06.08.2007 - 10.08.2007 22 °C
We arrived in Arequipa after the night bus tired and cramped so the following day we all just chilled out around the town. Its a well cool place and we managed to find an irish pub called Farrens - Hugh farren gers mate who owns farrens pub in Malin Head Donegal, would have been proud! so yes we stayed for beers and to sample their famous farrens burger...we even seen santa!
The main square and general town is gorgeous and we could have chilled out here for a week, shopping was great as well and i did my best to buy as much as we could post home! Another early start the following morning though meant snacks and a movie in bed for me and ger - just what the doctor ordered though as we were up at 6 to go to the Colca Canyon the next morning.
We met our guide Hilda who told us all about the canyon and the altitude... all 4920metres of it! Apparently to stave off altitude sickness though cocoa leaves are given to you to suck and chew in your mouth as people can get very ill from the altitude, the leaves however were pure minging... so me and Ger just stuck to water! We were actually grand and when we reached the highest point - Patawasi, we all got to get out of the bus and make a wish and build some rocks that would be a gift to the canyon/mountain... oh yeah and i also had the novelty of using the highest loo in Peru!
Some of the others in the group didnt take too well though to the altitude and were very sick so a few stops were made along the way, but we didnt mind as the views and scenery were stunning and there were small little stalls and markets the whole way selling all their hand made crafts, the kids were gorgeous too, they all just look like wee Dora the explorers!, some got so upset because they wanted to come with us! ahhh
The road signs had also changed on the way!!
We were staying at a lodge that night in Coporaique in the canyon called Mama Yacchi´s and the place was fab, the views from our room alone were stunning, they even had their own pet Lama that roamed about the grounds and got bottlefed each morning... his name was spot!
We had a practice hike up the mountain that afternoon as a way to see if we would be ok for the forthcoming inca trail! All was cool though and we got to see the sunset, visit an old religious burial ground and met some interesting characters along the way - one lady who looked like a nice version of the wicked witch of the west from the wizard of oz! The kids however were funny as they would dance and sing for us at any opportunity and they were all dressed in traditional clothing- so cute!
After a gorgoeous buffet dinner that night and a quick dip in their hot springs we had an early night as we were leaving at 4am the following morning to go and watch the early morning flight of the condors in the canyon valleys... Even though this was well painful, it was so worth it as the views were amazing and there were loads of condors in flight , we could have stayed there all day just watching them glid about the place, and we also met a wee dog at Maca on the way!
Unfortunately though we were headed back to Arequipa that afternoon as we needed to get prepped about our 4 day inca trail to Machu Picchu, which for me and Ger was the main event!!