Alex and Tom

Joined May 2017
  • Day71

    07/07/17-11/07/17 Costa Verde

    July 10, 2017 in Brazil

    07/07/17-11/07/17 Costa Verde

    We are writing this at the airport in São Paulo having had an incredible few weeks.

    We spent our final few days travelling along Costa Verde, the coast line between Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, to enjoy some sun!

    We hired a car from Rio and set off to our first stop, Ilha Grande. The majority of the journey was fine, but was a little bit hairy driving through some of the cities. We got there in one piece, managing to get to the last boat of the day with minutes to spare. It's safe to say our time keeping has not improved throughout our trip!

    Ilha Grande is home to Lopes Mendes beach, which was voted one of the top 10 beaches in the world. It was very secluded, with white sand and very blue sea. It was so secluded that you have to hike for 2.5 hours to get there. We had a lovely chilled afternoon playing in the sea.

    The hike there wasn't easy, but was very pleasant and we stopped off at various beaches en route. On one of the beaches there was a floating bar in the sea, where we enjoyed some cocktails and BBQ in a picturesque setting.

    After two nights on the island, we returned to dry land and travelled further up the coastline to a town called Paraty. Paraty is very beautiful and has amazing cobbled streets with the biggest cobble stones we have ever seen. We spent our first afternoon doing a bar crawl of the beach bars, enjoying some final caipirinhas, which made manoeuvring the cobbles on the way home a bit tricky!

    On our final day, we went horse riding in the hills surrounding Paraty. The views were spectacular, and our guide clearly adored his horses.

    That afternoon we took the long drive (4.5 hours) to São Paulo where we spent our final night in an airport hotel, so that we would be there in plenty of time to catch our flight the following day.

    We have both had an incredible time and are both disappointed to be leaving. If we could stay longer, I don't think either of us would think twice about it! We will definitely be back. This trip has definitely stirred up the travelling bug... we can't wait for our next adventure.
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  • Day70

    04/07/17-07/07/17 Rio De Janeiro

    July 9, 2017 in Brazil

    04/07/17-07/07/17 Rio De Janeiro

    We flew from Iguazu to Rio de Janeiro. This was part of our trip we were both looking forward to, but also marks that our trip is coming to an end which we are both gutted about.

    In Rio we stayed in guest house that was recommended to us by a friend of a friend. It is run by a brother and sister from Canada. We are glad it was recommended to us, as was a bit away from the typical tourist locations in Rio and so we would never have found it! Although it wasn't central, it was really easy to get Uber's and they were incredibly cheap. The owners were so lovely and friendly and gave good advice on how to fill our time in Rio. Plus the view from their veranda was insane! You could see all over Rio. It was called Casa Dois Irmaos and we would thoroughly recommend it if anyone goes to Rio.

    We had two full days to fill, and we really did fill them! On our first morning we did a lot of walking. We visited the Botanical Gardens and the Parque Lage which were very pleasant.

    We then went to visit Rio's famous beaches. Starting by walking along Ipanema Beach and going up to Copacabana. We were pleasantly surprised by the beaches, which despite being city city beaches, were very clean. Even for a Tuesday afternoon in "winter" they were busy and lively.

    In the afternoon we decided to climb the Sugarloaf, one of the mountains in Rio that offers great views of the city. We could have taken the cable car, but decided to go an alternative route and climb.

    Our guide spoke limited English, and told us it would be mainly hiking, with 15m of climbing. We think that his meaning of "hike" was different to ours, it was more of a scramble and the majority of it was so steep we crawled up on our hands and knees. It was hard work but great fun! And so nice not being surrounded by other tourists.

    At the top, there was a bar (yay!) so we stayed to watch sun set over Rio with some cocktails, which were lovely. We got the cable car down though!

    The following day we started by visiting a favela. These are the "slums" in Brazil, where the poorer population live. There are lots of bad associations with favelas and the people from favelas, predominantly as many are run by drug traffickers and invoke large amounts of crime. Since the take over by Police Pacifying Units (UPPs) they have become overall safer to live in. There are lots of very strict rules and regulations in the favelas, including that anyone caught stealing gets their hand cut off, which actually made it safer than some other places in Rio.

