From Pulacayo it was a further 20-30 minute climb, which would have been impossible the night before, and then a long downhill to Uyuni. Unfortunately, there was some serious amount of gusting during the downhill into Uyuni and I was getting blown from one shoulder right across the right to the other. Thankfully, the lack of traffic from the previous days was still evident and there were no problems – other than my frustration.
HJ had been to Uyuni twice before, and both times stayed in the Hotel Avenida, so that’s where we stayed. The town of Uyuni reminds me of Crewe being a dirty train town. It does however have a bit more tourism, as it serves as the springboard to those countless tourists who come to take jeeps across the Salar de Uyuni – the world’s largest salt flat – and down to the geysers and lagunas in the national park that borders Chile and Argentina. When we arrived, our plan was very unsure, with the possibility of taking the train down towards the Argentinian border, riding through the national park to get down to Salta in Argentina, heading west to Chile or heading north through the Salars of Uyuni and Coipasa.
The original idea had been to go towards Salta, but in the end we decided to go through the two Salars. Part of that is because I’m currently starting to feel a little… uninspired with riding more in South America – and especially waiting 6 months for the dry season to head through Peru. My current idea is to head up to La Paz, Lake Titicaca, Cusco and Lima where it seems there are lots of cheap flights elsewhere. That’s all still up in the air, and we’ll see how it goes.
There are no photos of Uyuni because, being a dump, the most interesting things would have been the huge amount of rubbish that was blowing around when the wind frequetly kicked in. There’s a train cemetery, but I’d seen a few dilapidated trains in Pulacayo so had no need to go on a trip to see them covered in salt. The time in Uyuni was used to sleep, and buy supplies for our 4 day trip across the Salars to Sabaya. My thoughts of the town weren’t helped by the fact that when I went to buy some 96% alcoholI got sold watered down stuff that wouldn’t work in my stove. I know it was watered down because there was plenty left over that wouldn’t burn or evaporate, and that is not going to happen with real 96% alcohol.