Cycling the Paso de Jama and Salar Uyuni

Translated by PROMT-Online-Translator

Country: Argentina, Chile and Bolivia Tour: Paso de Jama to Salar Uyuni
Start: Jujui (Argentina) End: Oruru (Bolivia)
Route: Jujui (Argentinien), Purmamarca (Argentina), Paso de Jama (Argentina), San Pedro de Atacama (Chile), Calama (Chile), Ollague (Chile), Salar Uyuni (Bolivia), Oruru (Bolivia)
Distance:   Time:  
Support: f-sufficiency, tent Climbing in meters:  

Big distances without water, very strong west winds, high altitude (up to 4800m), cold nights (to-18Grad)

Rating: Supernice high mountain deserts! One of our favorite areas in South America.
Route Argentinien: Salta, San Antoniode los Cobres, Cafayate, Quebrada de las Conchas
Salta: Salta lies on a altitude of 1200 m and is a source place for the Argentine Altiplano (high mountain deserts). Salta should be the nicest town of Argentina according to guide, and we can only underline this. For us it is the town nicest up to now of South America. Beside many marvellous old buildings and churches in particular the quiet and comfortable atmosphere and the nice inhabitants of the city likes us. Nevertheless, unfortunately, we deal really a lot before we high on the Altiplano to Chile and Bolivia cycle (new rim and pedals for Nadines wheel, both Isomatten mend, map for Bolivia dealt with, compass and hot-water bottles shop, photos make, bulky Cd's burn...) and thus we cannot enjoy the town, unfortunately, so extensively. The mechanic of the Nadines back wheel anew einspeicht is really nice and works even half a siesta by around it directly on being able to make from what his woman is inspired, however, less. Before nothing but work and excitement Martin leaves one more of our memory maps in the Internet cafe, however, as us a few days later again come she holds out to us the owner quite beaming with delight.
Hostel "Los Cardones": By chance we have landed in Salta in the really nice Hostel "Los Cardones" which is led by the Argentine German married couple Belen and Achim. Since the having here hotel in Cairo we have felt in no other Hostel we here. Actually, Salta should be only one short Durchgansstation, however, the both make us so curiously on the Gegegend, so that we remain a little longer and make a few excursions to the area. For our second night accommodate to us Achim and Belen then even in the luxurious double room with own bath and for the bargain price of the multi-bed room without bath.,
San Antonio de los Cobres: The valley of Salta to San Antonio de loose Cobres should be especially nice according to Achim. Because San Antonio on a height of 3800 m lies we decide to make a small Aklimatisierungstour. Thus we go about a 4080-m-high pass by the coach to San Antonio where we arrive against 21:00h at floor-dark night. We drive a few metres from the place out and build up our tent behind truck scales at the stormy night. We want to try out whether we are prepared with our sleeping-bags for the cold night temperatures on the Altiplano suitably, Nevertheless to play it safe we have got another two hot-water bottles now we initiate. Though we have night frost, because the water in our water bottles is frozen, however, thus coldly as expected it is not, so that to us with the hot-water bottles becomes quite hot.
Dreamlike descent I: From San Antonio de loose Cobres it goes about the 4080-m-high pass 168 km back to Salta. Nevertheless, to me the height is a little bit too much and thus the height illness with light headaches and some feeling of sickness becomes apparent with me. When we of the pass set off, however, again it is better with rather fast again.
Dreamlike descent II: Achim was right and thus we cycle by a breathtaking mountain world. In the beginning though we still deal with a dusty runway, however, then later we receive asphalt.
Cacti: Gigantic cacti line here and there the long departure.
Waterfall: Because it up here nearly every night strong frost gives it is no miracle that also the waterfalls are frozen.
Dreamlike descent III: Ohne Worte
Dreamlike descent III: Without words
Quebrada de las Conchas:Another highlight of the area is the Quebrada de read Conchas, a gulch from Cafayate to Salta leads. Nadine has on the Internet site of Peter, to a pilgrim's eagle we have hit on Tierra del Fuego whose photo by the gulch seen and is so inspired that she also wants to see them. Quite atypical for ourselves we make a small excursion by the coach again. The coach driver has been surprised a little bit when we him ask ourselves, nevertheless, 10 km before Cafayate to stop. He means it, nevertheless, would be quite dark and cold, however, there we explain to him that, besides, we have not only our wheels but also a tent equipment, he is calmed. The journey by the Quebrada de read Conchas the next day then is the absolute dream. For it that it should go, actually, downhill though it is quite hilly and a taut headwind allows to become it though no comfortable Radeltag, nevertheless, regional the distance is really unique.
Nadine: Nadine before marvellous red rock.
Quebrada de las Conchas II: Without words
Quebrada de las Conchas III: The multi colour rocks are still much more impressive in reality than on the photo!
El Sapo: "The toad"!
Short Downhill: Martin on a short excursion to the mountains.