    We visited Rocinha, which is the largest favela in Rio, with 300,000 people living inside it. It is one of the safest favelas in Rio, with low crime rates. We were shown around by a student who had grown up in Rocinha and still lived their now. She was very sweet and showed us all around, including her own home, which was really nice of her. It was actually quite nice inside. The tour company she works for is run by a half American- half Brazilian man, who was born in the favela and returned to the favela 20 years ago. He has been living there since. It was interesting to experience a different area of Rio and learn that all the prejudices associated with favelas was not accurate. In fact, people in favelas are treated very unfarely.

    That afternoon we stopped by a cafe to have empanadas for lunch, we have had quite a lot of these throughout our time in both Brazil and Argentina. They are like pasties filled with a variety of fillings and a very common and popular snack/lunch out here. These particular empanadas were some of the best!

    We then took the cog train up the mountain to see the Christ the Redeemer statue up close. Throughout Rio you can see it up on the mountain, however whenever we looked there was a cloud over it!

    When we got to the top, we were surrounded by cloud, but you could still see see the statue pretty clearly.

    It is one of the modern 7 wonders of the world, but we weren't overly impressed! But we couldn't come to Rio without seeing it.

    Another thing we couldn't come to Rio without seeing was the Escadaria Selaron, the brightly coloured stairs created by a Chilean artist, Jorge Selaron. They are covered in lots of coloured tiles and are impressive. We visited en route to our evening activity - food tour.

    We heard about the company "Eat Rio" from our guest house. It is run by a Brit called Tom who moved here 7 years ago after meeting his now wife travelling. His tour takes you to lots of traditional places, off the tourist track to sample lots of Brazilian food and drinks. Everyone we spoke to highly recommended it, but it was a full day so we didn't think we would be able to fit it in.

    Tom emailed him in advance asking whether they offer an evening tour, and we were in luck! We were offered to be his guinea pigs in an evening tour that he hadn't yet trialled at 50%.

    It was a lot of fun! There were 7 of us trying it out and he took us to some really interesting places, varying from street food to "high end", to try lots of Brazilian food and drink. We loved it, and Tom the tour guide was a great guy.

    The tour ended in a samba club which was fun. We ended up being out for 8 hours, but time flew by!

    On our last morning we thought we would say bye to Rio from the sky, by trying our hand at hang gliding. Initially, the instructor cancelled due to the wind, but it picked up for us which was great. We were able to see all over Rio. It was great fun.

    Overall, we loved Rio, and definitely want to come back one day!
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  • Day65

    03/07/2017-04/07/17 The Iguazu Falls

    We got up at 3am to get an early morning flight to The Iguazu Falls. The Iguazu River is the border separating Argentina and Brazil and the falls fall on either side.

    We started by flying into the Argentinian side, where we spent the day walking around the falls. The falls are spectacular and have been voted as one of the 7 wonders of nature. You could see them from all angles and at some points get pretty close to them.

    The highlight was at the end when we took a train up to the top to view "The Devils Throat", an area where some of the largest falls meet. It got pretty wet! The amount of water was immense, and it really was an incredible view.

    The following day we crossed over the border into Brazil and viewed them from the other side. The Brazilian side gave a good panoramic view of the falls.

    That afternoon we visited a bird sanctuary. 50% of the birds had been rescued from trafficking and the remaining 50% had been born in the Avery.

    It was very impressive as they had huge averys that you could walk through and get close to the birds. The averys were different depending on the environment that the birds liked (e.g. Water, jungle, forrest) and were so large they could still fly around without feeling too enclosed.

    Most of the birds were local to South America, and so were brightly coloured and beautiful. The Macau Avery was the most impressive, with hundreds of beautifully coloured parrots flying overhead. They got pretty close at times and were incredibly loud. We also saw lots of toucans, which were really cool!

    We are now in our last country! We can't believe how quickly time has gone, but still have time to fit in some more adventures and are heading to Rio next.
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  • Day62

    28/06/17-01/07/17 Mendoza

    July 1, 2017 in Argentina

    28/06/17-01/07/17 Mendoza

    We arrived in Mendoza, where we were renting an air bnb close the the city centre. The apartment had a fully equipped kitchen which meant we could cook our own food.

    However on the first night we headed out for dinner. We had planned on grabbing something at the airport, but after our airport dash didn't have time. We obviously went for steak at a traditional Argentinian restaurant... it was delicious.

