Bolivia – a visual journey
When you think of Bolivia you might think of a third-world country with run-down places and cities, but what I experienced there was pure beauty and absolutely stunning nature: endless salt flats, colorful lakes, hot springs, dynamite explosions and the most dangerous road in the world. Bolivia really got me, that´s why I want to provide you with a little backgound information and take you on a visual journey through Bolivia.
EL CAMINO DE LA MUERTE
My first destination in Bolivia was the main city La Paz. From there I decided to do a day trip and ride down the most dangerous road in the world by bike: “El camino de la Muerte”. Why is it the most dangerous road? The road is very small (most of the time the road is not wider than 3m for traffic from both sides) and doesn´t have barriers; further it has extreme drop-offs, which can be up to 600m or more. In addition weather changes can affect your vision and make driving more difficult. Many busses, cars and even some bikers didn´t make it to the end of the road.
The road starts at 4,600m and goes down to 1,200m – while riding the road you will go through different climate zones. First, when arriving on the top, the weather will be very icy – then it will become foggy and rainy and when you passed this climate zone, clouds will suddenly disappear and you will have to put off all your clothes, because of the tropical climate and the heat.
Potosí is the only city in the world where it is legal to buy dynamite without permission or certificate. Our day in Potosí included a trip to the mines. We had to crawl through really small aisles and the air was really bad. I really had to struggle to breath and my voice was gone after I came out of the mines. Due to the miserable air and the bad working conditions, mine workers have a very low life expectancy and often get illnesses. At the end of our excursion we let some dynamite explode (with a bit of professional help, of course).
UYUNI NATURE TRIP
Our next stop: Uyuni- our starting point of a stunning trip through the nature of Bolivia – together with two funny Australians, a girl from Switzerland, a Belgium guy and another German girl (I am from Germany as well).
Old Train station – train cemetery
Our first stop: the train cemetery. Lots of old locomotives, which were out of use, were parked here and gave us a feeling to be back in time.
After the train cemetery we headed on to the famous salt flats. We were so excited to go there that we bought lots of accessories a couple of days before leaving in order to take some really cool pictures. How you can see- our mission succeeded.
We could have stayed forever at the salt flats, but our driver motivated us to stop taking thousands of pictures and get on moving. It took a while- but then, suddenly, in the middle of the salt desert an island appeared: An island full of cacti, which were up to 10m high. We were really impressed and enjoyed the sunset, before moving on.
Can you imagine a lake with different colors. I couldn´t – until I saw Largo Colorado: the lake was colored in blue, brown, red and white. Additionally many pink flamingos made this whole image to a color spectacle.
Another stop was the stone garden. Gigantic rocks, many in form of trees, were placed in the middle of the desert.
Bolivia was cold, not to say icy- I was sleeping in 3 shirts + pullover + leggings + jogging pants and I was still not feeling warm. That’s why I was more than happy when we reached the hot springs, where we could jump into the water to warm ourselves up. The only problem: the getting-out-of-the-hot-water-and-into-your-clothes part.
Largo Verde was a lake, placed in front of a volcano. The blue water looked fascinating, especially with the volcano being reflected.
And not to forget: Our Australians, who loved getting naked absolutely EVERYWHERE… they definitely made our trip super entertaining.
One last thing about Bolivia: Bolivia is the country of Alpaca (type of lama)- many clothes are made of their fur, which is very warm and helps Bolivians to overcome cold winters.
I hope I made you a bit curious and I guarantee you, Bolivia is definitely worth a visit (or two).
Photos were taken by Jean-Philippe Miller (Australia) and me