We are off the bus, not even figuratively. The bus took us as far a Uyuni and we traded it in for 3-4 wheel drives. Yesterday was across the salt flats. Just shy of 4000M. We get on the salt and it is a b line to our destination. No lines, no signs, no speed limits and the smoothest damn road you will find anywhere. It is like travelling on a concrete road but without the regular clack, clack of the construction joints. We spend most of the day on a canvas of white. Even though the surface is hard, the vision is soft like freshly fallen snow or a top of a cloud as seen from an airplane.
Today we are to travel the Ruta Laguna. This is real 4 wheeling. Two track roads that braid across terrain with absolutely no indication as to where we are going except the tracks under tire. Up and down, bounce, bounce, sand, rock, grassy sections, and every centimetre untraversable by any other type of vehicle.
Laguna Canapa, our first flamingo gathering place. Hundreds of photos taken. I have seen flamingos before in a few places but they are usually far away and only distinguishable with a telephoto lens or field glasses.
Laguna Hedionda is also about flamingos. Only hundreds more and very, very close. Hundreds more photos taken. Three kinds of flamingos ply these waters, Flamenco Andino (Andean), Flamenco Chileno (Chilean), and Flamenco James (James). Everyone is impressed, the birds are so close and their colors are so vivid. It is going to be hard to top this and we have just started.
More treacherous roads, if they can be called roads. It is well after noon and we are headed to lunch. All of a sudden we are on a super highway. Gravel, but as flat as can be and wide enough for two lanes and shoulders. A short while later we arrive at Laguna Turquiri, the black lagoon, guess what? the water is black! As far as we can make there is no creature. The tables and chairs are brought out and we have lunch overlooking the lagoon. Somewhat like an 19th century picnic for the aristocracy.
Lunch finished and we are off to our last destination for the day. Amazing enough we head north on the super highway again. Soon we turn right and onto a double track, driving closer to the massive lava flow we have been driving amongst for the past hour or more. The cars pull up at a place of no apparent importance. A short 15 minute walk and in front of us lays the most beautiful laguna we have seen today. Laguna Catal, the water is bordered by 15M vertical walls of lava rock, the sun is low in the sky behind the wall and setting, creating deep shadows and reflecting off the water.
The hotel is a big suprize. A funky place in a totally non descript village. The drive was tough but the sights are worth every body shaking bump.