Camp site: For the conclusion of the day we find a marvellous camp site on a nanny goat path. The next morning in particular the view is absolutely marvellous. Because there no suitably high stone is around to hang up the photo we construct a tripod from a Wanderstecken (the Wanderstecken ordinarily serve us as a bicycle stand).
Again at home? The last place of the Quebrada de read Conchas is Alemania. However, to recognise easily how on the photo is we have turned towards the native country still the back, even if we are in principle again on the way home. :-)
Route Argentina: Salta, Jujui, Pumarmarca, Salinas Grandes, Susques, Paso de Jama
Ascent: From Salta it goes about a small pass further to Jujui. From the pass it goes easily down by marvellous woods on winding line on a very narrow street which may be used neither by Lkws nor by coaches. The marvellous street with her countless blind curves is for cyclists and motorcyclists a true dream.
El Exodo Jujeño: In August, 1812 ordered general Belgrano (who wears general in Rosario for the first time the Argentine flag hoisted) to evacuate the city of Jujui before the progressing Spanish troops and to destroy. To this unusual victim during the Argentine independence war is thought yearly 24th of August with big festivities and Gauchoparaden. We come suitably to the big Gauchoparade to Jujui and can be present thus at the impressive play with which laxly during 2 hours a Gauchotruppe rides after the others. All horses and in particular the riders are dressed up on the finest one and reflect absolutely only in some cases the actual prosperity again. Thus ride in the rejoicing amount of "big landowners" with children, "small farmer" or "Peon" (Agricultural labourers or farm-hand) past. Beside us a Gaucho which waves with a little bit sad view to his patron stands just with his children vorbeireitet. Although the horses are turned up partly completely what may lie absolutely also with the wild waffenscheinpflchtigen spores which the riders carry today, they all control rider completely. One sees quite clear that the horse is here no "sports machine", but is required for the everyday work.
Spores for the younger generation: Apparently the horse of the son was not as well-behaved completely as it should be and thus Sohnemann gets without further ado the spores of the father missed.
On the way home: While the "big landowners" load her riding animals after the parade onto trucks and go again home, we hit on our way to the north over and over again the "small farmers" who ride now again home.
Pumamarca I: 65 km to the north of Jujui there lies the small place Pumamarca which is famous for his 7-coloured rock. The paints of the rock look almost quite in a kitschy way nice in the morning sun and anyhow unsubstantially.
Pumamarca II: After we have made like all the others also from the view hill from a photo and had made, besides, the acquaintance of a school class from tablespoon Carmen we let ourselves on a Mäuerchen in Purmamarca down to have breakfast first of all comfortably in the face of the coloured rock. After a short chat with the villagers on the marketplace woollen things sell and an Argentine here his winter vacation spends we come along on the way in the mountains.
Cuestan de Lipan: From Purmamarca it goes about the serpentine roads with the name Cuestan de Lipan about the 4170-m-high Abra de Portrerillos high on the Altiplano, the big "plateau" (is not really level) in Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru. To acclimatise us we give time ourselves for the rise two days, although we could have cycled to tell the truth also not faster, because we have about 16 litres of water including (there is on the next 400 km because only one place and a small rivlet). Our destination is San Pedro of the Atacama in Chile on the other side of the Andes which we want to cross about the 4200-m-high Paso de Jama.
Sandstorm:On top we are pleased about the pass arrived already on the departure coming now, however, thanks to tough headwind the joy is clouded a little bit. Then, nevertheless, the departure becomes unsightly when the taut headwind develops to the sandy storm. Though we are only on the edge of the sandy storm and the sand to us around the ears flies still keeps to a certain extent, however, the wind is so strong meanwhile that we are not able to cycle downhill partially any more separate must push! Exactly at this moment a spoke in the back wheel breaks with Nadine. Little successful we try to find behind a small sandy hill protection to trade the spoke. Because we have luckily no experience, nevertheless, with broken spokes (it is the second spoke break in more than 56,000 km) we need of course quite long to us the new spoke, finally, in it have. The valley lying before us that we could still see good from the pass has disappeared meanwhile in a gigantic sandy cloud, so that we reach for seeing that it will probably be the best as quickly as possible on a more or less protected place our tent to be based. After we have examined some street passages and have not considered, however, good we whip our tent, finally, after just 28 km, behind a sort of coach small house. With pleasure we would have gone in to the small house, however, unfortunately, this was already abused as a toilet. Almost the whole night there raves the storm, however, the next morning we have again the nicest weather and only one light pinch, to us on the departure to the Salinas Grandes entgegenweht.
Salinas Grandes I: The Salinas Grandes are a gigantic dry salt lake on a height of 3400 m. So far the eye passes only brilliant white who is so garish that we carry for a long time once again sunglasses and put cream on thickly with sun lotion to protect ourselves from the strong UV-Strahlug. An anyhow unreal scenery. Here, actually, we wanted to whip on the Salinas our tent, however, yesterday because of the sandy storm we have not reached them, and, nevertheless, today because of scanty stores of water we still have to go some kilometres farther.
