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  • Clocks set to New York time now as we have made it to Bolivia!
    The rain was still coming down this morning in Puno when we got the bus and it was freezing! Just 4 degrees! We were given blankets and then duvets for the bus lol, was lovely and cosy!

    Watched We are the Millers (well we missed the end unfortunately) which was funny and nosied at the views every now and again. Mountains in the far distance across the lake and pretty flat ground where we were. Mostly used for farming and livestock including donkeys, cows and sheep. I think we passed a Peruvian cattle market too. Not very organised looking but lots of people in their colourful dress and a very large number of cattle.

    Bolivia crossing was simple, just a bit of a queue, and from there just 15 mins to Copacabana, a tiny town in the Lake. We are here the night and have stopped for lunch by the lake. Sat on a terrace enjoying a drink and food. Rich and Rob opted for Lama sandwiches, apparently the best in town. Conclusion is that it is nice, but tough. Still waiting for my food...lasagne! Lol
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  • We chilled out after eating food for a little while and then took a taxi to the ecolodge we had booked. Really nice place, very thick stone walls to keep us warm on the cold nights and solar panel showers for hot water, a rarity here in Bolivia.

    We headed out to the stoney beach to watch the sunset in the distance whilst listening to the tiny waves lapping on the shore. The sun fell just behind the mountain tops that we could just make out at the opposite side of the huge lake. The few whispy clouds in the sky made it look even better and the red of the sun just before it disappeared was so intense. A lovely way to spend the afternoon!

    After this we we headed to the town for some food. The Belgium man running the lodge recommended a place to eat, it didn't sound overwhelming and he said it had a ManU sign outside so we didn't have high hopes, but we have been told to be careful food wise in Bolivia so figured hopefully it would be safe eating.
    It looked like a nice place, once we finally found it! We had walked up a large hill and then realised it was at the bottom just out of sight 🙁 not so bad normally, but when walking up a few stairs has you panting due to the altitude it was a pain.

    We ordered pizza and pasta and then we waited, and waited, and waited and waited. Seemed like forever...definitely shouldn't take 45 mins to make pasta and pizza right?
    It finally came out, well the pizza did, Rob waited even longer for his pasta and we tucked in. Safe to say the bus guide was correct when he apologised for the poor food we would get in Bolivia. I honestly don't know how you get pizza wrong, but they did...badly!
    It was so crunchy it turned to dust when you cut it, there was no sauce and way too much garlic it actually hurt your mouth. Richards had chorizo type meat on it that had been cooked so much it was like rubber. So tough and chewy and not even nice tasting.
    Luckily Robs pasta wasn't terrible and he kindly shared a bit with me. We wished we knew how to complain in Spanish, but we didn't. Also the service was so slow it would have probably meant staying there another hour as a result. Never mind, it was fairly cheap at least.

    The walk back was much nicer. Rich went to get some chocolaty treats and we spent the walk back along the beach staring at the sky which was filled with stars, the milkyway stretched right across above the while lake. Absolutely stunning!
    We got back and the boys got their cameras out. The pictures of the milkyway they got are incredible, will share then when we can but it was well worth standing out in the cold for. Also I saw shooting star! Woop! 🌟

    We headed back to the lodge and found that we had been locked out... Woops. The gates were padlocked. We were a bit puzzled as we had told the guy we were going to take photos so didn't understand why we had been locked out. It also wasn't carry late either. Rob and Rich started to look and see if there was anyway to climb over the walls or find a secret entrance somewhere. Whilst they wandered off to see what they could achieve I had a little look on the gate posts and found the bell. Sure enough I buzzed the bell and the guy came to unlock the gate apologetically. He thought he had seen our lights on and that we were back already. Rich and Rob were a little dismayed they didn't get back in mission impossible style 😋

    We walked back up the few but very tiring steps and were happy to find the room toasty and warm!
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  • Condominio "Barcelo" - a gated community for rich people in the north of Santa Cruz de la Sierra. And my homeland for nearby one year at the house of my guest family. Football, basketball and volleyball places just for them, all for free, a disco, swimming pool and a gym for free and much more. All placed close to a beautiful lagoon. A double-edged feeling, if you see all the poverty outside of this area..Read more

  • Not that easy to find, but if you have a possibility to visit it, you have to! I've been there together with some crazy bolivian and german friends. A machete for the jungle, ariverbed with quicksand we had to follow, and giant spiders in their giant nets. A real adventure you only will have once!

  • Today was the first day of our Perla de Bolivia three day tour. Rich woke up with a normal heart rate and no hives which was good! An early start though, taxi at six to get to the airport for our short flight to Uyuni. The taxi ride took us right to the top of La Paz and through El Alto at around 4150m, the second biggest Bolivian city whose name means The Heights. It is the highest major metropolis in the world.

