Thoughts of a Flowertot…Bolivia – Tupiza to Uyuni (with Compact Camera Snaps)

(Part of a series of articles by Fi trawling the archives for photos taken on the tiny compact camera way back when).

Bus stations are never glamorous places but Sucres proved to be most confusing. Queuing at a first floor counter to pass your bag over, only to see it tied to a rope and winched down to a ground level crowd of passengers. Goodbye bag, hope to see you again.

We took the night bus, a bumpy uncomfortable journey with loud music blaring for its majority and arrived around 4 or 5am in Tupiza. After a few hours sleep in an actual bed we headed out, booked onto a 4 day tour leaving the following morning and had a wander around.

Tupiza is a sleepy town in the middle of rugged ‘wild west’ scenic desert at around 3000m altitude. Apparently, as legend has it, this is where Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid met their fate. There’s not that much to do centrally but we were quite happy to have a relaxed dinner and an early night before our tour.

Up the next morning at silly o’clock we ate a quick breakfast and then packed up the jeep with bags, food and water supplies for the next 4 days. Each 4X4 has a driver, who is also your tour guide. A cook who makes all of the meals throughout the journey and then 4 – 6 passengers. We were lucky in that we only had 2 other people travelling with us, a French couple called Agathe & Pierre who were thankfully lovely, spoke perfect English and also a fair bit of Spanish – handy as our entire tour was to be in Spanish.

There are many horror stories of cramped overfilled jeeps, drunken drivers, breakdowns and rolling crashes. Our journey turned out to be relatively issue free, with the exception of getting a flat tyre in the arse end of no-where after we had already given our spare tyre to another jeep. But hey, we got to experience some ingenious tyre repair skills and find a large enough rock to pee behind. We soon all became very well acquainted with our fellow travellers toilet breaks as there is really nowhere to hide in the desert, except behind the jeep!

Covering around 1200km we needed to travel 12hours a day on rough terrain. The air was constantly thin – 4900m at our highest spot – the nights were freezing despite being fully clothed and in arctic sleeping bags but the mild discomfort was worth the stunning scenery we found throughout most of the journey, all under a beautiful crisp blue sky!

Here’s a few photos from the compact camera on our journey from Tupiza to Uyuni: