South West Bolivia: the Laguna route

Cycling the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia

“Isn’t it beautiful?”
“Hmmmm….”The icy winds are slamming into my face, my lips are split, my toes are freezing cold and at over 4600 meter I am pushing my heavily loaded bicycle through deep sand.. I can’t see the beauty anymore. I’m alone with my thoughts…

I’m thinking of the last stroll along the beach with my mum, with are bare feet through the waves and the soft and warm sand between our toes.
I’m thinking of that rainy day I went for a bicycle ride with my dad and we accidentaly ran into queen Maxima and king Willem-Alexander…
I’m thinking about Storm, whom we fail to explain our world trip to, but as soon as we get back we’ll be hugging him a lot…
I’m thinking of all the Sex & the City and Ally McBeal nights with my friends Marielle and Cora… we had so much fun.. and a lot of great food too… hmmm… food…
I’m thinking of ‘Une belle histoire’ by Michel Fugain and the last night having a drink with Gaby and Arthur at Brussels Lof…
I’m thinking of the last week in the Netherlands we spend with Gaby and Arthur. That week we completely spoiled Storm and he’s still sleeping in bed after all those months on the road!
I’m thinking of breakfast in bed brought to us by Kelly, our favorite niece…
I’m thinking of Youri and Noel, both getting up at 4AM without hesitations to say us farewell at the airport.. they are our heroes!
I’m thinking about zennsistah Kirsten, singing a Dutch song at Schiphol airport: “afscheid nemen bestaat niet” (which means: there’s no such thing as saying goodbye). And the envelope she gave us with drawings from cuties Ivan, Vera and Tatum and Martijns Speackerpunchs stickers!

Volcan Licancabur and frozen Laguna Verde

I’m thinking of that time Kirsten was looking for a babysitter, because Martijn was hospitalised.. Kirsten jumping around and me very tranquil: “No worries, I’ll take care of them. You go to Martijn.”
I’m thinking of the moment right after Kirsten shut the door behind her and I was there with three kids jumping around the living room and I immediately called Gaby..: “Help!”
I’m thinking of the moment Gaby walked through the door to organise the whole bunch, I had to brush the kids’ teeth.. holding Vera upside down and screaming in panic: “Spit it out!” I didn’t know it was childrens toothpaste…

I’m thinking of our last camping weekend with Friedel, Andrew, Luke, Blanche, Douwe, Chantal, Marco and Ella. And the jummie ice coffee we had sitting in the sun..
I’m thinking of the canoe trips we did with Marco and Chantal, bbq in the snow and the men trying to catch a fish..
I’m thinking of the stealth campings at Den Donck..

I’m thinking of the ‘poop’ sausage we had in the Champagne in France, working on a cycling story..
I’m thinking of the many glasses of champagne we had during that trip; breakfast, lunch and dinner.. and how well we cycled after that!
I’m thinking about that poor tourist info guy, not knowing what to do with three giggly journalists..

I’m thinking of me and my dad against the rest, and Ajax becoming soccer champions… again! 😉
I’m thinking of Henks jump when he saw Hugos first poop diaper!
I’m thinking of Karens lovely apple pies
I’m thinking about Frans & Jacq, my sweet holiday parents and the fun we had in Venezuela…

I’m thinking of the first time Elmar and I met… the many glasses of wine, the tapas, the candles.. sooooo romantic!
I’m thinking of our first bicycle ride together.., so much rain, but so much fun!
I’m thinking of all the bicycle adventures we had after that.., all the things we’ve seen… and how lucky we are!
I’m thinking of our sneaky marriage, married on a tandem bicycle..
I’m thinking of our wedding day…

..and I can’t help but to think about Anja and Wim and why they don’t understand they are hurting us by stealing our day… and I don’t think that relationship will ever be restored..
..and I’m thinking about Marije, with whom we had so much fun on that wedding day.. and not knowing what went wrong after that…

But, back to happy thoughts!

I’m thinking of home. Of all the sweet people we have in our lives, no matter how far we are…
I’m thinking of warmth.. and a smile is back on my face. I enjoy being here, no matter how hard it is. The landscapes our out of this world, the lakes from another planet, the Salar de Uyuni huge…

13 years ago I was here too, but driving around in my own car. I never thought I could ride the Laguna route by bicycle, it seemed impossible.. but, we did it!

And now, after 13 days without a shower… I can finally take of those dirty clothes I wore day and night and wash the dirt of my body… I would not have missed this for the world!

Ice on the track

We pushed our bikes through deep sand for about 15 kilometers…

Sunset on the Salar de Uyuni and our great camp spot in the middle of the Salar

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Freerk January 3, 2016 - 21:51
What a wonderful world you describe. Thanks for your comments on my information request. Freerk
Bicycle Junkies January 4, 2016 - 11:00
Thank you Freerk and you are welcome! You'll enjoy Bolivia, it's beautiful!
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