Cycling The Globe

A Cycle Touring Expedition Around The World

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Day 1392, Salar de Uyuni: The Only Person Left in the World

Posted by Thomas Andersen Posted on Jul - 08 - 2014

Distance: 60.17 km
Ride time: 4:39:27
Average: 12.93 km/h
Altitude: 3660 m
Total: 27659 km

I knew I was in for something special as I left the strange tourist town of Uyuni and headed towards the famous salt lake. Just how magic the place would be I couldn’t have imagined though.

The day started ordinary enough as I rode for a couple of hours on a sandy dirt road towards the village of Colchani, right on the edge of the salar.

I bought a hamburgesa on the square and then continued towards the white plateau I could now see in the distance.

At the edge of the salar the surface was still sandy. I passed the last couple of houses I would see for the next 100 km, and then suddenly, all I could see in front of me was the flat plateau of completely white salt. This was indeed something very special.

I hadn’t met another cyclist for months, so remember my surprise when I saw a couple on bicycles coming towards me – in this of all places!

The Dutch couple were doing their own 3 months tour around this part of South America and were as mesmerized about the place as I was. After a couple of photos we continued in each our direction.

I continued cycling for another couple of hours, as the sun was slowly approaching the horizon, out there in the distance. Around sunset I pulled off the track I had been following to set up camp. The colors were magic. The was for sure one of the most memorable places I have ever put up my tent.

Luckily there was no wind, as getting the tent pegs into the hard salt would have been very difficult. Instead everything turned completely quiet as the last beams of sun hit the salar. I was feeling like the only person left in the world.

Uyuni is known to be one of the coldest places on the altiplano, so I quickly jumped into my two sleeping bags and prepared for a chilly night.

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9 Responses so far.

  1. Marie says:

    Beautiful indeed!

  2. Roman says:

    amazing! unbelievable!

  3. Lars says:

    what an outstanding, adventurous journey!

  4. Thanks for the comments guys!

  5. Tony Graham says:

    Wow Thomas, stunning photos, my favourite of the trip. I think the photo of yourself taken by the other cyclists has to make the shortlist for the cover or your book?

    I love the next photo of the lone cyclist (is it you taken by other others or did you take it of one of them?) The composition is spot on and the wide open space and the lovely blue skies – stunning.

    The next photo of your tent in the distance with the golden glow of the salt flats is wonderful.

    These salt flats are a must for any around the world cyclist I think, as I’ve seen lots of photos like yours here.

    I am very impressed and keep up the fantastic riding Thomas!

    P.S. I am busy watching the Tour de France on TV every spare moment lately, when I’m not at work or cycling around Upper Hutt.

  6. Thanks Tony! Yes, what a place to ride your bike… and how lucky that I ran into the Dutch cyclist who was also a good photographer out there – the lone cyclist is indeed me 🙂 I also very much like that photo. I’m also trying to watch Tour de France. Luckily the internet here in La Paz is better than out in the small towns, so I was able to watch a good part of todays stage. Best wishes from Bolivia!

  7. Altaf says:

    Absolutely beautiful place Thomas. One of the best locations you have shot. Your photos give me a sense of being there, specially those two photos where the sunset light casts the shadow of tent. Always look forward to your updates after your AMA.

    Good luck and best wishes from India.

  8. Hi Altaf. Glad to know you like the updates! Best wishes from Bolivia!

  9. […] I was in for something special as I left the strange tourist town of Uyuni and headed towards the famous salt lake. Just how magic the place would be I couldn’t have imagined though. As I put up my tent I felt […]