Around the World... One Journey at a Time. Around the World... One Journey at a Time.

Bolivia: Day 3

by Kathy 28. November 2007 08:00

<< Day 2: La Paz, Janko Marca and Sajama | Day 4: Llica to Villa Mar >>

Sajama to Llica


The next morning was crisp and clear, and we were able to appreciate the beauty of our surroundings. Sajama, an extinct volcano:

(Notice the rocks holding down the edges of the tin roof, a common sight in the altiplano.) The twin peaks across from Sajama:


Our group, bidding farewell to Sajama:

During the morning, we entered the Parque National del Sajama, Chullpas, where we saw our first flamingoes:

We also visited some ancient structures, recently restored. They are funeral rooms built in “adobe”, from earth and straw, and made in the colonial period (after 1592).

The roads were pretty rocky (although not as bad as some later in the trip). Here is Hugo with William, changing one of the three flat tires our group would get today:

Whenever we stopped in one of the towns, a small crowd would gather around us, curious about where we were going:

Along the way, we saw many herds of domesticated llamas, which are highly valued animals; their wool is warm, their dung provides much-needed fuel for fires (there is no wood because trees don’t usually grow at such high altitudes), and the meat is purportedly tasty (I missed our one dinner of llama steaks, as I’ll explain later). Here is a typical village with llamas:

We stopped for a few minutes in a small town next to the Salar de Coipasa (also known as the “Baby Solar”), a large salt flat that covers over 850 square miles and is approximately 35 miles across. (Tomorrow we would be riding on the grand Salar de Uyuni, which covers over 6000 square miles.) Some buildings in the village:

We talked briefly with this woman and her two children. She was kind enough to let us take her picture. (We always asked before photographing someone; many people said “no”.)

Ben and I riding on the Salar de Coipasa:

Our friend, Gérald:

The salt looks very much like snow. However, there is wonderful traction. Me:

Ben took a close-up of the terrain:

Since we were over 12,000 in altitude, the surrounding hills did not have a lot of vegetation. Due to the early rainy season, portions of the Salar had water that reflected the sky and surrounding mountains. The landscape was just stunning.

The early rain also meant that the edges of the Salar were quite muddy. Unfortunately, our chase truck got stuck.

We tried unsuccessfully to free it. Maurice finally led the bikes away, as Rene was digging a hole to bury the spare tire and pull the truck out using the front wench. We continued through a series of jeep trails, over and around hills, with rocks and sand and some water. Fun, fun!

A town we passed by at sunset:

Our destination was a town across a portion of the next Salar; however, Maurice didn’t want to cross the big Salar at night without the truck. On the edge of the big Salar was the town of Llica. Maurice went into town to see if we could stay there tonight (many towns in the altiplano do not have hotels/hostels); he returned saying that the only accommodations were a few “very basic” rooms. He explained that he did not usually bring groups to stay overnight in Llica because there wasn’t a good place to sleep; this was just an emergency situation because of the chase truck.

As we rode into town, I could hear a band playing with numerous brass instruments and a booming drum. While planning our trip, I had read an article by a traveler in Bolivia who had been kept up until 1:00 in the morning by a band playing outside his hotel window (that band had been practicing for an upcoming festival). The sound of the band got louder and louder as we rode through the town; I had to laugh as we stopped right by the band, which was playing directly in front of where we were staying. I asked Maurice if he knew of any festivals occurring today or sometime soon; he said “no”, and jokingly said they were celebrating our arrival. The band:

Yes, our room was very basic:

The room was so bad that it was funny. We took a peek at the sheets and found that they hadn’t been changed lately, and there was garbage under the beds. We were on the second floor facing the street, with the glass in one window missing; so we had the band’s music in full force in our room. The part that had both Ben and I really laughing, however, was “walking the plank” whenever we had to go to the bathroom (I won’t even talk about the condition of the bathroom). The bathroom was in another area of the building; we could reach it by either (a) going downstairs, crossing a courtyard, and then going up another set of stairs or (b) walking to the end of the rickety balcony outside our door and stepping out onto a plank that was balanced across a wooden post that stuck out of the wall, with the end of the plank resting on one of the stairs that came up from the floor below. Most of the time, we chose the plank, although we had to be careful and step so that the plank (which was not bolted down) didn’t fall off the wall and drop us 8 feet to the cement below. A bad photo of the plank (our camera lens didn’t open properly)—between the end of the wooden walkway and the edge of the plank is an 8 foot drop, with the stairs much further in the distance than they appear:

We had dinner at a small café around the corner—very good rotisserie chicken and rice. It had been a long day. Our expressions in this photo never fail to make me smile (we really WERE having fun!):

The band had disbursed by the time we finished dinner, although one trombone player was still wandering around playing for at least an hour afterwards. We didn’t have our luggage because the chase truck didn’t make it into town that night. Ben and I bought toothbrushes and paste from a small store on the way back from dinner. We then settled in as best as we could, to listen to all of the night sounds of the town, including many dogs and a rooster that started crowing at 3:30 a.m.