    The following day we headed out to sample what Mendoza is famous for. Wine. We caught a bus to the suburbs, where there are many vineyards. On the bus we met a group of Brits with the same idea as us and together the six of us hired bikes and cycled from vineyard to vineyard sampling the local wines.

    The setting was beautiful, with the Andes as a backdrop to the vineyards and the wine was delicious. Mendoza is most famous for its Malbec, which was very good!

    Mendoza also has lots of mountains and rivers, and our second day we went white water rafting. Our instructor had a really good sense of humour and was really professional. The day was good fun, and even more importantly I did not permanently scar anyone in the process this time, luckily for Tom.

    On our last day in Mendoza we spent the day walking around the 420 hectare park. The park features man made lakes, BMX track and even a football stadium. It was a lovely way to spend our day.

    That evening we traveled back to Buenos Aires. We were both sad to move on from Mendoza, and would have liked to spend more time there, but are quickly running out of time on this trip and still have a lot to fit in!

    We travelled back to Buenos Aires by bus. This was the most luxurious bus we have had (and they have all been pretty good!). Our seats reclined into full beds and we had our own tv screens. We got served steak for dinner with Malbec, which got topped up. The whole bus played bingo, with the conductor reading out the numbers over the tannoy. The prize was a bottle of wine, and Tom won! Which added a bit of excitement to our journey. We both slept very well on this journey, and were woken up at 7am as we pulled into Buenos Aires.
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  • Day58

    26-27/06/17 & 02/07/17 Buenos Aires

    June 27, 2017 in Argentina

    26-27/06/17 & 02/07/17 Buenos Aires

    We arrived in Buenos Aires in the afternoon after an overnight bus ride from Puerto Madryn. The journey was made longer by the heavy traffic in the city. Not surprising I guess for a capital.

    After a stop for lunch, we spent the afternoon having a nap and catching up on some z's after neither of us slept very well on the bus.

    That evening we thought we would sample some of what Argentina is famous for, and enrolled in a tango lesson! We weren't very good, but it was a laugh, and nice to pretend we were competing in strictly come dancing.

    That evening we went to a really nice tapas restaurant, which served amazing wine and great food.

    The following day we did a walking tour of the city. It was interesting to find out some more about Argentina's history, and see some landmarks in the city. One thing that became very apparent to us both was how much Evita is idolised by Argentinians. We got to see some of the places she worked, lived and gave famous speeches etc. There are lots of monuments to her all over the city and her face is painted on some of the towers in the city. We learnt that when she died there was a fourteen day long funeral and the whole of Argentina ran out of flowers! Although the Argentinians respect the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, they don't think it is an accurate portrayal of her, and they entirely despise the movie version with Madonna in it! Neither of us could get "Don't Cry For Me Argentina" out of our heads throughout most of our time in BA!

    That afternoon we caught a plane to Mendoza. This was a very stressful experience, even for me who is a professional when it comes to catching flights late.

    Due to protests in town, a lot of the roads were closed. The journey that should have taken 20-30 mins, took 80. Our taxi man was a sweet old man who could barely see over the steering wheel. He could not speak English. He was an angel and drove like a mad man to get us there. He definitely went through some red lights to get us there. We were already making alternate arrangements as we were so convinced we weren't going to get there.

    Once we arrived 30 mins before take off, we ran through the airport with our huge rucksacks (which felt like we were in boot camp), managed to check in and had to run through security, pushing in front of the huge queue. We ran to our gate, red and sweaty and out of breath to a crowd of people sat down, relaxed and staring at us as if we were crazy. Our flight was delayed by 30 mins.

    The lady at the gate was the same lady who checked us in, and congratulated us on how fast we got there.

    We spent three nights in Mendoza (see next post) before returning to Buenos Aires for a day.

    On our return we started by visiting La Boca, a riverside community famous for its brightly coloured buildings and artwork. It was very pretty and colourful.

    For lunch, we went to a traditional restaurant where we both enjoyed a massive steak. Before we arrived in Argentina we associated it with good steak and good wine. On leaving, our presumptions have not changed. If there is one things Argentinians to very well it steak! We have had a lot of steaks here... easily the best I have ever had in my life! In fact, Tom has enjoyed them so much he has had steak every day of being in Argentina!

    That afternoon we visited some of the "must see" things in Buenos Aires, which included a book shop in a converted theatre which was beautiful and the Ricoletta cemetery. The graves are bought by families and so multiple members are in each mausoleum, which are all decorated very elaborately. Many of the people buried there are famous or politicians. We visited Evita's grave there, which was covered in flowers.

