Trip Start Jun 15, 2004
Trip End Jun 15, 2005

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Monday, April 25, 2005

Monday April 25th 2005
Paid a proper price for the bus to Arrequipá - 15 Soles, and again go through the desolate streets of Juliaca, though at the same time realising Id left my batterys, charger and sunscreeen in our hotel.

Returned to the same hostel as before, and gave Stephen the guided tour of the town, before beating him at pool....

Tuesday April 26th 2005
8am pickup from the hotel, and off in the minibus to the Colca Canyon. Doesnt take us long to leave the main road onto gravel, seeing Vicunas (kind of Llama things), albeit from a distance, as well as some Llamas close up - they are very photogenic.

Then , high into the mountains, and to the highest point I have ever been, at 4900m, and amazingly I dont feel sick! - though you can feel the lack of air. The previous ten minutes of chewing Coca leaves must have helped (though you are meant to chew them for hours, after 10 minutes my mouth had gone numb and I´d had enough). Clearly I have now acclimatized well.

Arrive at the small town of Chivay, basically in the middle of nowhere, and check into a very basic hotel, and then walk up the side of one of the mountains, seeing pre inca terracing, and ancient tombs in the mountainside (all facing the sun) - long since looted, just leaving stacks of bones and skulls all over the place.

The walk itself was surprisingly hard work, but guess the lack of oxygen in the air didnt help. Also see some locals, trotted out in their traditional dress, which is very different from Inka dress, but still colorful

Wednesday April 27th 2005
Woken up at 5.30am, and have a change of guide, as our very good guide, Milli, had to leave as her grandmother had died, and drive to Cruz del Condor, to look into the gaping cnyon that is Colca Canyon, which is meant to be twice as deep as the Grand Canyon.

No actual condors around at first, but as the sun heats up the rocks, they start floating in the thermals, higher and higher, and suddenly there are lots of these huge birds, sailing really close by....but too quick for my camera most of the time.

Usual array of sellers selling high price drinks and snacks, as well as souvenirs, and we have a very brief walk along the top of the canyon - which is nice, but not as awe inspiring as the grand canyon.

The road back seems far worse than the way there, so we are bumped around for 4 hours, with our driver only overtaking on the most risky cliff edges and blind corners.
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