Valles de Rocas rock sculptures

Sunday, January 22, 2012
Uyuni, Potosí, Bolivia
A hired sleeping bag for BS/-50 wasn't really necessary for these 2 nights. With the heavy blankets provided I was fine.

I sensed that it snowed last night in the hills with what appeared to be a light dusting around us. We did pass through snow later today when crossing a mountain pass and it looked like freshly fallen stuff.

First stop was down to the Laguna Colorada (red lagoon) shoreline to see the pink flamingoes. With the morning sun behind us, they still appeared far away. I stayed high on the bank while Rachelle tried her best taking images from water level.

Borax was being mined from this area and we drove past one mining operation.

The road then wound its way up through high, lonesome country and several valleys we passed through now have a stream and GREEN vegetation. How I had missed the greenery.

A really clean banos visit and snack stop in the small village of Mallku Villa Mar which had a crashed small aircraft high in the hills just behind the village - relocated there several years ago by the villagers..

Soon we were away and in the Valles de Rocas where the eroded rock formations are, this area would made for a lovely evening sunset stop as the village of Alota where we stayed 2 nights ago is only some 20 minutes away. Not much imagination is needed to create faces and animals from these weather beaten rocks.

Passing fields of quinoa we soon reached the village of Alota for a lunch break. This was where we stayed 2 nights ago.

Then several hours later back to Uyuni on schedule at 3.30 pm.

The rum offering that Alberto made 3 days earlier to each of the vehicle's 4 wheels to please Pacamama for a safe journey was rewarded as we had no mishaps at all.

Shower and another quick pizza dinner this time at Pizza de la Case before the 8 pm all night bus back to La Paz.

This is an inhospitable region with currently only rustic living conditions, dust, wind, sparse water points and fresh cold nights. Yes, it was certainly an awe-inspiring collection of harsh, diverse and disconcerting landscapes ranging from the blinding white Salar de Uyuni salt flat to the geothermal where the ground literally boils with minerals. The spectrum of colours in the large desert region and mountains is extraordinary. Then add in the multicolored lagoons and flamingoes, geysers and volcanoes, it is a must for any wide open space lovers!

It was the unforgettable literally breathtaking panoramic landscapes that made this a highlight of Bolivia. Totally unexpected. It reminded me very much of flying over the vast unspoilt desert of the south west USA many years ago.

The marvels of nature must be deserved! I loved it and would dearly love to return one day with more time to further enjoy it.

One travel book said that this part of Bolivia is a world class experience and on par with Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands. Having just been to these 2 places, I would tend to agree with this writer.
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