    That night we went to see Fuerza Bruta. This was a show at the cultural centre and was highly recommended to us. It was a cirque de solei style show, with lots of trapeze work, props and lighting. It was very creative and like nothing either of us had seen before!
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  • Day57

    23/06/17-27/06/17 Patagonia (Argentina)

    June 26, 2017 in Argentina

    23/06/17-27/06/17 Patagonia (Argentina)

    We finally reached Argentina, thanks to the lift from our car rental friend (although, he told us that if he'd remembered that Chile were playing Germany at the football that day he would have charged us extra!). It was beginning to feel like we would never make it!

    Our first stop in Argentina was a small town in Patagonia called El Calafate. It is a very touristy town, with lots of wooden buildings, trees and wide roads. It reminded us both of a resort like centre parks.

    From El Calafate we visited the Perito Moreno glacier. This is one of the world's only stable glaciers, and hasn't changed in size during the last century. It was very impressive. At its tallest, it measures 70m high and a beautiful shade of blue. We walked around it, and also took a boat trip to see it a bit closer. It was freezing. Stood next to it, you could see and hear bits of ice breaking off into the water. The sound was incredible, and so loud. That evening we went to an ice bar, which was quite good fun, although equally as cold as at the glacier.

    The following day we took a bus north to Puerto Madryn. Surprise surprise our first bus was cancelled, but after a few phone calls the company put us onto a different bus that left two hours later. We were worried that we may miss our connection bus, but luckily got it just in time.

    Our second bus was very slow with lots of stops due to the snow (we were surprised it wasn't cancelled). We eventually got into Puerto Madryn 4 hours later than planned, making our total time on a bus 26 hours.

    Our main reason for coming to Puerto Madryn was to see the Southern Right Whales. After our mission to get there we really hoped we would see them. We hired a car and drove to a port in the national park where we got a boat.

    As we were walking to the boat we spotted our first two whales from the coast, and knew that it was already worth it. Once on the boat we saw loads, including calves. They would swim right up to our boat and go underneath. It was amazing. Definitely worth the hassle!

    We are now heading further north, which we are both excited about, mainly as temperatures are above 15 degrees, which in comparison to the last 2 weeks is tropical! Although we are both sad to be leaving Patagonia.
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  • Day53

    17/06/17-22/06/17 Patagonia (Chile)

    Whilst everyone in England has been enjoying a heat wave, we have been enjoying the opposite extreme in Patagonia.

    We flew from Santiago to Punta Arenes, where the air hostess informed us that temperatures outside were a balmy -4 degrees Celsius. Punta Arenes is the furthest south either of us have ever been. From here, we took a bus to Puerto Natales, a small town where, if it hadn't been for all the snow, we felt as if we could be in an old Western film.

    We spent the night there, before hiring a car and driving to the National Park, Torres del Paine. On the morning of leaving, we thought we would make the most of the day and leave nice and early. We told our hostel we would want breakfast at 7am. When our alarms went off in the morning it was pitch black but we could hear the lady running our hostel clattering around getting breakfast ready. It was only then we decided to check when sunrise was.... 10am. We felt bad so got up and had breakfast before going back to bed for two hours so that we could leave in day light. She must have thought we were crazy!

    The park covers 1810 square km, and has some spectacular scenery and impressive animals. On our first drive through the park to our hotel, we spotted many guanaco (cross between a deer and llama) that would leap across the road unexpectedly, birds of prey – including a condor carrying the remains of a poor animal and an owl hunting, nandus (ostrich like birds) and most excitingly a puma! If it hadn't been for a tour bus stopped in the middle of the road with tourists taking photos of it, we think we would have missed it. Unfortunately we did not get the opportunity to take a good picture as it stalked it's way out of site too quickly.

    We were told that we were lucky to see it by the hotel owner, apparently it's quite rare! Our hotel was in a stunning location, situated on an island on Lake Pehoe. We had to cross a footbridge to reach it. The island was surrounded by mountains, and we were lucky to have a mountain view from our room.

