I Said "No More Mountains", So He Made Me Climb...

Trip Start Sep 16, 2012
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Trip End Mar 03, 2013


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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

...Down and Up The Worlds Deepest Canyon Instead!

I didn't realis I'd signed up for boot camp Mr Wilcock...as you may guess I wasn't so fussed about trekking through the canyon. We've done a lot of trekking on this trip so I thought perhaps we could go and stay in a nice little hostel and see the condors and the views of the canyon. Instead we walked for 8 hours to the oasis right at the bottom of the canyon, stayed overnight in a little hut and then walked/crawled up the steep side if the canyon for 3 hours at 5 o'clock in the morning! It was really hard work but the scenery was beautiful and there was the bonus of a swimming pool in the oasis. Within about 5 mins of arriving at the oasis I was in! I may occasionally have a little moan about all the things Alasdair gets me doing but in actual fact they are normally the most memorable and fun to look back at and also I achieve things that I thought I would never do or be able to do!

The Colca canyon and its it's 4,160m depth is very beautiful, there's a few little villages scattered through the canyon that we passed, most with no roads in or out or any electricity. One village recently and finally gained access to electricity and the villages further in to the canyon are on their way to getting there. We saw the poles that 10 men have to carry one by one down the canyon by hand...they are made of hard stuff around here! All other day to to day supplies are brought in on mules.

Before heading to the Colca canyon we had a fair time in Arequipa, again a lovely city with a very grand central square. Unfortunately I wasn't well so we didn't do much whilst we were there...the worst thing was that Alasdair got whatever I'd had on the day that we climbed up the canyon at 5am...climbing the canyon feeling well was hard enough so I'm amazed he got up it if he felt anything like I did! But he made it because he is stubborn like that. I would have given up and taken a mule. There's no photos of us going up as I was too exhausted to take any!

During our trip to the canyon, we stopped at the popular cruz del condor as this is where the condors nest, unfortunately the weather wasn't great so we didn't get to see them up close, flying on the thermals. On the way back through we saw a few in the distance as we made our way to Chivay for lunch. Chivay seemed like a lovely little town, Alasdair couldn't face lunch so he sat outside and ended up being invited in to the locals festival celebrations in a little courtyard. They were drinking beer, throwing water bombs and playing music with drums and Peruvian recorders. They were having a fab time! A lovely local lady on our bus tried to help Alasdair feel better, she gave him this liquid to rub on his stomach (smelt like alcohol) and then some newspaper to wrap around his tummy. Not sure how effective it was but very kind of her to help!

After lunch we started to make our way back to Arequipa with a stop at the hot springs to soak our aching bodies! The next day, with Alasdair feeling a bit better we explored the city and had a traditional Andean potato dish for dinner, it was delicious (potato and cheese essentially - one of my favourites!) That evening we boarded our last long distance bus of the trip...12 hours to Nazca!

I doubt there was much in Nazca before they found the lines because there's not much there now! We decided to take it easy and stay 2 nights, giving us time to work out the safest plane to go up in to see the lines from above for ourselves. We were picked up and in the sky by 9.30am, soon making sharp turns left and right in our little 5 seater plane so that each side could make out the shapes in the ground. It's was an awesome experience and its unbelievable how they were most likely created between 400 and 600 AD! I think that there are several hundred discovered lines around Nazca, we saw 13 in our 30 minute flight... my favourite was the humming bird. It was around 32 degrees in Nazca so it was a bit hot to be wandering around the town so we opted to sit by the swimming pool in the poshest hotel in town...you could pay a couple of quid to use the pool -perfect way to spend an afternoon in the sunshine!

From Nazca we took a short bus journey (4 hours) to the little town of Paracas on the coast.
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