Between Peru and Bolivia, we visited one after the other unique and majestic geological formations. In challenging weather conditions and some lack of comfort we visited a lot of them. Here I present the most impressive to us.
To start with Peru, we saw the sacred mountain Vinicunca nicknamed “Rainbow mountain”. The colors are formed by the sedimentary mineral layers in the mountain that have been exposed to erosion. It was an ascent at 5200 meters above sea level in the midst of a crowd of tourists. We could feel the lack of oxygen but the view is really worth it.
After Peru, we continued our journey to Bolivia. 10 km from the city of La Paz, we visited the Valley of the moon that was called this way by Neil Armstrong according to local stories. This strange landscape is due to the composition of the soil, formed of clay and sandstone. The strong rains and the wind shaped this surreal landscape.
But the most impressive geological formations awaited us in the south of the country. It was also where we found the most difficult travel conditions. The lack of heating in the homes despite negative temperatures at night forced us to sleep dressed. Despite this, we went on a three-day tour into the Salar of Uyuni and the national reserve Eduardo Avaroa. The Salar of Uyuni is the largest salt desert in the world and contains one-third of the world’s exploitable lithium reserves. This formation is due to the disappearance of the prehistoric lake Tauca 14000 years ago.
Between this desert and the reserve where we could see many lagoons with unusual colors, the landscapes seemed unreal. It was like being immersed in a work of Salvador Dali. But I believe that Dali did not want us in his work because, in addition to the cold, a strong wind made the journey even more complicated.
Our driver/guide made a tandem with the painter to send us back home. He showed a disturbing silence throughout the journey. During that day he consumed enough coca leaves to feed a cow. Luckily despite his exclusive diet, he drove us more or less safe from one place to the other and we had to deplore only a broken rear windscreen.
The excursion ended at “sol de la mañana” a desert zone with strong geothermal activity. The intense volcanic activity is visible here in the form of fumaroles and pool of bubbling mud.
We finally obeyed Dali’s injunctions as well as those from our vegetarian driver, and we returned to more comfortable lands.