This and That

December 30, 2010

Day 6-7 Colca Canyon-Arequipa

On Day 6, after a hearty breakfast, we left for Colca Canyon in our pre-arranged van. We had 2 more couple traveling with us. It takes about 6 hours to reach Yanque. We have to take the mountain roads to reach there. The highest elevation we see on the way is 4900m. While Yanque is at around 3200m. So on the winding roads we drove and we saw a whole bunch of wild life like lama, vicuñas, alpacas, flamingoes, ibises, Andean geese, ducks and Andean eagles.

The elevation and the winding roads causes altitude sickness to a lot of people. Friend R and utbt got sick. The driver of our van did some alcohol massage on R’s face and it helped her. The rest of us were fine chewing coca leaves and drinking coca tea. The guide was very friendly and informative. At 4900 meter we stopped for some rest, bio-break and coca tea. The rest-room was really well maintained in that land of nowhere. We reached Chivay and breaked for lunch. Had an Andean lunch at Chivay while friend R rested and utbt was fasting . The food was pretty decent. We had rice, some chutneys, fruits(the bananas were yum), quinoa, potato curry, salads, banana fritters, etc since 85% of our group was vegetarians. Then left for lodge in Yanque. The lodge was very rustics overlooking the canyon along with its terraces. There were hammocks that the kids enjoyed. Since R and utbt were sick, husband, myself and utbt’s husband R left for a 3 hour hike along with our guide and 2 other guests. The guide didn’t know English and we didn’t know Spanish and we used sign-language most of the time. The hike was wonderful. Our guide’s dog, Oso also followed us. The hike took us through multiple bridges, the canyons, Inca terraces with maize, corn and beans. We were able to see the Colcas(storage bins) on the side of the canyon where the Incas used to store their produce.

After 2 hours of hike stopped at hot springs and husband had a nice hot bath while friend and I roamed around clicking pictures. Then we walked via a delicate bridge one at a time crossing the canyon and reached the hotel in an hour. Our guide’s dog Oso refused to cross the bridge, so our guide had to carry him.

We reached the hotel and had hot soup and dinner and called it a wonderful day. Next day, after an early breakfast left for Condor’s cross to witness the crossing of the Condors. We waited for an hour for the Condors and finally 1 showed up. In June, typically 20 plus Condors show up, but since it was nesting season when we visited, we were lucky to see the one. The drive to Condor’s cross was also beautiful. The kids were very patient and waited for the condor.

On the way, back, we stopped at Chivay again for breakfast. The Andean buffet lunch this time was not very veg-friendly, but we were able to manage with plain rice and fruits. We reached our hotel at around 4pm. Then utbt, my husband and I left to see the Museo Santuarios Andinos in Arequipa. The Mummy Juanita, the ice maiden is a well-preserved body of a young teenage girl who was sacrificed on top of Mount Ampato around the mid 15th century. They also have the umbilical cord preserved in corn alcohol. Wish the Incas had written it all down.

After some grocery shopping in the plaza, we came back to the hotel to hot dinner of Maggi noodles prepared by utbt’s husband and friend R’s husband. The next day, after an early breakfast, we left for Lima.

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