    We spent three days doing walks around the park and enjoying the amazing scenery which consisted of snow capped mountains, waterfalls and turquoise lakes. It was very picturesque. Due to it being winter, there were few other tourists, and so we were able to enjoy everything without large crowds. It was truly stunning. Tom made it his mission to see another puma, until we spotted a puma print in the snow whilst out walking on our last day. We reacted by panicking and running home.... In hindsight we have found out that that is not the way to react if met with a puma. You should instead make yourself as big as possible, by raising your hands above your head, and never turning your back to them. At least we now know what to do if we ever see a puma lurking in the streets of Southampton.

    We returned to Puerto Natales, and were greeted by two forms of bad news. Firstly, our pre booked Hostel had cancelled our booking due to “maintenance issues” (we think it's because of the early breakfast thing) and secondly the buses to El Calafate, our next destination, had been cancelled until the weekend. We looked at various options available, and considered staying until the weekend, but with little else happening in the area felt that it was a waste of our time.

    Fortunately for us, the man we rented a car from took pity on us and offered to drive us there for a reasonable fee, which meant we were able to keep to schedule and finally cross the border into Argentina.
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  • Day47

    13/06/17-16/03/17 Santiago

    June 16, 2017 in Chile

    13/06/17-16/03/17 Santiago

    We flew from San Pedro to Santiago, the capital of Chile, where we started by enjoying a nice Steak at “The Fat Cow” restaurant.

    The following day we took a bus to the town Valparaiso. This was the main port used in South America prior to the Panama Canal being built. It is still a busy port town today, and stood by the shore surrounded by shipping containers we felt as though we could be back home in Southampton.

    Valparaiso is also famous for being a colourful town. The houses are all built into the hills and painted bright colours. Street art covers every possible surface available. We spent the day walking around viewing the art and taking cable cars up the hill at various points to admire the views.

    On our second day in Santiago, we went to the ski resort of La Parva to enjoy a day on the slopes. Unfortunately due to high winds, a lot of the lifts were shut. However the resort was fairly empty, which meant that we were able to do the runs that were open plenty of times without queuing for lifts. All of the running lifts were drag lifts, which meant that by the end of the day we could really feel our legs! It was a great days skiing though and I have developed a new found appreciation for people who wear hired boots!!

    We were due to leave Santiago for Mendoza the next day. We got up bright and early to heavy rain and were at the bus station by 7am to get our bus, only to find our bus was cancelled. The border was closed between Chile and Argentina due to heavy snow. Not ideal. After an hour and a half in an internet Café we changed our plan entirely and had booked flights the following day down to Patagonia. Fortunately for us we hadn’t booked too much in advance and got a full refund on our bus so haven't lost out too much.

    With an extra day in Santiago to play with, we hid in a Café from the rain to come up with a plan of action. We started by visiting the home of Pablo Neruda, a Chilean poet and Nobel prize winner. His home had been turned into a museum. It was the house he built for his secret lover Mathilde, before leaving his wife and moving in with her. The house was built into the side of a mountain and was full of lots of impressive artwork and various items collected on his travels. The house was very quirky and felt like something from grand designs.

    When we left the rain had settled, so we got the funicular to the top of the highest Hill overlooking the city. We decided to go for a walk afterwards, but in what seems to be a recurring theme of this trip, took the wrong walking path. This one was more of a mud slide than a path and we both finished up covered from head to toe in mud after sliding down most of it. So much for a gentle walk through the park.

    As we finished the heavens opened again and so we took shelter in the shopping centre, which was the biggest either of us had seen. We contemplated going up the “tallest tower in South America” inside the centre, however when we were told there was no bar at the top, just a view, we decided against it. Plus the hill we had been on earlier that day had looked down on the tower, so we figured we had already seen the view for free.

    We finished up our day by having a burger in a good old American diner, before turning up slightly wet and muddy at the airport hotel. I'm not sure they were too pleased!
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  • Day44

    11/06/17-13/06/17 San Pedro De Atacama

    We got the bus at 4:30am from Uyuni to San Pedro De Atacama. This was an experience. Bolivian buses weren't quite as luxurious as the Peruvian ones that we were used to.

    Despite the early start, one local lady on the bus seemed wide awake and sang along out loud to a karaoke app on her phone. It wouldn't have been so bad if she had actually had a good voice. There were also a large number of children on the bus. The company overbooked and some people ended up standing in the aisles for the duration of the journey. Luckily we had seats!

