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Forests and men: Ecstasy at the Uyuni salt flats


Bolivia, its Andean peaks which point irremediably towards the sky… and its irremediably flat Uyuni Salar! Story of an encounter with this unique place on the occasion of a New Year's Eve like no other.

Impossible to miss the unmissable Uyuni Salar. What's more, on a motorbike. The feeling of freedom instantly imposes itself on you.

Imagine a beautifully white surface 100 km in diameter, dotted with cacti, surrounded by countless distant peaks, and crowned with a perfectly blue sky. That's it, that's the first thing I saw when I opened my eyes after a night that was a little too short. It's 5:30 in the morning. I try to wake up my friends to share with them this unique moment: premier failure of the year!

But nothing to do, it's much too beautiful. The sun is not yet up but it casts a beautiful reddish color on the salt flats. The wind died down. Nothing moves. As if time had stopped. I'm all shivering and upset! There are certain moments that can make you happy for an eternity.

 

The Uyuni Salar

The Uyuni Salar at daybreak, January premier

 

Captivated by the spectacle offered by the Uyuni salt flats

That morning, I experienced it with tears in my eyes and a smile from ear to ear. I admired the landscape all around me non-stop. Three hundred and sixty degrees of pure white ground, ready to reflect the sun's rays. Impossible to get tired of!

Then, one by one, my friends woke up: with a little persistence, I finally got them to open their eyes.

It's time to get out the camera and camera. Then Wout prepared the fireworks on his motorbike. The ones we hadn't lit the day before. It didn't do much.

 

 

We had to eat a little, drink some water, dismantle the camp and put everything away on the motorbike. The sun was already beating down strong by the time we finally left. Twenty kilometers to bring back our two friends backpackers on our passenger seats. Then a hundred to reach the town of Uyuni.

 

By motorbike on the Salar de Uyuni

Doing the zouave on the Uyuni Salar is priceless!

 

Quickly, wash the bike!

Magical moments are all well and good, but you also have to know how to come back to earth.

After the blessing of the landscape, the curse of salt. As beautiful as it is, it is much worse than sand for mechanics. It sticks everywhere and attacks scrap metal so quickly that my beautiful KLE had rusted in less than 24 hours. As a precaution, I preferred to rinse it twice to be sure that everything is gone!

We found a hostel quite late. We hadn't really eaten since the day before. Completely slammed!

A sleep and we leave. Not much to do in this dusty and expensive tourist den... We then decide to take the road to Tupiza, a town a little further south. Normally, we should turn off along the small paths after around fifty kilometers of asphalt. But, as is often the case in Bolivia, we will find a road under construction.

The tracks along roads under construction are often the most brittle and annoying. Fortunately the short shortcut we decided to take is not busy. It crosses the pampas then gradually gives way to a few hills which end up transforming into mountains. At the bend of each hill, the landscape changes. I would believe myself returned to Mongolia. That's wonderful.

 

Bolivian hill landscape

At the bend of each hill, the landscape changes

 

In the footsteps of the Dakar

A few hours later, we arrive in a small mining village. Impossible to find the sign of the restaurant that people point us to. Two children will save us by pointing at what appears to be the local workers' canteen!

After a few sips of a wonderful soup, the waitress asks us if we are from the Dakar! " What ? Yes Yes of course ! No I'm kidding ! » It turns out that the drivers of the famous rally pass by there every year. Phew. It immediately made us smile. And that also explains the origin of these traces which sometimes cross the main track….

Come on, let's get back in the saddle! The more we advance, the more sublime it becomes. We even drove in a river bed. Then, at the end, the track takes the form of a long and beautiful descent filled with multiple curves which were waiting for us. That alone was great! And I’ll spare you the crazy view… It felt like Utah, with a little touch of the Grand Canyon.

Then, just afterwards, bright red peaks appear in front of us. At one point, I even recognized a section of the Dakar that I had seen on TV.

 

The Dakar in KLE

I imagined myself in the middle of a race. It would be crazy, no, a Dakar in KLE?!

 

A childhood dream

The turns that follow climb well. The path is no wider than a truck. I imagined myself in the middle of a race. It would be crazy, no, a Dakar in KLE?!

Happiness is made of little things. It can beckon you when you pass through exceptional places for you like the Uyuni Salar was for me. Other times, childhood dreams give a special color to the landscape around you. These few moments shared with you will undoubtedly remain as some of the most beautiful of the trip. I hope you all experience that one day!

 

The Uyuni Salar

Imagine a magnificently white surface 100 km in diameter, dotted with cacti, surrounded by countless distant peaks... The Uyuni Salar!

 

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The Viking adventurer

Sometimes a web designer, sometimes an adventurer, I like to communicate, teach, learn, undertake, discover. It is this multiplicity that animates me when I travel, work, photograph, write, eat or drink. I believe in chance and I want to give it as much chance as possible, for better or for worse!

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