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Canyon do it?

no Laura can't!


We caught a taxi to the bus station where we bought two sets of bus tickets. One for our immediate trip to Chivay and secondly for two days time to Cusco on an overnight bus as we would have to return to Arequipa to get there. In Chivay we had to catch another bus as we wanted to stay in a place called Cabanaconde the last village in the Colca Canyon. The canyon itself is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon and on some of its sides there are extensive pre-Colombian terraced fields which are still in use.

By the time we arrived in Cabanaconde it was dark and even darker than usual because there was a power cut. We were met off the bus by a smiley fellow called Juan who spoke good English with a slightly bizarre accent that reminded me of Lloyd Groseman and although we usually wouldn't allow ourselves to be guided he won us over and we followed him up to the hostel he worked at. It ended up being a good choice, we got a nice room for good price, the people were very friendly, there was a pizza oven and to top it off, three cats! We settled in, had a lovely pizza for dinner and then wandered around the small square in the dark before calling it a night.

The following morning we were up reasonably early although we weren't sure what to do. From the village we could walk down in to the canyon and over breakfast we had a bit of chat with Juan and then another guy about our options. He showed us on the map that we could walk down to an oasis which sits at the bottom of the canyon, where there is also accommodation although we wouldn't be staying. In the end we decided we would give it ago, I of course was conscious of my knees and knew if it was really steep I wasn't going to be silly about it and would turn back. We walked down through the village and lots of people said hello, all the little children did, it was certainly one of the friendliest places we've been. In one shop where we were buying some provisions an old couple directed us to a mirador (viewing point) where we decided to head first.


The canyon is quite different from the Grand Canyon, it isn't like a massive hole that just drops away in front of you. Instead there are mountains on either side and the canyon itself is long and thin, the views really are very pretty though but it perhaps wasn't quite what I was expecting.


As we stood there we wondered whether heading down would actually provide any better views then we were getting from this point but we set off nonetheless. First off we walked through some of the pre-Colombian terracing which got quite confusing at points and it would have been easy to get lost. Finally the path down became apparent and we slowly began to descend. It really was very steep and there was bumpy, loose rocks underfoot. After a while I came to the conclusion that it really wasn't worth it, my knees were beginning to hurt and I didn't want to do any damage so we headed back.

At the hostel, not wanting to waste the day, we enquired about hiring a couple of bikes. While we ate some lunch a couple of guys got them out of storage and pumped up the flat tyres. They were in fact really good bikes with 31 gears, one of them had a problem with the brakes but they managed to realign them and soon enough with helmets on we were ready to go. Almost immediately it was tough going as we had to cycle up hill over sand, then the ground became very rocky.


My fitness levels were called into question and after about forty five minutes it began to rain heavily. It seemed silly to continue on any further as we were getting drenched so we headed back.


The rest of the afternoon we hid out from the rain and when it stopped we went into the village for some dinner.

In the morning we caught a direct bus back to Arequipa, it was really busy to begin with and for quite a while we had a little girl standing in front of us as we had the first seats. She was so sweet and Adam gave her his packet of sugar puffs which are a popular snack in Peru. I wanted to ask her mum if she'd like to sit on my lap because I felt bad she was standing up but I didn't know how. When we got to Chivay I gave her a shiny Australian 5 Cent coin which has an Echidna (looks like a hedgehog to me) on it. I know it wasn't worth anything to her money wise but I thought she might appreciate it. Once in Arequipa we left our bags at the bus station and caught a taxi into town. We intended to go to the cinema but there wasn't one where the guidebook said there would be so we decided to see if we could find another one. As we were walking along Adam spotted Yuri on the other side of the road and he'd already clocked us. We walked over and stood chatting for a while, catching up on what each other had been up to. Both Adam and I were hungry so we went off to get some lunch but met up with Yuri at the cathedral at 5pm. He'd only arrived in Arequipa the day before and was planning to head to Cabanaconde the next day so we passed on our advice. Then we all went to the supermarket before once again saying goodbye still thinking we'd see each other again but thus far it hasn't happened. We still had a couple of hours before we needed to head back to the bus station so we indulged at an icecream parlour, sat in one of Arequipa's many churches for a little while and then hailed a taxi.

It was a very professional operation when it came to boarding the bus. Firstly we had to check in our bags, then we went through a vigorous security check. They looked at our passports and hand luggage, videotaped us and finally they look our finger print. The bus itself was very nice and because we'd booked early we had got the front seats so it was a comfortable 10 hour journey to Cusco.

More Soon,
Laura & Adam

Posted by LauHot10 18:05 Archived in Peru Tagged round_the_world

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