Colca Canyon

Trip Start Sep 07, 2011
Trip End Sep 06, 2012

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Yet again, not a great start to the morning. I went to bed last night at 9 pm and set my alarm for 2 am.  I fell fast asleep on my alarm and some how, it didn't go off.  I was woken up by some one getting up themselves in the room and when I looked at the time, it was 2.30 am.  Never have I lept out of my bed so fast and got ready.  Luckily, when I got downstairs, Mel was ready and waiting, but the bus didn't come until 3 am.  Panic over!!

We had to go and pick a few other people up around the town before we headed off on our 5 hour journey to the canyon.  We were told to wear warm clothes for the morning, but as the day went on it would become hot so have cool clothes too. 

We were given blankets on the bus which we all thought was a nice touch, until well into the journey where there was ice inside the windows and the bus had no heating.  On top of that, the driver had his window open to keep him awake.  To say we were cold was an understatement.  We all thought we would be able to get some sleep on the bus but not a chance being so cold.  I had the blanket pulled over my head and I still couldn't get warm.

The first stop of the day was a surprise to all of us as it was not on the agenda.  It was at the top of the mountains where we were well over 4,000 metres above sea level.  This was at 6.30 am and all I had on my feet were flip flops.  I had brought warm socks with me for the bus journey, but that was all.  We stopped here to see the sun rise and to take photo's.  Not many people got off of the bus and I don't blame them!

After making a stop to buy our entrance ticket to the canyon, we stopped for breakfast in this quaint little town. We got talking to our guide (still to this day do not know what his name was) just to find out exactly what is happening today and if we are going to get any colder.  He did apologise for the bus being cold.  He did not know that there would not be any heating!!

There were going to be about 4 stops during the rest of the day.  the main one being the canyon and the others at view points and towns for photo's.

The next stop was in a very small town.  We were there for about 15 minutes.  I think this was a tourist trap as there was a woman with some sort of eagle tied to a post and you could have your photo taken with the bird, as long as you gave her some money!!  There were a couple of little shops where you could waste your money and a church for more photo's.

The drive to the canyon was lovely was we were driving along one side of the valley.  There were lots of old Inca farming walls along the way to the canyon, with small little villages dotted around.

We finally reached the canyon around 10.30 am.  It was a beautiful sight, however, I would not call it a canyon, more like a valley really.  I know I have not seen the Grand Canyon, but I have seen photo' and TV programmes to know what a canyon looks like.  Our guide did tell us that the deepest point of the canyon is about 65 kms further along the road from where we are.  Maybe it looks more like a canyon there.  Me and Mel had a wander around and took loads of photo's.  Sorry if they all look the same, but from every viewpoint, it did really look the same.

We spent around 45 minutes there before we were back on the bus and making a couple more stops back down the road at view points over the valley.

Lunch time was back in the town where we stopped for breakfast.  As me and Mel didn't want to eat in the tourist restaurant, we had a little wander around the town and bought some street food.  I had this amazing potato, which had been stuffed with other vegetables and some sort of meat, maybe alpaca, maybe lamb, not sure but it tasted good.

The last part of the tour which was optional, but we wanted to go, was to the hot thermal springs.  Our guide was trying to get us to change our minds as there was an American couple on our bus who were kicking up a fuss as they had to be back in Arequipa to catch a flight.  We were due back around 5.30 - 6 pm anyway.  We found out that their flight wasn't until 8.50 pm and it was an internal flight, so that made us determined to go to the thermal pools.  We did go and we tried our hardest to kidnap the guide so we could stay longer.  The girls (Mel and Kelly (from Oz) told me that the guide had a massive crush on me as he had not left me alone all day.  I had noticed a little but didn't take any notice of it.  So we played on that then and managed to squeeze another 10 minutes out of him at the pools.

To be honest, the pools were the best bit of the trip.  We should have come here first thing after being at the top of the mountains so we could all defrost!

The journey back to Arequipa was slow but nice.  We drove back through the mountains, the way we came this morning, but at least we could see it this time.  When we arrived back at Arequipa, the guide asked me if I wanted to meet up with him for a drink.  I told him we were meeting friends at 7 pm for food, but he was adamant that he was going to be at the fountain in the main square at 8 pm waiting for me.  He was nice enough and quite fit, but again, far too short. 

We arranged with Kelly to meet up in the main square as Me and Mel were meeting Tom and Surya for dinner.  After we had finished, we had to walk back through the main square and it was just after 8 pm.  I obviously had to hide, so luckily for me, on the outskirts of the square, there are pillars every metre or so.    So every pillar I would hide behind, take a quick look and then run to the next one so he didn't see me if he was there.  It was hilarious.  Shame really.  If I wasn't catching a bus at 5.30 am in the morning, then perhaps I would have gone out for a drink with him. He could have been my Inca king!!

I cannot believe I have yet another early start tomorrow and I have been up since 2.30 am this morning. When am I going to have a decent nights sleep?   To be continued!
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