Sucre, Potosi and the Salt Flats
02.02.2013 - 07.02.2013
After our eventful experience in the Amazon it was back to some sort of normality as we headed off to Sucre. This was just a quick stopover but we were nicely surprised as it was a quite a pretty city with some really good restaurants and a couple of local clubs to keep us entertained. During the day we visited the 7 Cascadas (waterfalls) which was pretty cool! The waterfalls are in the middle of nowhere so you literally have to get a taxi there and then they wait for a few hours and drive you home. (For a ridiculously small fee!) Apart from thinking Peter might have died when he fell off the cliff jump....and apart from when it started raining ... it turned out to be a pretty fun day!
The following day we headed off to the mining town of Potosi. This isn't on many people's 'to-do' list of South America but after a few extremely enthusiastic reccomendations we HAD to go! Before entering the mines you stop at the local markets to get presents for the miners ...like coco leaves, water and DYNAMITE!! (We bought some - kinda felt like we should of been arrested!) Once we had our flashlights, helmets and all the extremely unattractive mining gear on our group entered the mine for what turned out to be one of our favourite tours in South America!
The tour takes about 3 hours and your brought right down into the different levels of the mines and you meet some of the miners down there too. It's not reccomended for people with claustrophobia as your crawling through VERY tight spaces for a good bit of it! Diana had a massive rip at the back of her mining trousers and with a combination of having to crawl through tiny spaces and the American guy behind her shouting ..."is that a bare ass I see" ..it's understandable why this was one of the day's highlights! In the mines I decided to turn my camera to black and white mode to get the full effect! (Was in my element!!)
The youngest miner was 14 (illegal!) whilst the eldest was 70! Even after spending a few hours crawling through the dust of the mines the smell and taste in your mouth is pretty intense! How some of the men have been working there for over 40/50 years is insane! (An office job started to seem much more bearable after all!)
After one night in Potosi we headed to Uyuni for a 3 day tour which included the incredible Salt Flats. We headed there on our first day and it was so amazing!! ....in this case the pictures really say it all!!! ...
The following 2 days we spent driving around in a 4 x 4 and visited some spectacular scenery such as flamingo filled lagoons, a red lagoon, rock valleys and natural hot springs. Peter blew up his leftover dynamite in a rock valley (completely illegal yet entertaining) and I learnt that a geyser was in fact a hydro-thermal explosion rather than a large bird. (Was a bit embarrassing when I was searching for the geysers flying through the sky!)
One of the mornings the driver of another 4 x 4 that was travelling the same route as us was literally pissed out of his mind. (It was common enough for some of the South American drivers to be drunk but this was another level!) The group had to kick him out of the drivers seat before he killed them and one of the guys had to drive to the border which was a good few hours away! So we were quite happy not to be in that group as you can imagine!!
After the tour ended there were 2 options, to return to Uyuni in Bolivia or get a bus through the Bolivan/Chilean border to the lovely town of San Pedro. We needed to get to Salta in Argentina and were told once you get to San Pedro it will be EASY to get another bus through the Chilean/Argentinian border and onto Salta. ...San Pedro it is!!