White - as far as your eye can see. The sun burns on your head and makes the white plain even more shining. On the horizon you see little hills and some mountains – almost vanished in the air and through the reflection floating like UFOs close over the floor.
If you first enter the salar you will ask yourself where the hell you are now. Is this still on planet earth or are we not more likely on a far off planet in the milky way? Like almost nothing before, this landscape marvelled and fascinated me.
Our trip started in the little town of Uyuni in the very south of Bolivia. After coming from the deep lands of Argentina our bodies still struggled with the altitude. Uyuni lays on 3600 metres above sea level. Never the less also this feeling of the altitude even increased the feeling of diving in to a complete different world. The town of Uyuni is basically a little tourist hub to bring travellers in to the desert area with the worlds biggest salt lake. Plenty agencies offer jeep tours and there is probably no way to avoid them. There is also no reason to do so, your trip will be anyway adventurous enough and as if you are so close for three day with your driver you can not else than to become close friends, as you also will with the other travellers that share the jeep with you. Some like six people fit into one jeep and this community of fate will be your only reaming’s of the so well known world, as you visit another planet.
Your spaceship is a jeep and your sky is a dusty desert road. Like a rocket you leave Uyuni behind you and race towards the salar. As soon as you have left the town you are in a complete unnatural scenery. Nothing grows out here. The only thing left by human is an abandoned train depot that looks more like a scrapyard. With no tracks for the skeletons of the former engines to go anywhere, the whole scenery has more of a graveyard anyway. After this last piece of civilisation there is just the salar in front of you. For the next three days you cross him with the jeep. Some times on sand, some times through 20cm deep water and most marvellous on its white flat salt surface.
This white surface makes it so difficult for you to assess any distance. That’s where all these funny pictures come from with one standing under your shoe or sitting on your hand. In the middle of the lake you find an island fully covered with cactuses. This was, I guess my most favourite spot on the journey. A peace of nature, surrounded by a white salt plain as far as you could see. You can just be there and enjoy, being on another planet.
Next to the salt lake the tour includes also visits to several lagoons. Also here you have amazing colours and you see a lot of animals like llamas, foxes and birds - most of all the colourful flamingos that majestically fly over you. Food will be prepared by your driver which is quit a task in this abandoned landscape but at least our did an great job. We got llama steaks and even the pasta was not so bad for 3600 meters above sea level.
The last proof that you are on another planet will you get, when you go out during the night. With no lights in probably some hundred kilometres you will truly believe that you are right in the middle of the milky way.