Salinas Grandes II: Although the Salinas Grandes like a gigantic, absolutely level surface work, nevertheless, the salt crust has formed nothing but hexagonal fields.
Llamas (Arg.): Here the first Llamas we get to see at close range. Llamas are the domesticated form of the llamas. We have already more often seen the wild Guanakos and Vicuñas though, nevertheless, they mostly remain on flight distance.
Susques (Arg.): Susques is, actually, a small small town on the Altiplano that, nevertheless, is rather active, because here the Argentine customs have established itself (120 km before the real border remotely).Für to us Susques the last possibility to us is to be covered before San Pedro de Atacama with food there should be (water also directly on the border), and thus we storm the small Supermercados. Nevertheless, in the middle of the whole customs bustle a wonderful small church which was built already in 1598 hides in Susques. From the inside affectionately are painted to us in the special one the built with mortar seat possibilities along the Längsseiten of the church struck. Not to damage the nice paintings, nevertheless, one may take photos inside to use no flash, and to take photos without flash, nevertheless, it is too dark.
Night frost in the southern tropics: We have crossed just the southern tropic and are therefore officially in the tropics. However, from palms, beach and sunshine far and wide no track. Instead, we receive our first one really strict night frost. Shortly before sunrise have-11°C in the tent and-18°C before the tent. In the inside tent we have a kleinwenig hoarfrost of our frozen breath air. Not to freeze by the icy heights both have laid in addition to our warm sleeping-bags still a thin summer sleeping-bag virtually as a kind of cover about us and have connected with a zipper with the Isomatten. The system functions so very well that to us both becomes too hot at night and we even start to stimulate the sleeping-bags. Actually, we have another 2 hot-water bottles including, however if it does not become much colder we have purchased them probably free of charge.
Great plateaus: The plateaus up here in Argentina are wonderful, in particular if the surfaces exist of ice and salt.
Vicuñas (Arg.): Vicuñas on a salt lake. Vicuñas live on the Altiplano by heights more than 4000 m. The fine golden wool of the Vicuñas was the exclusive property the Inca kings, and thus the elegant animals were the Spaniard by the Incas strictly protected with the arrival were reduced the population of the animals, nevertheless, from about 2 millions on presumably gerademal 10000, so that they were threatened almost before the extinction. However, by protective programmes the inventories have recovered meanwhile again something.
Paso der Jama (Arg. und Chile): In the Spanish the word paso is used not only for passes but also for border crossings. Thus it comes that we several height specifications for the Paso de Jama have: for the Argentine frontier station, for the real border and for the highest elevation with the pass. Here at last we have to go more than 4400 m over here. Now, actually, we are pleased about a nice 157-km-long departure to San Pedro de Atacama, however, in the frontier station we have discovered a tip, that lets suppose it not yet that will become completely so easy.
Route Chile: Paso de Jama, San Pedro de Atacama
The wind, the wind, the heavenly child (Chile): Who believes that the big height, the big distances were our main problems without water and places or even the strict night frost, unfortunately, that has been mistaken. We deal it up here because with a taut headwind. And with tightly I mean really tightly. To us he comes at least as badly before us the wind in Patagonia. The wind is so strong that we must come out in the level hardly more than 6 km/h and thrash about partly violently on the departures to reach 8 - 10 km/h. Although the street is asphalted we are mostly glad if we in the evening 45 km have cycled. There comes that it is very warm with from 6°C to 8°C not exactly (has to go according to guide 20°C) and by the Windchilleffekt it looks damn cold. We go with thick things, winter gloves, cap and Buff over the mouth (so that wind and the sun to us do not break the lips totally). Without wind we could enjoy the marvellous scenery even more, however, thus one mostly says: Head under it and purely in the storm.
Short lift (Chile): It goes uphill and the headwind robs us of our last forces once again. After 20 km we have made completely exhausted already the first break. Since the break we have created just 5 km and are to be pushed just, besides, uphill, because we do not arrive against the strong wind any more. About 500 m before us it looks in such a way, as if the street makes a strong crease on the left and then we would receive, finally, at least wind from at an angle behind. We often enough had this hope, however, mostly the wind has turned with our direction of the traffic also his direction, so that we seriously do not expect an amendment also this time . We are to be dreamt in thoughts just, besides, at least of calm as unexpected a pickup truck beside ourselves a little piece stops and asks whether he us can pick up. Made easier we accept and load our bikes, only to find out later 500 m that we had received now really tail wind!!! Now in total we let ourselves pick up 5 km to high on a pass where we the a little bit taken aback Chileans ask ourselves again to stop; because we on the loading area sit we simply knock on the roof. Three nice Chileans can hardly understand that we do not want to be puck up with the storm to San Pedro de Atacama.
Wonderful mountain world (Chile): We like the Andes up here in Chile with her many volcanoes, salt lake, lagoons, moor-like sceneries, Vicuñas and flamingos incredibly well. If we did not have scarcely limited waters and stocks of food we would stay here absolutely a little bit longer.
