Saturday, November 23, 2013

Adventures in Uyuni (Part 3)

Our last day dawned bright and early and COLD! That morning Rudi found a bottle of Coca Cola that had the six inches of liquid in it frozen solid. 

Bolivian Dawning!
 Our first stop was the geysers. As we came up over the hill and down into the valley of the geysers, our driver informed us that we were at 16,000+ ft. The highest I have ever been in my life. Lydia was the only one in our group who preferred to stay in the car and "felt" the altitude the most. The geysers were spectacular and powerful. It was amazing to feel all that energy under your feet. A little spooky feeling also!
The Geyser Valley
The white formations behind Myles are made of ice. Most of them are as tall as a full grown man. They looked like giant shark teeth. I can't believe I did not get a closer up picture than this, but oh well! These formations are made from the steam of the geysers. At this elevation my Spanish was not functioning very well and so that is the best explanation I could make out! I am sure that one of my scientist friends could give me a good explanation in English sometime!

The geyser that the group is standing behind was made by someone who had poked a hole in the ground, so that the steam would spout in that spot! Not everyday that you can take a group picture behind a geyser!

Clara, Clancy, Myles, Emily, Lauren, Elyssa, Victoria, and Ruth
The "Man Made" Geyser
Rudi took a close up of where they had punched the hole in the ground.
Close up of the hole!

 There also were the bubbling mud spots that reminded me of Yellowstone.
Bubbling Hot Mud!

More Ice Teeth
 And it is not everyday that you can warm your hands up on a geyser, either!
Rudi and Paula warming their hands on the mini-geyser!
I have to admit that the geysers were my favorite part of the day. If we could have taken a helicopter home from that point, the tour would have been just about perfect for me! The nights of not so amazing sleep, or not any at all, were beginning to take their toll on me, as well as the BUMPY roads! However, helicopters were not an option, so onward we pressed until we were in the very southwest corner of Bolivia and we could see the mountains in both Argentina and Chile. That was very cool and Rudi really wanted to just walk over both borders just to say we had been there!! The mountain below was half in Chili and half in Bolivia.
On the way to the "Laguna Verde"
 One of the stops we made was at the hot springs and it was packed with people. All of our kids along with Victoria braved the crowd and enjoyed the hot springs.
This mountain range was in Argentina!
 After the hot springs we went to the "Green Lagoon" that was not green because the wind was not blowing. It has to have wind blowing to create the green color! It was still gorgeous. Nothing lives in this lagoon, because it has yet another mineral substance, arsenic, as well as sulfur, which helps to make the green color! Don't worry our boys did not collect any minerals from this lagoon!
Green Lagoon
One of the thoughts that kept running through my mind off and on the entire time that we were on this journey, was that this area is so inaccessible and feels like it is at the ends of the earth, and yet it is so extravagantly beautiful and packed full of the wonders of God, it felt like God had created this just for himself to enjoy! It had a way of making you feel small and making God feel sooo big. It is hard to put into words the feeling of awe that this part of the country inspires.
Another gorgeous mountain range!
And then it was time to head back to Uyuni. It was five more hours of tedious driving to get back. On the way we say lots of Llama and lots more fields of Quinoa! 
Inside the Jeep that we dubbed "the torture chamber" for various reasons!!!
Lydia rode in this Jeep the whole time...She deserves a prize!
The other thing we saw a lot of the whole trip, was an animal like Alpaca and Llamas, only wild and smaller. They ate what seemed like invisible plants in the lava/sandy soil. Our driver jokingly said that they eat dirt, because you couldn't see what they were eating at some points. We couldn't take very close up pictures, because like anything wild they would start to run away!
Wild Vicicuna's

Altiplano Llamas
 They drive was very beautiful on the way back home and we stopped at different points to use the "natural bathrooms" and enjoy the scenery. We forded countless shallow rivers that were beautiful as well! One of the rivers had this footbridge where we stopped to take some pictures!
Clancy, Emily, Lydia, Lauren, Victoria, Clara, and Myles
 And then it was home sweet, Uyuni, where we said farewell to our drivers.
The group with our drivers!(minus me!)
 I think most of the groups do a better job of keeping their stuff contained. Ours had popped out all over the cars!!
The junk pile!
 Rudi had the great idea to rent the same hotel rooms that we had the first night, so that we could take showers (the first for most of us that week!), get our stuff cleaned up, as well as get a little sleep before we caught our midnight train back to Oruro. It was a brilliant idea! Never has a shower felt SO good! We also were able to stroll around the quaint town of Uyuni, eat delicious pizza for dinner, and buy some souvenirs! We were all sound asleep by 8:30 and got three solid hours of sleep before dashing across the street to catch the train.
Clara, Ruth, and Paula
Waiting for the Midnight Train! (sounds like a song title!)

Lydia "The Backpack Girl"
 This time I slept much better in the train and the hours went by much faster. When the sun came up we realized that our car was right next to the dining car. We all ordered some breakfast and were able to just finish it before arriving in Oruro!
Breakfast on the Train!
 The other thing we were surprised to see was thousands of flamingos on either side of the train, as we went through a very large (miles large) lagoon just outside of Oruro! You can barely make them out in the picture below, but it was incredible to see flocks of them flying around and feeding in the lagoon! Who would have ever thought of flamingos and Bolivia going together!
Oruro Lagoon

Rudi and the kids enjoying breakfast on the train!
It was a good thing that we had eaten, because we had just enough time to catch a taxi to the bus depot and grab a bus that was leaving for Cochabamba. Our bus was practically driving out as we were getting on!
We arrived home by noon and Tia Techy had a great lunch waiting for us. It was good to see the babies again after being gone for almost five whole days. Our kids especially had missed being with the babies!
It had been an unforgettable journey. We are so thankful that the Lord kept us safe throughout and that we were able to experience more of His AMAZING creation here in Bolivia!


  1. Maybe I don't want to do this trip :( I had trouble doing Tunari :( and I didn't even make it to the top... I spent the whole next night sicker than a dog :(

    SO glad you guys had such a great trip though! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thanks for this story and the pictures Carla! We took almost the same trip last year and we're also stunned by the beauty of His creation!! It's so nice to see the pictures again, good memories :-) Except for the fact that our night train was cancelled because of a blockade, and we found out in the middle of the night.......... But I guess that's just one of those Bolivian adventures everyone encounters at least once ;-)