<< Day 2: La Paz, Janko Marca and Sajama | Day 4: Llica to Villa Mar >>

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Map of Our Journeys

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Our travel map

Places We’ve Been, w/Quick Links

   Bumthang Valley
   Gom Kora
   Paro Valley
   Punakha Dzong
   Sangdrup Jongkhar
   Wangdi Phrodrang

   Janko Marca
   La Paz
   Laguna Colorada
   Laguna Verde
   Salar de Coipasa
   Salar de Uyuni
   San Pablo
   Santa Rosa
   Sud Lipez
   World’s Most Dangerous Road

   Banff National Park
   Battle Hill Nat'l Hist. Site
   Boya Lake Prov. Park, BC
   Burns Lake Bike Park
   Canyon Sainte-Anne
   Dawson Creek
   Eastern Townships
   Fort Nelson
   Jasper National Park
   Kluane Lake, YK
   'Ksan Historical Village
   Lake Louise
   Liard Hot Springs
   Niagara Falls
   Quebec City
   Thousand Islands
   Vancouver Island
   Watson Lake

   Forbidden City
   Great Wall at Mutianyu
   Hong Kong
   Summer Palace
   Terracotta Warriors
   Tiananmen Square
   Yungang Caves

Costa Rica
   Arenal Volcano
   Finca Corsicana
   Hanging Bridges
   Manuel Antonio
   Poas Volcano
   Proyecto Asis
   Sky Trek Zip Lining
   Venado Caves


   Amazon Rainforest
   Chaquiñan Bicycle Trail
   La Mitad del Mundo
   Napo Wildlife Center
   Papallacta Hot Springs
   Proyecto DCR
   Yasuní National Park


   Baja California
   Frida Kahlo Museum
   Hierve el Agua
   Marietas Islands
   Mexico City
   Monte Alban
   Oaxaca City
   Puerto Angel
   Puerto Escondido
   Puerto Vallarta
   San Agustin
   San Martin Tilcajete
   Santa Fe de la Laguna
   Santa María el Tule
   Studio of Jacobo Angeles
   Teotitlán del Valle

   Dead Vlei
   Elondo Village
   Etosha Nat'l Park
   Hippo Pools Camp
   Hoba Meteorite
   Khowarib Camp
   Moose McGregor's Bakery
   Mowani Camp
   Ngepi Camp
   Nkasa Lupala
   n'Kwzi Camp
   River Dance Lodge
   Seisriem Camp
   Treesleeper Camp

   Cañón del Pato
   Cerro de Pasco
   La Oroya
   Machu Picchu
   Nuevo Jaén
   Tingo Maria
   Yungay Memorial


South Africa

   Rock of Gibraltar
   Santillana del Mar

United States National Parks
   Arches National Park, UT
   Badlands National Park, SD
   Bandelier National Monument, NM
   Bryce Canyon National Park, UT
   Cahokia Mounds (UNESCO site), IL
   Carlsbad Caverns National Park, NM
   Canyon de Chelly Nat'l Monument, AZ
   Cape Hatteras National Shoreline, NC
   Capitol Reef National Park, UT
   Civil Rights Memorial, AL
   Death Valley National Park, CA
   Denali National Park, AK
   Devil’s Tower National Monument, WY
   El Morro National Monument, NM
   Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C.
   Glacier National Park, MT
   Grand Canyon National Park, AZ
   Grand Tetons National Park, WY
   Great Basin National Park, NV
   Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, HI
   Joshua Tree National Park, CA
   Kaloko-Honokohau Nat'l Hist. Park, HI
   Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks, NM
   King's Canyon National Park, CA
   Martin Luther King Jr. Nat'l Hist. Site, GA
   Mesa Verde National Park, CO
   Montezuma's Castle Nat'l Monument, AZ
   Monticello, VA
   Mount Rushmore National Memorial, SD
   Mt. Rainier National Park, WA
   Olympic National Park, WA
   Petrified Wood National Park, AZ
   Pinnacles National Monument, CA
   Pu'uhonua o Honaunau Nat'l Hist Pk, HI
   Pu'ukohola Heiau Nat'l Historic Site, HI
   San Antonio Missions Nat'l Hist. Park, TX
   Tuzigoot National Monument, AZ
   Walnut Canyon National Monument, AZ
   Washington Monument
   White Sands National Monument, NM
   Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, AK
   Wright Brothers National Memorial in NC
   Yellowstone National Park, WY
   Yosemite National Park, CA