Frozen! (Chile): Once again we have one night with strict frost (absolutely-18°C) and when we in the morning already before sunrise wake we have a thick ripe shift everywhere in the inside tent. As soon as one of us the tent walls catches touched in in the tent to be snowing and one is full all over with white frost. Some white frost has already trickled on our Überschlafsack and has melted partially and has frozen partially then again. Now good council is expensive. If we wait to the sun comes out and the white frost melts it catches in in the tent to rain and everything is soaking wet. So I jump in laxly still-18°C in the sleeping suit shortly before sunrise out of the tent and spread out our whole equipment on the wall which is, fortunately, directly behind us. Thus we strip little piece-wise of the complete tent and spread out everything to the dry one. As the tent blank is Nadine brushes the whole white frost on the ground and turns him afterwards out. Until we, finally, everything repacked dryly, and had breakfast have though it lasts a little longer than commonly, however, 10:30 o'clock we are again on the street, today, nevertheless, it should go about the last and highest pass.
passes, passes, passes (Chile): Because the route is named over the Andes as a Paso de Jama, we have assumed, actually, from the fact that this pass stated with 4200 m is the highest one of the whole distance. However, already in Argentina we might master another of 3 wide passes, in each case more than 4000 m. Then in Chile it became wilder one more number, because there it goes immediately twice more than 4800 m and once more than 4700 m!
Long descent Chile): Then, however, on the last 50 km it goes from 4800 m in a gigantic long departure under it up to 2436 m. On the way we stop sometimes, so that our rims can cool off again, because we breake them quite hot. Nevertheless, in principle we want to arrive only the next morning in San Pedro de Atacama and thus we whip in the middle on the departure over again our tent and enjoy the marvellous view of the volcano Licancabur lying behind us (5916m) and the Atacama lying among us desert.
San Pedro de Atacama (Chile): San Pedro de Atacama, once an idyllic oasis, has moulted meanwhile to the tourist stronghold in the north of Chile. When we in the place walk in we are inspired by the quiet comfortable village with his picturesque marketplace and the nice church and can hardly understand why it should be so tourist here. Nevertheless, this changes all of a sudden when in the afternoon all tourists return from her tours of the surrounding places of interest in the Atacama desert. Suddenly there rules everywhere an active activity and we withdraw into our Hostel where we meet on very nice tourists from London, California, Sydney and Santiago de Chile and half a night in blether are.
Valle de la Luna (Chile): Eine der One of the main tourist attractions of San Pedro de Atacama is the so-called Valle de la Luna, the valley of the moon. The Valle de la Luna owes his name to the wind and the rain which have created here an amusing lunar landscape. The Valle de la Luna at sundown is especially impressive, however, to explore it in complete silence one needs absolutely some hours.

Route Chile: Calama, Ollagüe

Valle de la Muerte (Chile): The "valley of the death" directly before the gates of San Pedro de Atacama.
Easily downhill to Calama (Chile): From San Pedro we further want in 100 km lain cal ama. Because the Touristeninfoirmation is concluded the last both days we enquire in the travel agency, the tours to the surrounding places of interest organised after the street." It goes constantly only downhill" we agree as an answer to the question whether the distance would be very mountainous. From the answer completely persuaded I do not stick over again after while I to the young man explains that on the map lying before him, however, some height lines were marked what would probably point to mountains. Now he asks his colleague over again, and together they assure us that it went though at the beginning small a little uphill, however, then constantly downhill. This would be evident, because cal ama would lie 200 metre height deeper. We remain sceptical and fill in for safety's sake rather all our water bottles, because we are, at least, in the Atacama desert. Then directly behind San Pedro it goes already immediately uphill and 200 metres height we could master one well and with pleasure as the "small increase" evaluate. Nevertheless, unfortunately it goes on the other side directly again down in the valley only around then really high of going to the mountains. For the "small increase following now" we need the rest of the day, and at sundown we find ourselves after 40 cycled kilometres and 1150 m of increase on a pass situated on about 3300 m. But then the next day it goes really only downhill to cal ama.
Calama (Chile): Calama is a modern town as a service centre for the surrounding mines serves. Apparently live and work here also a lot of foreigners, because the Shoppingmall (2-storied with cinema) is the most modern one we up to now in South America have seen and what resembles rather Nadine with her sister in the USA has seen. Although we here only the afternoon spend around post to send, to exchange money and food for them go on to Bolivia to make purchases the clean town likes us very well. In particular many outgoing, helpful and hearty inhabitants of cal ama will still remain to us long in recollection
Copper mine (Chile): Before the gates of cal ama lies Chuquicamata, the biggest open copper mine of the world. The gigantic pit is 4 km long, 2 km wide and 730 m deep (2005). Suitably to these gigantic dimensions the 3.5-m-high wheels of the Lkws are the 310-t-piles transport. 8000 workers produces so yearly 600000 t of copper. The mine is the world-biggest supplier of copper and gained in 2003 17% of the whole Chilean Exporteinkomens! The copper mine is there where one the cloud of smoke can recognise.
