I like my travel to be a little on the bizarre side. I think that’s why I loved Bolivia so much. Every landscape seemed like it was a world apart from anything else on this earth, and at times I felt like I was on another planet entirely. No place best encapsulated that otherworldly ambience than Salar de Uyuni. Racing across the salt flats in a 4x4, it felt like we were in a sci-fi movie, exploring some far-flung corner of another galaxy. But the volcanoes, geysers and salt flats were nothing compared with the weird and wonderful sights of the Witches’ Markets in La Paz. Wandering through the stalls, I wanted to know about every potion, hear all the local legends and taste (most of) the strange delicacies. Exotic, eclectic and more than a little exciting – Bolivia ticked all my travel boxes.
My first glimpse of Chichen Itza is something I'll never forget. I mean, I'd heard about it and seen all the pictures – well, not all of them, I'm sure there are hundreds – but I just wasn't prepared for this. Being able to stand at the base of a gigantic pyramid and look up at its hundreds of steps was inspiring, and we hung around there for hours just soaking it all in. The history is fascinating too; it's great to learn the background of these types of places as it gives them a new level of depth and significance. I can’t believe that the Mayan’s built it thousands of years ago with such primitive tools. I had enough trouble trying to build a shed in my backyard last summer!
Standing on the dusty, scarred mountain I had two views – the picturesque town of Potosi spreading out far below me and the dark mouth of a notorious mine behind me. With a hard-hat placed firmly on my head, I took a deep breath and stepped into darkness. On entering, our guide made an offering to the effigy of a devil - it is reasoned that if god is in the sky then the devil is in the earth - then we ventured deep into the mine, getting a powerful glimpse into the cloyingly hot and dirty life of the miners who work there. As we passed through claustrophobically small tunnels and incredibly steep pathways, we learnt the tumultuous history of Potosi and its people, which is intricately linked to their mines. Even in these grim conditions, the miners we met smiled and joked with us, and when we finally emerged into the brightness, relief, nervous giggles and a sense of privilege overwhelmed us – what a humbling and poignant experience