    It was a gorgeous early morning view and from the road on the mountains that surround La Paz you could see the clouds covering half of the city below. Not a view you get to see everyday. They looked like they were going to just swallow the city up. We got to the airport with plenty of time and chilled out with some food and a cuppa. Waffles and croissants with some nice warm drinks. I think somewhere our Spanish was not so great though as I ended up with three different drinks, juice, tea and coffee 🤔 it also made me laugh that there was an out of order elevator by the toilets that was just open for anyone to fall into, except for the small amount of Death tape over it... Not sure that would pass as acceptable in the UK lol.

    Security was scarce, me and Rich actually realised we had got through several checks with each others tickets, so not sure what they were checking 😑 we then tried to board at the wrong time and were sent back to our seats to await the call for our plane. We were convinced that we would be leaving late, as has become the norm, considering the flight boarding before ours was due to leave just 10 mins before us. After about 10 mins though Rob heard our names over the tanoy and it turns out they had been boarding our flight without updating the boards 🤔 glad we didn't know this before as Rob would have had a serious stress on had we known, instead he felt like a daredevil for being so late as to need our names calling out lol.
    The flight actually left 3 mins early 😲😵😱 what a shock! The views were amazing, looking down at the city amongst the mountains and the plateau we were over that seemed to just drop and disappear into the abyss of the city below. Such a unique place.
    We had a moody looking hostess who was crazy tall for a Bolivian, at least 6 foot, and she walked up an down with her arms folded and her head and nose held high with a disapproving glare. Wouldn't have wanted to get on her bad side that's for sure. It was a short flight at least and we were soon landing in Uyuni. This place was vast and we could barely spot any civilisation from the plane, just sandy desert to the left and bright white salt flats to the right. The landing was a little rocky, as it was a fairly empty flight a lot of the seats were rocking about on landing which made a lovely and not at all concerning rickety noise lol 😁 It is also really noticeable how planes at this height take a lot longer to both get off the ground and to stop on landing due to the reduced air pressure, it seemed to take an age to slow down! All in all another pretty good flight though and far less panicky for me than being on a bus for hours.

    The airport has to be the smallest we have ever seen and our bags were just loaded straight from the plane and dropped off at the door through which we had entered. We found a taxi outside and off we went to the town centre. Such a small but quaint little town. We headed to find the tour company on the instructions of a local. They weren't quite right but we found it in the end and were received after the chaos of yesterday to finally be there.
    Here we met the rest of our group for the next three days, Marion from Quebec, Canada and Micheal and Anna from Ireland and England. A nice bunch and we were already getting new advice from Anna and Micheal as to how to travel New Zealand... Turns out we might be buying a campervan now!

    We waited a while and stocked up on a few supplies before meeting our guide Pablo and driver Edgar (or Chino if you want to call him by Pablos nickname - because he looks Chinese). We loaded up our Jeep, bug bags and supplies on top, and then squeezed in with our day bags shoved into any gaps we could find. It was pretty cosy! With the front seat Dj in charge of the tunes we were ready to roll!
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  • First stop on our tour was only a host drive from Uyuni in the desert. Here we came across a Cemetery of old coal powered trains that had been abandoned here when more modern trains took over in the mid 1900's. The railway is still use about once a day, however in its day this was a busy line used to carry mining products to the coast for shipping. This was back when Bolivia owned the coastline and the trains. It was built in the late 1800's and the trains brought from England and the US which is a pretty awesome feat. Now they serve as a reminder if the once busy line and act as a giant playground for adults.
    The rusting colours of the old skeletal trains contrasted so well with the yellow desert sand and the marks of graffiti that adorned them. It was a great photo opportunity with so many different shapes and patterns to be found amongst the wreckages. It was also a great playground and we had a lot of fun clambouring over the trains and leaping between the carriage roofs like we were in a bond movie. Turns out tetanus shots do come in handy ey! It was really good fun and I reckon we could definitely have stayed there longer had we had the time.
    Even the railway looked awesome, stretching away in a straight line into the distance as far as the eye could see...not seen anything like it before now and you really got the sense of just how vast this desert is!

    After this we headed to a town called Colchani which is where all the mined salt is dried and packaged. We went and saw one small workshop but there are many of them in the town, each run by a family. They each have a right to mine a section of the the salt flat and they bring it to their workshops made of salt blocks to be driee in the sun, then a long open oven heated from below before being crushed and then sealed by hand into packets ready to sell. It is not a complicated process and we felt a little ripped off to have a tip a guy for literally melting a bit of plastic to seal a packet (our guide did all the explaining) but I suppose at the same time they do not make a lot of money selling salt and this will go a long way for them.

    We wandered around the market stalls here for around 10 mins. We have already bought souvenirs so just enjoyed taking in the colour of the markets again... I absolutely love all the colourful fabrics they make here 😄 such a contrast to the UK!

    After this we headed to the salt flats where there was some water and a chance to hopefully get some reflection pictures!
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  • You have to realize there was a city with more than one billion people, which was completely flooded! The house of my family has been on a small hill, so it wasn't that bad there. But just imagine how hard it was at the rest of the city. Or watch these fotos.