Atacama desert (Chile): The Atacama desert is one of the driest places of the world and at some places rain was never still registered. On the way from cal ama we meet all at once quite many travellers who are in the middle on the way in the desert to a Christian festival to honour of the virgin of Ayquina.
Volcano scenery (Chile): By the Atacamawüste and past wonderful volcanoes the beginning still screws to themselves tarred street of Clama further high in the Andes to Bolivia.
Railway line to Bolivia (Chile): The distance to Bolivia runs more or less in parallel with a railway line Chile and Bolivia connects. The railway line has built Chile as a reparation on Bolivia for in the Pazifikrieg in 19. Jhr to taken areas in the Atacamawüste. At that time thus Bolivia has lost not only his access to the Pacific, but also all mines which justify today the wealth of Chile.
Salar de Ascotan (Chile): After we wanted to have reached the highest point on the way to Bolivia we with the gendarmerie again our stores of water with only 3966 m fill in. Because the drinking water should be here, nevertheless, an arsenic-contaminated we get as a gift from the nice gendarmes 2 bottles of mineral water. Now it goes down on the big Salar de Ascotan on which still some salts (according to Jorge Borax) are diminished. We ralden partially in the middle, or by the Salar, however, thus long we, nevertheless, exactly do not know it to ourselves by around what the stuff acts we try to avoid every direct contact. Nice is to be looked of the Salar, however, always.
More Vicuñas (Chile): Now up here on the Salares we see, actually, constantly Vicuñas which prosper to itself apparently from the scanty plants (presumably mosses and lichens) here on the salt lakes nourish. Mostly the Vicuñas have no fear of us and observe only curiously the funny people with so strange things (bicycles) move. The people ordinarily have, nevertheless, jeeps, coaches or Lkws!
Jorge (Chile): Up here immediately twice we meet Jorge who works for the railway company and is on the move up here with his pickup truck. Though one has offered quite other places to him, however , he likes the wonderful area with her many Vicuñas and flamingos up here so well that he wants here not away. When we him erstemal hit he spends to us a round coke and supplies us with a lot of helpful distance information. The next day we meet him again to a small chat and this time he immediately hands to us a whole coke bottle, while he reports to us completely enthusiastically that he has seen just a fox.
Ollagüe (Chile): Our last place in Chile is called Ollagüe and is the small border place and railway station up here in the middle of the scanty high mountain desert on 3690 m. Here the people are incredibly kind, friendly and in a good mood and thus we spend with joy our last Chilean peso before we further to Bolivia cycle.
Route Bolivia: San Juan, Concha K, Salar Uyuni, Tambo Tambillo, Quillacas, Challapata, Oruro
Welcome to Bolivia: Nevertheless, immediately with the entry formalities the first disillusionment, the border official requires all at once 15 Bolivianos (about 1.50€) of us for the entry stamp. Ordinarily one must pay the money, nevertheless, only with the crossing the border, however, with foreign tourists one can make quietly sometimes an exception. Because we had not succeeded in Chile, nevertheless Bolivianos (BS) in acquiring to a more or less satisfactory exchange rate (the Chileans have offered the exchange to 30% under exchange rate value to us!!!) we have of course no 15 BS per nose. Then, nevertheless, alternatively the border official accepts also "generous-wise" US $, however, now we must pay per nose 3 US $ (instead of ordinarily 2 US $). Long live the corruption!!!!
