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Flight Of The Condor

Tuesday, December 11th, 2007

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!

December 8th – Arequipa

Saturday, December 8th, 2007

A first for all of us – the overnight bus. All the guidebooks say they have been hijacked and take at your own risk so you can appreciate I was a little apprehensive. There seemed to be lots of tourists on the bus so wasn’t too worried. We didn’t get on the bus until 11pm and poor Josh had to climb over the guy who had fallen asleep in the aisle seat. This is more difficult as the seats recline so much so he had to slip in at a virtual 90 degree angle. The journey passed without incident and I slept pretty well. We were woken up with breakfast and a view of the mountain pass we were climbing.


Arequipa is a fertile valley surrounded by mountains and a volcano. Yes at last we have a view of the volcano – no lava but it is nice to see the top of one! We checked in to the hotel and slept again. When we felt a bit more human we ventured into the town. I had to take my camera in as it has given up the ghost – I think some sand has got in it. We found a shop that I hope he understood and has taken it in but I do feel at the mercy of the Gods a tiny bit.


Found the supermarket and stocked up and then onto the big yellow tour bus of the city. I love these buses, you are so obviously a tourist riding along in a yeallow double decker with Peruvian music playing to add to the atmosphere. All the kids wave at you and it is so nice to see so many smiles. Many buildings are made from white Volcanic rock and the architecture is quite spectacular. There are quite a few churches and one had a communion/baptism service in progress. We were all invited in and the little girls looked so sweet in their finest satin dresses with their hair all curled. I can’t imagine our country being quite so friendly somehow and it makes me sad. These people have so much less in terms of material things and yet are welcoming, friendly and willing to share their most precious moments with us strangers. The bus took us out into the country and among other things we saw traditional farm workers laden with packs on their backs – tied with sheets. Many women wore the traditional hats and also had babies tied to their backs. There are many fields growing all sorts of crops and cows, llamas and alpacas we saw them all. It got a bit cold on the way back so had to wear my alpaca hat and look like a complete tourist!

December 7th – I’ve Been To The Desert On A Horse With No Name

Saturday, December 8th, 2007

An early start and before we knew it we were flying over the desert in a tiny Cessna plane looking at the Nazca lines. The plane was tiny – just big enough to ... [Continue reading this entry]

December 6th – The Stinky Chronicles

Saturday, December 8th, 2007
How Cute Originally uploaded by roupiesontour
A boat trip today to the poor man’s Galapagos Islands – Ballestas Islands. The boat ... [Continue reading this entry]

December 5th Lima To Paracas

Saturday, December 8th, 2007
Sunset At Paracas Originally uploaded by roupiesontour
The first leg of the tour and a taste of the Peru bus service. ... [Continue reading this entry]

December 4th – Lima

Saturday, December 8th, 2007
Park Of Love - Miraflores Originally uploaded by roupiesontour
We were given a car and a driver yesterday for the afternoon. ... [Continue reading this entry]

Peru – The Land Of Paddington Bear

Saturday, December 8th, 2007
Building Plaza De Armas Originally uploaded by roupiesontour
God I really have learned to hate early morning flights. We were up ... [Continue reading this entry]


Saturday, December 1st, 2007
Uxmal Originally uploaded by roupiesontour
November 30th - Light And Sound We spent most of yesterday travelling back to Merida, via Tulum ... [Continue reading this entry]


Saturday, December 1st, 2007
Memories of Playa. This post is really more for me while it is ... [Continue reading this entry]

Unda Da Sea – The Seaweed Is Always Greener

Saturday, December 1st, 2007
Puerto Morelos Reef Originally uploaded by roupiesontour
November 28th - Puerto Morelos The reef that runs along this coast is the second ... [Continue reading this entry]