Firstly I apologise – there will be no photos for a while as my camera has packed up on me. We have a spare but no lead so you will have to imagine with just the text.
Ok what have we been up to? Oh yes – Colca Canyon. We were picked up (again at some ungodly hour) to go to the canyon. The minibus was full of Peruvians, Japanese, Morrocan and American tourists (12 in all) so we made up quite a bunch. The guide Consuelo was brilliant and we learnt so much during our 2 day trip. The journey out to the canyon took about 5 hours. The scenery included llamas, alpacas and pecunias, flamingoes and rocky dessert like hills. The altitude started to affect everyone in the bus in different ways but we just had heavy heads and felt very sleepy. Cocoa leaf tea is the remedy. It tastes disgusting but really calms your body down – it is only sold in Peru as it is viewed as a drug in other countries. Well it is medicinal after all.
We arrived in Chivay (our overnight town) in the afternoon. The town is nestled deep in a very green valley (the soil is very good for agriculture) and the people here still live a very traditional (and hard) life. After a huge lunch we paid a visit to the local volcanic hot springs. Not as nice as Baldi but had chatted away the afternoon with some Brits we had met on the overnight bus the night berfore. It´s so strange but you keep bumping into the same people on your way round.
The town was in a middle of a fiesta. 3 different brass bands were playing music in the town square and everyone was in traditional dress and dancing. The party went on all night and was still going strong the next morning! We all ate in a restaurant with traditional folk night, a bit corny but when Josh was dragged up to dance and then “whipped” on the floor by a Peruvian lady, well we were all on the floor laughing. A great day but freezing night. It is soo cold – we were given hot water bottles when we got back to the hotel – brrrr!
Up again at 5.30 can you believe. Today we were taken to the canyon itself. The views are amazing. It is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon but it is not as dramatic. The valley is full of Incan grass terraces where food is harvested. It reminded of the rice terraces in Indonesia (I think). A stunning view. We saw the stone that Incans used to map out the terraces and they are still there in the same formation.
The reason for the early start was to see the condors. They are at their best in the morning so by 8.30 we had arrived to watch the amazong huge birds fly. To see them just glide by with the backdrop of the mountains and canyon was something I will never forget. It was so peaceful there – actually quite spiritual. The Incans believed that the condor was responsible for ferrying your soul to heaven so they have always been reveered (that looks wrong). The birds for me will always be linked to the song “Play That Funky Music White Boy” as Youssef was listening to it (loudly) on his i-pod when a huge bird glided over us and seemed to be watching us instead of the other way round. He was ribbed for some time about the choice of music!
The bus was very quiet on our return as we were all so tired from the altitude and slept most of the way. It was a great couple of days and I enjoyed mixing with all the different people – many of whom were also on our bus today to Puno!
Tags: South America, Travel