Where to now? According to guide an unmade street should lead in Bolivia further to the Salar de Uyuni, however, the streets here makes on us an excellent impression. There are not other streets here according to map. Nevertheless, something are irritated we, because the street follows not like according to map of the railway line, but a little bit more direction the south goes. For safety's sake we ask over again with the customs whether this is the right street. Yes, one says, the street goes to Uyuni. We follow the really good grit runway, however, instead of the expected direction change to the east it goes constantly further after southwest. After about 15 km we urge an oncoming pickup truck to ask over again for the course of the street. Now both very nice Bolivians explain to us that this one new street is though also to the city of Uyuni would lead, however, would make a small curve and would not lead direction Salar de Uyuni. If we to the Salar wanted then we would have to cycle a little bit back and then above a small way in the direction of north cycle around sometime again on the old way which follows the railway to hit. The small way is extremely sandy, and thus we cycle and push still 5 km before we already in get dark our tent hit. On the only sign we see the inscription has already flaked off up to the unrecognizability and therefore no real help. The next morning then we cycle down in the level, however, now the way forks. On the right, the east and, actually, our direction, nevertheless, the way leads after 1 kilometre in an old mine, so that we choose the left way (to the west) which seems to lead, nevertheless, again back to the border. A way to the north in the direction of railway line would be favourite to us, however, unfortunately, there is not him. We follow the way to the west for a while and even as we by a small crisis meeting in decide are whether we should take, nevertheless, the way by the mine or should go directly about the Salar to the north, we see in the northern horizon (there where we want to go) the cloud of dust of a jeep. Tensely we follow the jeep over and over again behind hills disappears, with our eyes and after about 15 minutes he goes not far past from us and disappears after the south. OK. there goes the way long. We follow the rigid lane, still meet some other tourist jeeps, and, finally, after some kilometres we reach the railway line. How are back on the right way!!! However, of it that the lane (Away or even street would be an exaggeration) in parallel with the railway runs the speech cannot be. We see time to be the railway route just still thus in the horizon only around shortly after again directly beside her. With a military camp the lanes lead all at once about the Salar de Chuguana to the north instead of like according to map to the east, however, we follow for safety's sake sometimes the lanes, because we come having from there some tourist jeeps see. Confusion arises again when we head for San Juan, the next place which should lie according to map directly with the railway line, however, the only houses we see lie about 10 km away of it in the mountains. We trust the lanes and to our astonishment the place is in the hills really San Juan. We must push the letzen kilometres, nevertheless, by deep sand. From here it further goes after Concha K, a little bigger place which would have to lie in scanty 18 km according to travelog of a Swiss cyclist. We follow a corrugated sheet runway bad here and there and sandy runway and after 12 km a sign "Concha K comes all at once to the left". Unfortunately three ways go here, nevertheless, to the left, and thus good council is once again expensive. We have luck and after some minutes again there comes a tourist jeep which brings us on the right one of three ways. The lanes lead again by open scenery with some putting on one side, nevertheless, at last we reach safely after 30 km of Concha K. Anscheinend here the Swiss cyclist whose information is otherwise distinguished had found any abbreviation.
Festival in Concha K: Although is marked in our map as a provincial centre Concha K a small place in which there are, nevertheless, some shops which use to us in the absence of Bolivianos, nevertheless, anyhow nothing. Nevertheless, in the village just a religious festival town finds and thus are all inhabitants on the legs. Something behind the marketplace is the real fairground on itself everything has gathered around to the music of a brass band to dance. The party already seems to be some hours going, because nearly all adult, men like women, are completely got drunk. Many are so got drunk even that it is a miracle that they can keep generally still on the legs, or can still dance. We do not want to disturb the playful mood of the party further (anyhow we feel to us is absent on the place) and there it already shortly before sundown is we still fill in fast our water bottles and cycle a few more kilometres farther.
Shows me your feet: Up here the dusty washing board runways are a really very first cream and as thankfully as we are to the tourist jeeps for her guidance, thus we are also irritated by the gigantic clouds of dust them whirl up if them to us vorbeibrettern. In spite of scanty stores of water we wash every evening around the thick dust shifts we abzuschrubben.
Salar Uyuni: The next day, finally, then it goes on the Salar de Uyuni, the biggest and highest salt lake of the earth on 3653 m. After many washing board runways and sandy runways of the last days cycling on the smooth and firm salt crust is a true relief. Actually, we were dealted with a little bit because of the orientation on the Salar, however, thanks to the road description of the Swiss and the black lanes not to be overlooked (thanks to tyre wear) of the tourist jeeps the orientation is absolutely trouble-free. About 40 km we go dead-straight northwards up to Isla Inkawasi who lies here in the middle of the Salar. One can see the island, by the way, already from 30 km of distance.
A dream in white!
Hexagon-shaped salt edges: To destroy the nice hexagonal salt edges not needlessly we also keep quite well to the lanes (except around briefly a few photos to make).
Isla Inkawasi: Though Isla Inkawasi is not the only island on the Salar, however she lies where to herself the main routes on the Salar cruise and, besides, still about a restaurant disposes, it is the approach point for all tourist jeeps. The island itself is covered with many old cacti (should be 1200 years old to). Because the whole scenery lay here once under the sea covertly, there are on the island still many corals what looks a little bit droll up here on the Altiplano of course. We fill in our stores of water with the restaurant again and then disappear on the quieter south side of the islands around a few photo admissions to make. Here, actually, we also want to whip our tent, because we can enjoy thus sundown as well as from sunrise, however, suddenly a storm-like west wind starts, so that we must proceed in the windbreak of the island and can make to no nice sundown photos.
Paddeling: Once in the life on a salt lake paddle I imagined and make our Packrafts ready to be launched. Nevertheless, unfortunately, I do not come anyhow so properly from the spot. This is a nice lake if one can not even paddle on him. :-)))
Marathon team: After we spend in the lee of the island and when we the next morning with sunrise from the tent have an eye we do not look badly when all at once a whole team of joggers goes past!!! The team exists of 21 predominantly American marathon runners who take a "run vacation" here in South America. At the latest every 2nd day is run, and is denied every now and then also a marathon (one is in a few days in the brine Titicaca).Für today are attached on the Salar 21 km, before it further goes to Potosi. Most runners are not acclimatised yet completely so optimally, finally, we are on 3650 m, and thus they allow to concern it relatively quietly. In the team is also a German marathon runner who has denied a marathon on the North Pole in spite of his old age (nearly 70) only few weeks ago.