    Crossing the border from Bolivia to Chile wasn't quite as straightforward as it had been crossing from Peru to Bolivia. The whole process took nearly two hours, and at one point involved us all sat against a wall with our bags lined up in front of us for a dog to be paraded up and down. Unfortunately for the security guards the dog seemed much more interested in what was going on around him and so took multiple attempts. We are not convinced the dog was actually trained in anything, and was purely there just for show.

    The security staff were friendly though, and let Tom pass through with his contraband (a cheese sandwich for lunch) after he declared it.

    Eventually, after thirteen hours, we reached San Pedro De Atacama. We decided to treat our time here as a holiday within our holiday, and be a bit more chilled than we have been. We also decided to stay somewhere a bit nicer than we have been, and stayed in a lovely hotel just outside the town centre, which had a heater in our room (which was very exciting).
    Unfortunately we were told we would not be able to visit some of the tourist sites, such as the geysers and the lagoons due to the snow. The snow seems to have caused havoc in this area, and we were told it's unusual for time of year. It hasn't snowed locally for three years. It's reassuring to see the UK isn't the only country to shut down with a bit of snow.

    On our first night we went for dinner with our friends, Max and Lisa and Janice. The food was great compared to Bolivian standards and we enjoyed the Chilean wine!

    We had the first lie in for a long time the following day, and had a lazy morning, only going into town to book a tour for that afternoon. We visited Le Valle De Luna, so called as it resembles the surface of the moon. The landscape was a mix of rocks, salt and sand dunes, which was a beautiful combination. We did a bit of a walk up to the top of a sand dune and enjoyed the view of the surrounding Andes and volcanoes. After this we watched the sunset before having our last dinner with Max and Lisa before going our separate ways.

    At 11pm we went to a star gazing session with a local astronomer. San Pedro is famous for its astronomy and people come here especially for it. Due to the lack of light pollution and low humidity it is a great place to see the stars.

    Our guide started by showing us some of the consolations with the naked eye, and pointed out some planets which to us looked like stars. We then got the opportunity to look through his telescope at the planets, and were able to see the rings on Saturn and some storms that caused dark moving stripes on the surface of Jupiter. We could even see three moons orbiting Jupiter. When we looked at the moon through his telescope we were able to see craters, and he let us take photographs.
    It was a very interesting evening and we both enjoyed it. It was so different to anything else we had done.

    The following morning we hired some bikes from our hotel and cycled to some ruins nearby, before having to return to catch a flight to Santiago, the capital of Chile.
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  • Day41

    08/06/17-10/06/17 Uyuni

    June 10, 2017 in Bolivia

    08/06/17-10/06/17 Uyuni

    We flew from La Paz to Uyuni to embark on a three day tour of the Salar De Uyuni, ending across the border in Chile.

    Unfortunately due to heavy snow lots of roads were closed, including the border crossing, which meant that the tour company had to change our tour to just two days, ending back in Uyuni, and we would have to get a 13 hour bus from Uyuni to San Pedro De Atacama via an alternate crossing. It wasn't ideal but the weather is one thing we can't control so didn't have much choice.

    We met a lovely couple from Australia/New Zealand, Max and Lisa, who are travelling with Max's mum, whilst on The Death Road. We found out that they were doing the same tour as us and so arranged to be grouped in the same 4x4.

    The first day of our tour was Tom's birthday. We started by visiting the “train graveyard”, which is the remnants of a rail car factory dating back to the 19th century. We were able to climb on and look around all the old steam trains.

    That afternoon was the main event, seeing the salt flats. They were impressive, and driving across them in our 4x4 neither of us had seen a landscape comparable before. We got some time to play around taking some pictures, taking advantage of the white background to take some perspective pictures.

    Following this, we visited an area of volcanic rocks covered in cacti, which felt very out of place compared to the surrounding salt flats, where there was no sign of life for miles. That evening we watched a beautiful sun set over the salt flats.

    We then traveled to our accommodation, a salt hotel, where the walls and furniture were made completely of bricks made of salt. Even the floor was salt gravel. It was freezing, and we were glad to have our thermals.

    The following day we were driven back to Uyuni, via two lagoons where wild flamingos lived. They were very beautiful. We were surprised to see them in an area with so much snow, as always pictured them in more tropical locations.

    It was interesting to see how much the landscape changed on our way back, and went through areas of coral (where the land was previously ocean) and bizarre volcanic rock formations.
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