one pizzeria. I have asked for some pizza. No, they don't have llama meat. I have tried other. No, they don't have chicken. After 2 more tries I started to study menu seriously in vain hope to find some ingredient they could have, while Zuzka was trying her luck with aubergine. No. Avocado? No. Omelet? No. Eventually a waiter went away and started to ignore us. Really strange.

We went to another one. They were much better, they were able to make a pizza for me it just took ages. But we were not in hurry. Zuzka got omelet and everybody was happy.

Going to La Paz?

We came to bus stop on time. Bus arrived, but we were not allowed in yet. 15 minutes before leaving we could board it. Nice touch was we got a receipt for our luggage put into trunk. That did not happen in La Paz before.

But then other people came with reservations for our seats. After short dispute driver asked everybody who bought ticket in La Paz to get out. We went to office, they did not speak English, but fortunately one passenger had a friend in bus speaking fluently Spanish. So we learned we either did not confirm our tickets when we arrived to Uyuni or did not check in today. But nobody told us we should! So next time we will go to Uyuni we will know we have to confirm our tickets.

We were not happy about this situation, but fortunately they helped. The clerk went to look for other buses and she found one leaving also at 8pm! She got a tickets for us and we hurried there, because it was leaving in couple of minutes. That was unbelievable! She saved the day for us. The other bus was bit worse than Panasur, but it was OK.

A trip took only 11 hours this time. We went to Cruz de los Andes. To my relief, we found rest of our luggage waiting for us there in its completeness.

Our original plan was to continue to Copacabana soon, but because of closed Machu Picchu we were not in hurry any more and so we decided to stay for 2 days in La Paz more.