Salar Uyuni to push: According to our map it looks thus as if it was to be driven substantially shorter by Isla Inkawasi to north-east directly to Tacarani than about the Salinas Garcia in the north. Without further ado we resolve to try our luck. First everything still runs rather well and thus we come to the east of the volcano Tunapa to a nice small place before a gigantic herd Llamas puts out to pasture and with on a small lagoon bulky flamingos are to be admired. I ask a Llamahirtin which direction we should smash best of all around about the Salar to Tacarani to come, however, unfortunately, woman has no notion whether and what for places are on the other side of the Salar. Thus we drive off roughly after feeling, because our compass has a gigantic air bubble and is also not particularly helpful. Because none of the lanes in the direction aimed by us leads we simply cycle "quersalzein". The salt is nicely firm and crunches as really coldly frozen snow. Nevertheless, after a while the salt becomes more humid, we sink even something, and everywhere from the tyres it splashes there. We change our direction a little bit southwards and come so luckily again to more firm regions. Nevertheless, after some kilometres the surface of the Salar changes once more and instead of the nice smooth roadway with the hexagonal fields now it is very rough and hubbelig. Our speed decreases from comfortable 18 km/h on strenuous 10 km/h. After a while the salt becomes more humid and softer again, and we become even slower. At last it goes off in such a way that we must descend and push. Suddenly the salt changes suddenly and we deal it with soft quite fine loose mud. Our heavy bicycles deeply sink and thus we struggle laboriously pushing forward. In total we push our wheels 7 km, before we reach firm reason shortly before sundown again. To our joy we can see a few kilometres farther a small village. Tacarani, as we hope. We cycle and push on sandy runways in de small place where we shortly after sundown arrive. As we are found out now we though not in Tacarani landed, but in a little village with 3 families about 10 km farther to the north, however because we anyhow want further to the north only suits us. Nevertheless, at last from 50 km easy according to map of stage (abbreviation) quite strenuous 80 km of day has become.
Sonja and Ludgardo part 1: I believe we look tired after many pushing a little bit and exhausted, because when we will want to fill in, actually, only water we from Sonja and her neighbour, an older South American Indian's woman in the traditional Petticoat and Bowlerhut (melon), directly on a cup of tea invited. The kitchen of the neighbour is pitch-dark, no window has and thus some light comes in merely by the Türe. We are allowed to do ourselves on the bed placed, while the neighbour puts a kettle to water on the gas range standing on the ground and lights afterwards a small oil lamp. The oil lamp exists merely of a wick in a tin full with oil. Presumably we also look half starved, because to the cup of tea we still receive a piece of fried white bread. After we are supplied with the most necessary one soy and her neighbour withdraw and we sit alone in the twilight and strengthen ourselves in the easy however comfortable kitchen. Actually, we want again from the place rausradeln around our tent to be based, however, Sonja and Ludgardo (her husband) persuade us that it is not clever in get dark on the sandy runway rumzueiern and offer us that we can whip with pleasure our tent here beside the chapel. I help Sonja on plastic transparencies to the drily laid out grain punch (Chinua, any millet-like grain) zusammenzuräumen, so that we have a level place for our tent. We have granted just the tent, as Sonja to us one more room offers in we could sleep, however, to move over again, nevertheless, we are too exhausted and thus we decline with thanks. Nevertheless, at least an invitation for the dinner for later insists they. Sonja disappears in any of the houses to the cooking and we furnish our tent further. Although it is already dark and is cold a little bit, nevertheless, we leave open the Zelttüre to be accessible furthermore. After 1.5 hours, we freeze substantially and can keep open the eyes hardly more, a possibly ten-year-old girl stands all at once in get dark before our tent and looks to us in without what to say. We say "hello", however, the little one is still taciturn. Finally, I ask the girl whether she speaks in Spanish (in rural Gegeden the language of the Incas and Aymara is spoken in Bolivia because still often Quechua) what she answers with a short scanty "Si", before she goes to ruin again in the silence. Finally, after some taciturn minutes she means something from we the words "mummy" and "Sopa" heraushören and has faster disappeared than the flash. OK. now true probably the info that the dinner is ready, however, in which of the houses we should come then. Uncertainly we wander around the houses and after half an eternity a Türe goes all at once Sonja rises from to us joyfully entgegenwinkt. The culinary small house resembles rather a storeroom for grain and unused utensils and the only one what reveals that the room is also used as a kitchen is a gas range which stands in a corner. Sonja sits in the candle-light between some bowls and a big soup pot on the ground. Immediately we get two small stools offered. Nevertheless, I offer my small stool of the neighbour, because I do not want that them on the ground must sit, however, from from somewhere she conjures all at once still a small seat opportunity. A few minutes later there comes Ludgardo, whereupon itself the neighbour discreetly moves back. Now everybody receives a full bowl with the fervently steaming tasty soup. Jaqueline, Sojas and Ludgardos subsidiary to us to food has called, sits down on a few grain bags, while her smaller three-year-old brother means he has no hunger and now would go to bed. The soup is marvellous and warms up us again so really nicely from the inside. It is eaten in silence. Not which we would have to tell ourselves nothing mutually, however, in particular Ludgardo is exhausted very much by the work and drops off even every now and then something. After food we tell something else about our trip and our everyday life as a bicycle traveller and we report merely about our trip here in South America before we dead tired in the bed fall.
