Well when we booked the trek we didn't know it was the deepest canyon in the world. lol So day one we met our group and our amazing guide, Nester and enjoyed a power lunch before beginning our hike down. We were told that today would be the EASY day! lol The path was straight down, hugging the cliff for 4 hours,and the views were amazing, possibly the most amazing place in the world. Well after we reached the bottom and crossed over the river it was 1 hour straight up to the home of the villagers we stayed with. We were exhausted, everything hurt and I was sure I lost a toenail. The family was very nice and accommodating and the kitchen was over run by guinea pigs, lol apparently they live there until they get chosen as a tasty treat for dinner YUM.
The first part of Day 2 was spent hiking deeper into the canyon to reach the Oasis at the bottom. Along the way we made a stop at a local villagers house to enjoy chi chi the local beer made from fermented corn. They also had a small museum there where a local woman showed us how they live off the land, from an animal skin as a water bottle to a sling shot for killing dinner made out of grass. It made us realize the extent to how easy we have it. We continued the hike to the oasis, along the way our guide pointed out different plants and their medicinal uses. He also warned us on a plant along the trail that is filled with an acid that causes blindness. It would have been nice for him to have pointed out this plant at the beginning of the hike lol. We arrived at the oasis for some swimming and a machupicchu (huge) lunch as our guide calls it. Then came the hike back up, our guide informed us that it would be straight up for 4 hours at a fast pace. He then informed us that we had the option of hiring a mule (Inka elevator) for the ride up. Being an adventurous group, we all decided that we would accept the challenge. Those mules were stubborn lol but we definitely enjoyed our ride to the top. We walked bull legged into town and checked into our hostels, where we enjoyed possibly the best hot shower of our lives.
We couldn't get enough of hiking so early the next morning to stretch our screaming legs we took off on another 2 hour hike. Then back on the bus headed to a much deserved hot springs bath! Then back on the road headed back to Arequipa, we were told of a drop off point on the way back where we could catch a bus to Puno and save 4 hours of traveling time. So the bus stops on the side of the road in a 3 building town and drops us and our bags off. It was bitterly cold. There were no people, no animals and no plants, except for a tumble weed and one spanish speaking police officer. Who turned out to be very kind, he let us wait in his "station" which was one chair and one light bulb powered by a generator. He explained that he had no money to fill the generator with gas, so we helped him out. He was extremely thankfully and 20 min's later he flagged down a bus headed to Puno. Well the bus was full, but our smooth talking officer got us a seat up front. Way up front, I sat in the bus drivers sleeping bunk and Teddy made himself comfortable in the hallway next to me. We were so excited to have a ride to Puno, it was no telling how long we might have stayed in that town. The driver was very kind and after 3 hours moved us to 2 available seats in first class!
We arrived in Puno and slept for 2 days straight, saw Lake Titicaca and headed off to Cusco. The altitude had its effects us on as well, since we were 14,000 ft up, so we enjoyed Peru's greatest crop Coca. The tea cured the nausea immediately, although it had a strange side effect of making us want to dance to techo at 4AM lol
Cusco is a beautiful city, we found a great deal on a hostel that turned out to be immediately over an all night Disco, I'm not sure if it was the language barrier but it was not mentioned at time of check in lol
The third day we were here Peru went on strike against their President, which meant that all transportation and business were not running. This happened to be extremely bad timing for Teddy. Soon after lunch Teddy began to experience severe stomach cramps that persisted for over two hours. We were concerned that it may be his appendix so we decided it would be best to go the the clinic. But unfortunately we had no way of getting there, so brave Teddy took off walking. We made it about 4 blocks when I stopped into a pharmacy to ask directions, after seeing Teddy where I had left him, rolling around in pain on the side walk they called us an ambulance. So in the ambulance (a minivan) we went to the hospital (a house). Luckily the doctor spoke english and assured us that his spleen was intact. After a serious of tests the doctor returned with the result (and pain medicine). She informed us that Teddy had two parasites and a "touch of salmonella" she said with a grin. lol Luckily the fee for the ambulance included the return trip and it dropped us back off at our hostel. Who knows what pills we have been giving him, but we are happy to report that he is amoeba free and eating again! We love third world adventures!!!! With Teddy feeling better we have been exploring the ruins and churches in the city.
Thank god for penicillin,
Brooklyn and Teddy
From Arequipa we booked a leisurely 3 day hike of Colca Canyon (so we thought). We took an early morning bus for 5 hours to Colca Canyon. We stopped at a look out point to admire the condors, which are huge vulture like birds that span over 8 feet wide. It was amazing to see them flying right above you with the backdrop of the deepest canyon in the world.