Me and a bright red lake¡Hola everyone! I arrived in Chile two days ago, after spending three days in a jeep in south-west Bolivia. I went on a tour of the Salar de Uyuni and the surrounding national parks; the weirdest terrain I’ve ever seen.

On the first day we drove across the Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat. It’s 12000 sq km of blindingly white emptiness, over 2 miles above sea level (see photos here and here). We had our lunch on a table made of salt, on island full of cactuses.

The second day we drove through the valleys of the mountains and volcanoes to a bright red lake (see the photo on the left). We had lunch outside again, this time with flamingos and llamas around us. That night we were 4900m (over 16000 ft) above sea level, the highest I’ve ever been. It was cold! When the sun went down the temperature dropped to 10°C below zero, so I had to pile on all the clothes I have – I didn’t think I’d have to do it in South America!

The next morning we stood amongst volcanic geysers spurting hot steam and bubbling craters. I felt like I was on the moon. Afterwards we went to a hot volcanic spring, which was pretty bad getting undressed outside in sub-zero temperatures, but well worth it to get into 30°C water and have a wash for the first time in 3 days! We had our breakfast outside again before going to another lake, this time a green one, and leaving Bolivia one last time and heading to Chile.

The tour was the best thing I’ve done in South America so far. The whole trip, with red and green lakes, vast amounts of white emptiness, and bubbling craters, made it feel like another planet. It alone is worth the visit to Bolivia (maybe even South America), and has definitely sealed Bolivia as my favourite country here!

I’ve put more photos up from the tour which you can see here.

The moon rising over a mountain, ChileI’m in La Serena now, and heading to Santiago tomorrow. Last night I went to the space observatory nearby and spent 2 hours on a tour, looking at the stars and planets through giant telescopes. Afterwards I got talking to the guide and he showed me around for another couple of hours, showing me the moon, Jupiter, and different constellations, and we hooked up my camera to the telescope. The photo on the left is of the moon rising above a mountain.