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BOLIVIA - THE ANDES di Axel Kaiser

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Mountainbiking from Bolivia to Chile


We have only 35 km today so we take it easy and enjoy the incredible view we have on the Salar de Ujuni, the biggest saltlake in the world.

Ujuni was created during the war with Chile as transitpoint for the troops, today its serves the same purpose for the tourists. Its a dirty but easygoing town with some good Restaurant, for lunch we have a good Pizza together with an Italian couple we met. There isn't really much to do here beside another railmuseum, which is worse than the one in Palace.

The Salar

Next morning we head to the salar, we want to cross it to reach Liica a little town near the chilenean border, away from the usual tourist circuit. We have food and water for three days even if we count in reaching Liica in two. Its about 200 km perfectly even. The first impression is cold!. On the saltlake the temperature drops suddenly to 3-4° even if its already 11 o'clock. That's because the white salt reflects all the sunlight. Near the edge is the Salt Hotel, a hotel entirely built of saltblocks, its charming but expensive for Bolivian standards so we stop only for a cup of tea.

While we cycle on the salt we hear always a characteristic sound of saltcristals crashed by our wheels. Orienting is not so easy as the compasses don't work here because of a rich lithium deposit under the salt. We have to rely on the GPS. All tentatives to reach the lithium failed due to the presence of water under the salt. The water is only a few centimeters under the surface and here and there we see the 'ojos del Sal' the eyes of the lake, this are a kind of caves in the salt eroded by water. In the rainy season the salar is covered by 30-40cm of water to dry out in the winter.

Our Goal for today is the 'Isla del Pescado' this is a real island in a lake of salt an unearthly place. Here we stay for the night by the unofficial owner of this island. Over night Ana gets sick, she sleeps very little. Next morning she is better and refuses to stay another day to rest, tough girl!

The day is very long 90 km to the edge of the salar, luckily we have a light tailwind, once arrived there we thought that the most was done, but another 15 km of sand awaited for us, we had to push and carry the bikes a lot. We were lucky as they had opened in these days a government resthouse, after a shower in the public bath, Ana collapses on her bed and sleeps for 14 hours straight. In the meanwhile I go to organize transport for the next day, Alessio, a friend, had been here just 2 month ago by bus and told me that there were no transportation to the border and that the road was entirely of sand.

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Dati del viaggio

Mountainbiking from Bolivia to Chile

Periodo: Agosto 2000

Destinazione: Bolivia - The Andes

Partecipanti: Axel Kaiser e Ana Zandomeneghi

Passaporto turistico

Axel Kaiser


Axel ed Ana sono due cari amici, lui tedesco lei brasiliana vivono a Firenze da molti anni insieme alla loro piccola Virginia. Axel è venuto in Italia con la sua famiglia ancora piccolo ed ha conosciuto Francesco al liceo.

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