Aussies in Arequipa

Trip Start Aug 11, 2009
Trip End Sep 30, 2010

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Where I stayed
Koala hostel

Flag of Peru  ,
Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Arequipa is another beautiful colonial city, complete with impressive central square and cathedral set amongst cobbled streets. There is a monastery which is like a walled city in itself, and a museum containing the Inca child sacrifice, found mummified in ice high up in the mountains.

From Arequipa we depart for our trek to into the Colca Canyon, the second deepest in the world at 3500m, although our trek takes us into a shallower part. Our group is 3 - us and Alan the other Perth-ite - he is not impressed that everyone keeps asking if he is our Papa. Our guide Miguel has not slept the previous night, and is dancing to Michael Jackson on the bus...
Our first day is 6 hours of trekking - sounds easy until you factor in the starting altitude of 3800m, the descent which is 1500m and the fact that we had to get up at 3am for the bus out to the canyon. Within the first half hour I manage to slip and fall with my knee twisted under me which adds to the fun for the next 2 days (well at least I didn't have to run the city to surf eh dad?)
We passed through villages where they farm the steep hillsides in row upon row of terraces with a comprehensive irrigation system and stay overnight at the "oasis" - a lush green patch at the bottom of the canyon complete with swimming pools and palm trees. The second day is a hard 2 hour trek back uphill before we get breakfast, although there is some satisfaction in overtaking the other group who are begging their guide for a rest break. Though I should probably add that Bevan was carrying my bag as well as his own for half the way.
For the return bus, we get stuck with another group of loud complaining backpackers who don't want to stop at any of the viewpoints or hot springs on the way. We stop in a pleasant town for lunch, which was a very poor area until the influx of tourists in the last 10 years. While the others go to restaurante tourismo for lunch, we visit the pretty main square and I get to cuddle a baby alpaca from a traditionally dressed local Peruvian lady. On the way back to town, we stop for a view of the Andes at a viewpoint at an altitude of 4900m - starting to get headachey now.

Tomorrow we have tickets booked for the bus to La Paz, Bolivia.
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