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I was struck down with the worst gastro I’d ever had, so Adam journeyed out to the airport to meet my dear little sister arriving in La Paz after a long journey via the States. I had a day in bed to recover while Ems and Adam explored the streets of the crazy city. The next morning, leaving Adam in La Paz and mildly recovered we set off for Uyuni.

After running around gathering information for the Footprint guide book (a little job updating the info) in dusty Uyuni, we met Mum and Dad at the station in the middle of the freezing night. They were full of stories of their travel through northern Argentina, and while I was ready to collapse into a cold bed they happily made some tea, buzzing with excitement.

Early the next morning we enjoyed a lovely family breakfast in the sunshine, then met up with our sturdy private jeep, driver and cook for our three day Salar de Uyuni trip.

The high altitude volcanic scenery was spectacular for the entire journey. Our excellent driver took us over the vast salt planes of Uyuni and onto the famed and photographed cacti island, past aqua, green and icy blue lakes with a few wind blown flamingos finishing the final touch on the scene; we admired geysers spouting steam in the early morning light, and spied volcanoes on the horizons.  Emma and I bathed in a thermal pool before scurrying back into our layers of clothes, and we experienced sleeping in a salt hotel in the middle of a desolate town.

The landscape was beautiful but brutal. All enjoyed the trip, but there was no day when one was not struck down by the evil effects of the altitude. We reached over 5000m at the peak of a volcano on the last day, and it was not easy for the newcomers to Bolivia to adjust to such heights – despite the numerous cups of cocoa tea consumed. On the 18th of June, Emma and I celebrated Mum’s birthday with a delicious meal and a cup of wine, while the parents (piled with blankets as it was bitterly cold) slept off the altitude sickness.

On the third day we bumped gladly back into Uyuni on horrendous roads. We enjoyed an Italian meal, then crashed for a few hours in a little hotel room before taking the midnight express to Ouruo, and then a bus, finally back to sunny La Paz.

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