United States, Cities and Places
   The Alamo, TX
   Alaska Wildlife Conservation Cntr.
   Alpine Loop in CO
   Anchorage, AK
   Antares Junction, AZ
   Arctic Circle, AK
   Barrel Oak Winery in VA
   Biloxi, MS
   Bottle Tree Farm in CA
   Calico Ghost Town, CA
   Canfield Mountain Trail System, ID
   Cape St. Vincent, NY
   Carson City, NV
   Carter Caves State Park in KY
   Chappie-Shasta OHV Area, CA
   Child's Glacier, AK
   Circle B Chuckwagon Show in SD
   City Museum in MO
   Cody, WY
   Corn Palace in SD
   Crazy Horse Memorial in SD
   Custer State Park, SD
   Dalton Highway, AK
   Dinosaur Tracks in AZ
   Discovery Place in Charlotte, NC
   Dry Falls (Sun Lakes-Dry Falls), WA
   Fairbanks, AK
   Front Royal, VA
   Gallup, NM
   Goffs, CA
   Grand Canyon Caves, AZ
   Grand Canyon Skywalk, AZ
   Grave Digger Monster Truck in NC
   Great Salt Lake, UT
   Hackberry General Store in AZ
   Hannibal, MO
   Hatteras Island, NC
   Hawaii (Big Island)
   Hickison Petroglyphs, NV
   Holbrook, AZ
   Hole in the Rock, UT
   Homer, AK
   Honey Island Swamp Tour in LA
   Hoover Dam, NV
   Hyder, AK
   Jim Gray’s Petrified Wood Co. in AZ
   John’s Peak OHV Area, OR
   Kailua-Kona, HI
   Keepers of the Wild Nature Park in AZ
   Kennecott, AK
   Kennecott Copper Mine in UT
   Kingman, AZ
   Lake Havasu, AZ
   Lake Tahoe, NV
   Las Vegas, NV (winter 2010)
   Little Brown Church in IA
   London Bridge in AZ
   Loneliest Road in America, Hwy. 50, NV
   Los Angeles, CA
   Lost Colony Show on Roanoke Isl., NC
   Lowe’s Speedway in NC
   Mardi Gras World in LA
   Mark Twain Museum in MO
   Meteor Crater, AZ
   Million Dollar Highway, CO
   Minnesota Zoo
   Mitchell, SD
   Moab, UT
   Moab, UT (dirt biking)
   Montgomery, AL
   Montpelier, ID
   Navajo Nation, AZ
   Needles, CA
   Nevada Beach, NV
   Newberry Springs, CA
   New River Gorge, WV
   New Orleans, LA
   Niagara Falls 
   North Pole, AK
   Oatman, AZ
   Old Faithful Geyser in WY
   Omak Stampede, WA
   Painted Desert, AZ
   Park City, UT (summer)
   Plymouth, NC
   Portage Valley, AK
   Portland, OR
   Prospect OHV Trail System, OR
   Resaca, GA
   Riverside State Park, WA
   Rock City in TN
   Rosa Parks Library and Museum in AL
   Roswell, NM
   Russian River, AK
   Salt Lake City, UT
   San Antonio, TX
   San Diego, CA
   San Juan Islands, WA
   San Francisco, CA
   Santa Catalina Island, CA
   Seattle, WA
   Sedona, AZ
   Shoe Tree in CA
   Shoe Tree in NV
   Silverton, CO
   Sonora, TX
   St. Louis, MO
   St. Paul, MN
   Talkeetna, AK
   Telluride, CO
   Route 66
   Twin Knobs Recreation Area in KY
   Virginia Beach, VA
   Washington D.C.
   Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park in IL
   Williamsburg, VA
   Winom Frazier OHV Area, OR
   Winslow, AZ
   Zion National Park, UT

Planning Our Adventures

For us, each journey begins with the initial heart pangs to venture to a certain part of the world. Then the ideas start coming together . . . ahh, the possibilities . . . and the dream evolves gradually into an actual plan. But, oh, the joy of the dream!  Click here to learn more about how we plan and prepare for our journeys.

Where Are We Now?

Click here to discover where we are now, as well as our uncoming travel plans.

Words for the Heart

“. . . and then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

Anais Nin