The trip through the Colca Canyon was a lovely one, though, reminding us why we have enjoyed Peru so very much
. We drove through a National Reserve where we saw vicunas (cousins of llamas), llamas, and alpacas as well as numerous volcanoes in the distance. At one viewpoint we stopped to see about 8 or so volcanoes in the distance, including the one called Ampato where our friend Juanita the Ice Princess was buried (if you read our last blog you are not confused about who Juanita is!). We spent the night in a small town called Chivay where there were some amazing hot spring pools for us to soak in. We went to a very touristy but tasty dinner at a restaurant where there was live Peruvian music (the best we have heard so far) and a dancing show. I had the opportunity to be a dancer for a moment during the specific dance called Chookcho (not sure how to spell it but that is how it sounds phonetically), a dance of Bolivia that acts out what happened from a sickness that is part of the Bolivian history. The pair is dancing and then one pretends to eat a piece of fruit and falls onto the floor and shakes while the partner whips him/her with a braided rope. It is so random!!!! I did the whole deal...laid on the floor and took a beating. It didn't really hurt but then again I was wearing long pants so that helped! Quite a scene. James tried to get some video but since I have been the camera hog most of the trip, he is not as familiar with the video function so managed to get video of the wall by accident!
Another stop we made along this trip was to a small town (name unknown to me) that had a very pretty church and a man with an large eagle that we could take pictures with. Sounds random, I know. Good times had by all.
Heading north from Arequipa towards the mid-section of Peru we joined a 2-day tour to the Canon del Colca. It is the deepest canyon in the world at 10,530 feet. We would have loved to have the time to do a trek down into the canyon but unfortunately could only visit a portion of the canyon from the top, and not at the deepest part either (only 3,690 feet deep). The part of the canyon we visited was specifically to see the Andean condors at a place called Cruz del Condor (cross of the condor). The Andean condors have nests nearby and can be seen swooping down over tourists heads or in our case, cruising by from a distance. The fact that we did see a couple of birds is enough to say that we were not disappointed...however we had hoped to see more condors and from a closer range. What can you do, eh? That is the wild.