Sonja and Ludgardo part 2: The next morning brings and Sonja a freshly fried bread for the breakfast to the tent and mean, nevertheless, we should stay here one more day and rest a little. Now we are in the catch-22 situation. Loving with pleasure we would spend one more day with Sonja and her family, however, on no account we want to lie to them on the pocket and allow to feed us again from them. Now ordinarily we would offer that we would cook today for everybody, however, our stocks of food are limited just more than only. We could still exchange no money and have no Boliviano in the pocket, and up to the next place where we hopefully on a bank hit these are still more than 150 km on grit runways. We have to eat just enough that we if everything well runs these can reach. Should we need, nevertheless, longer than two days would be fast announced. Long we turn over in the mind and, nevertheless, finally, we decide in addition to go on. The resignation hurts, in particular, because Sonja tells us that we were the first guests in her life.
Other detours: From Sonja and Ludgardo from we follow a sandy however well to be driven runway to the north, however, to us, finally, again on the right street are we must cycle once again own kilometres more than we had expected. Nevertheless, expected good Schotterstrasse is a bad washing board runway from very coarse grit, so that we make headway rather laboriously. Nevertheless, bit by bit the street very feels well better and, finally, even here and there. In Tambo Tambillo we fill in our stores of water in the village well from which with the help of an old Belchkiste the water is scooped. The people here on the Altiplano are nice, by the way, everybody really and friendly. From a driver we get as a gift even bread, fancy cakes and biscuits and want to invite once to us a few construction workers to food, (nevertheless, to us have got what they, actually, want we are already vorbeigeradelt). Then to Santuario de Quillacas the street becomes once again bad. There comes that there is a new street here either again, or our map is once again wrong, because 20 km farther to the south instead of directly in Santiago de Huari we come out; with the taut headwind we have more than only one cat's jump once again. Briefly before we after many kilometres in dust and mud again on the tarred road come Nadine has one more spoke break. Apparently the mechanic does not have in Salta, nevertheless, so well eingespeicht.
Cuidado Hombres Trabajando! Attention: Men at the work!!!
Thunderstorm: Actually, wants to fill in we even today in Challapata our stores of water and exchange, finally, money, however, 3 km before Challapata we are stopped by a gigantic thunderstorm with Hagel and properly a lot of rain and can just still creep away on time in our tent. Behind the wall there is a small well from Nadine then luckily some waters (rather brownishly) can get, before the thunderstorm properly gets cracking.
Thermal baths: In Pazña there should be thermal baths, and thus we ask a few locals where we them then would find. We find out that there should be here two thermal baths. Next on the street to the north and another with the name Urizza in the other direction. The thermal bath Urizza should be the nicer one and thus we follow the council of the Bolivians. Like himself then, nevertheless, puts outside the thermal bath of Urizza 6 km lies outside from Pazña namely of a grit runway uphill after behind a small place. The thermal bath of Urizza belongs to a mine and a mine worker with yellow protective helmet assigns our own bath in a little bit ramshackle building to us. Nevertheless, differently than in other thermal baths the sense seems here to be to be able to wash sometimes with warm water because to use in spite of signs no shampoo some Schampootüten lie around here. We rush in the floods and enjoy the nice hot water to us, finally, completely schrumpelige skin have. Almost we would have even forgotten to pay, because the mine worker with no tone has mentioned an entry fee and the layout also worked rather in such a way, as if she was intended for the mine workers and their families. Also when we we of the mine worker dismiss he still says nothing, however, as us hard waving over again in him drive past suddenly occurs to him that he has forgotten what.
Festival in Pazña: Fresh washed we come just on time back to Pazña around a festival move are present to skill which just takes place here. Pazña lies about 80 km to the south of Oruro which is famous for his carnival and in particular for the costly and imposing masks. Apparently some teams from Oruro have also come here, many of the absolutely impressive masks could come just as well from a star War Film.
Dance teams: During just two hours we admire the move, the coloured activity and the wild dances. On the marketplace a big rostrum is built up on one jury sits which values the dance presentations of the single teams. In the late afternoon we see all at once in the horizon again drawing up thick storm clouds and get on the way as soon as possible again. Then on the Rau's way we hit not only on even other dance teams which just prepare themselves but directly behind the place on the other thermal bath in a nice relatively new building.




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