Can you call it a desert if it is filled with high altitude lakes, flamingos and salt pools?

At times what we have been seeing and experiencing totally overwhelms us. We have moments where we get back to our accommodation and we can’t quite believe the photographs or memories. I think this is one of the things that makes travelling for such a long period quite difficult. One almost becomes oversaturated with new experiences and encounters and it becomes difficult to process what you are experiencing.

The first few days in San Pedro de Atacama (the driest desert in the world) were a bit of a downer for me. I landed up with a nasty cold and spent two solid days in bed. I got to finish my book (called The Executioners Song….. not something you should read when you are feeling a bit sorry for yourself) and then started to play lots of spider solitaire as there was no internet in our room. Our room was also a bit cold so all in all I wasn’t the happiest person in the world.

Having this down time did enable me to become really excited for exploring what the Atacama desert had in stall for us. We travelled up to some high altitude lakes which were really beautiful. You drive through desert, then up a mountain pass, and then the next thing you see these blue blue lakes at 4200 meters. Quite something looking at these lakes and feeling a little out of breath and headachy from the altitude.

View of the high altitude lakes

From the lakes we then went back down into the desert and visited the Flamingo lakes. What on earth flamingos are doing in the middle of the desert I do not know but they were so beautiful.

Flamingos in the desert?

My highlight had to be the salt lakes. I have never been to a salt lake before and floating in the water was just magical.

Floating in the salt lakes

The water was crystal blue and with the reflection of the volcano shimmering in the distance….. just spectacular. What a way to spend our last day in the Atacama Desert.

Andy with the mountains on his shoulders

Water reflections

Reflections in the salt lakes

While we were in the desert we got great news from home. My wonderful employers have agreed that I can start a month later so we will be continuing our travels until the end of July. Get ready for 2 more months of posts coming your way……….

Categories: Diary | 9 Comments

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9 thoughts on “Can you call it a desert if it is filled with high altitude lakes, flamingos and salt pools?

  1. Alex Cluver

    I cant believe you are gone till end july how awesome. Very jealous.

  2. Dean Morrison

    Cathy and Andrew – great pictures, love the stories and it really is hard to believe that hulk of a beast holding up those mountains is the same man who had that sweet voice signing on the Navimag Ferry – memories for life!

    Glad you are feeling better Cathy x

    Are we going to catch up again on our trip? Hope so and if so I guess it is looking like La Paz.

    Dingo and Debs x

  3. Renardo

    This is really stunning guys. No trip is an adventure without some trouble. Now you have the story to tell forever. Fantastic! Keep going! Well done to the photographer. If you need cash, sell your photo’s. Renardo

    • Andrew

      Congratulations! You must be over the moon! Here is a trip to make you green with envy ; they are going to climb mountains in the north west Greenland passage and are cruising on a 10 m fibreglass yacht! I am friends with the one guy Steve. How long do you have left at TBH?

  4. Douglas C Lawson

    An extra month?! Now you’re pushing it, my beautiful first. I could easily admire from a distance before, but now you guys are making me jealous. Perhaps I misunderstand, Andrew, my fellow sloth, are you simply pacing yourself and need a little more time? I sense you need consultation. Where can we meet?

    • Andrew

      You will notice by the slow reply, that indeed I need time, sloth-like…we should meet in La Paz, where you can pick up a bike and join us on the last leg back to BA!

  5. Benine Du Toit

    Hi there Cathy and Andrew. I am so enjoying following your travels……and rather very jealous as well. Well done on all the exciting and different places you have been to. I look forward to seeing more. Take care. Love, Benine

  6. Rosemary

    The desert trip sounds so great and the pics (again!) are superb. What beautiful scenery. Hope you are feeling better Cath – do take care and enjoy the extended holiday. We miss you here at work!!
    Lots of love from us all. Rose & all at PASS

  7. Lawson

    Wow!! What with confused flamingoes and bodies floating in water in a desert, You are seeing things we didn’t think existed. Send us more!
    Love Dad and Mum

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