Train Graveyard in Bolivia

Steam locomotives, rusting away in Dali's desert of time

In the first part of this travelogue, we showed the serene and fantastic beauty of the Uyuni's Salt Lake in Bolivia - the weird cactus forest, salt formations and volcanos surrounding one of the most desolate landscapes on Earth. We also mentioned the train graveyard, and now we have some pictures to prove it.

Torgeir Bull from Norway has recently traveled in these parts, and brought us a report... no less outlandish than the last article:

There were plans to develop the area near the city of Uyuni (3660 ft above the sea level) into a great railroad hub and terminal station. The construction started in the late 19th century, but was never completed. Today, the empty husks of steam locomotives are rusting away under the watchful sun, like some kind of discarded metal carapaces - while the soft pinky-flesh train "kiddies", no doubt, roam the desert, chewing on some llamas... A picture worthy of S. Dali, perhaps entitled "Time & Rust" -

(image credit: Travis)

Weird skulls and bones are spread here and there -

as the flattest plain on Earth recedes into vastness of space and time -

More shots of salt pyramid structures. Some of them are arranged into patterns only visible from space... just kidding.

Torgeir writes:
"...We traveled to the Uyuni Salt Pans, the largest in the world - a sea of salt, a fantasy world of its own. It looks like an endless frozen over lake or a white expanse of desert, and is actually the evidence of a prehistoric sea that existed there.

This site gives additional info: The lake's total area is 10,580 km2, average annual temperature ranges from 20°Celsius in the daytime to -25°C at night; the climate is dry and cold, with low rainfall and intense solar radiation. As a result of the instant evaporation of ground water that occurs in the southern high plateau due to the dryness of the air, enormous flat salt beds have formed, consisting mainly of the sodium chloride... The surface crust is 10 m thick, and the amount of salt in the Pans is estimated at 64000 millions tons"

The "forest" of giant cactuses - goes well with the playground of gutted steam trains.

To solidify the Salvador Dali connection, this area even has a (huge!) Dali rock -

and a "wave of lava" -

(images credit: Travis)

and so the Jeep disappears into a wide blue yonder -

More great Bolivia experiences

The road just outside Sucre. The roads during the rain season are not (read NOT) in good condition... The rock slides are common and buses have to navigate around them almost every 50 meters.

Many taxi drivers in Bolivia use imported cars, so they have to move the steering wheel over to the left side. This picture is taken from the right front seat.

Strange bridge found near a village. Image taken just before a bunch of dogs decided to go after us.

Even more fantastic bridge, found between Sucre and Potosi - styled after some fantasy castle:

A fitting ending to the bizarre country and landscape tour, the closest thing on Earth to the "Salvador Dali-Land" theme park.


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