Gillybeans Overseas Year Out Break Travel Holiday Thing travel blog



Down into the cañon

Down into the cañon



Path up out of the cañon

Bottom of the cañon

Our hut for the night

The oasis


Valley of the condors

Me...very cold





Mount Misti - start of the Amazon

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Colca Cañon

Sunday 1st July 2007

Checked out of my hotel and went in search of a bus ticket to Cabañaconde which wasn't as easy as it should have been. There was an empty tourist bus Terminal which sold expensive tickets and a crowded local terminal for economy tickets. I had to walk away from one guy who spoke the most ridiculously fast spanish I had ever heard and claimed not to understand me....he soon chased after me and offered me a price for a ticket once I stormed off in the queue of the competition! So I managed to get on the overnight so I could walk in the Colca Canyon and then booked my ticket out to Nasca for two days time. Having had lots of quotes I went to the posh Terminal to ask there too and ended up buying at the same company who had quoted me in the locals Terminal. Only now they wanted 120 instead of 40. When I challenged that I got ¨oh that's economico, you want that¨, well why would I pay 3 times the price for the same seat! So once that was all done I spent the day in Arequipa sightseeing, speedwalking and avoiding standing anywhere seeing as that seemed to cause a swarm of postcard sellers, beggars, restauranters throwing menus in my face and people trying to sell me things! Met a young Canadian couple on the night bus who had paid their guide $70 each to go on a two day hike and they were still on the same local bus as me that cost 12 pesos and didn't seem impressed with the ever increasing conditions. Must admit its the first time I have slept on a bus whilst a woman sat in the aisle using my arm as a pillow!?!

Monday 2nd July 2007

Arrived at 6am in Cabañaconde and walked with the guide and the Canadian couple to their hostel. As they were offered breakfast and the tiredness set in I found their tour more appealling. I asked to come along and Sanchez the guide said the more the merrier - just not sure about cost seeing as I got myself there but nothing was mentioned. So after our eggs we headed out of town for the Cañon with Andres (who funnily never challenges me when I call him Sanchez as I was told was his name but the two Canadians!?!). It was a pretty steep climb down, concerning more for the mules that pass you regardless (move or else was the advice) than the fact we will eventually have to climb up to get out. We reached the river at the bottom to cool our feet after a couple of hours and then headed across the bridge for lunch at a hospedaje. Had a nice siesta and then continued on further up the valley floor stopping at locals shops to buy water. It's incredible to think people have sustainable lives all the way down there. There are villages, churches and schools. Andres told us about the big earthquake that they had here a few years ago with the canyon walks just shook for about 5 minutes. We arrrived at our Oasis for the night just before sun down and had dinner before retiring to bed at 7pm...well it was going to be a 2am rise for the climb up!

Tuesday 3rd July 2007

Up at 2.30am to climb 1400mtrs (up!) in 3 hours - couldn't beleive I am doing this again after Huanya Potosi but at least the maximum altitude is 3300mtrs. It wasn't actually that bad. I had slept really well after all yesterdays walking and even the animal I heard outside my room didn't keep me awake long - especially as I thought it was a pig - it didn't even dawn on me at the time that all domestic animals are tied up! As I had drifted back to sleep I thought all the growling noises I heard were in a dream but the guide told me he woke when he "could practically feel the breath of a big cat over him in bed last night". Can't beleive I thought it was a pig and went back to sleep, I could have stared a mountain cat in the face through the what now seemed rather large gaps in my cane walled hut! I don't know earthquakes, big cats....what do I do, sleep!

Anyway after around half an hour the other two appeared from their beds and asked "is there anywhere we can buy water"? Even the guide almost laughed, I mean we're at the bottom of the worlds second deepest 2.30am and you need to buy something!?! They weren't too impressed that there was no water until 2 hours up the slope (pretty sure that's why we stopped at the local shop yesterday but someone clearly got guzzly in the night!) and set off to "oh my mouths so dry" as I chomped on my chocolate and necked half my bottle of water. And what do they do next, with half a ltr of water between them? Having paid a local guy to use his mule to carry their packs up the hill, ten minutes later...."oh is that mule going to wait for us we left out food and water in the packs?" I happly opened my bottle of coke and carried on walking - I was not feeling particularly charitable at 3am in the dark on a mountainside with dumb and dumber here! Andres was starting to lose it and told them we could stop and eat our apples in ten minutes. Eight minutes later..."he said ten minutes like half an hour ago"! I tell you there's nothing like a couple of winging kids to speed up your walking at this time of day. I asked them when we stopped if they had seen or heard the animal last night, and all I got was "oh no, I sprayed the hut completely so nothing would have come near"! Did they hear me right, we're talking big cat, not big bug!!!! Oh well.

The walk up went reasonably quickly and we finally stopped for water from a lady sat on the mountainside in the dark. Got back to Cabanaconde for sun rise and boarded the bus to the Condor viewing site. It took a while to see any and they didn't come as close as they sometimes do but they were a phenomenol site none the less, leaving huge shadows on the cliff sides as they flew below us. It was then back on a bus to go to the hot springs (which I skipped in favour of some lunch) and we were back on the bus to Arequipa. Oh and final idiot comment of the day, sorry but I have to! Andres is pointing out of the window to Mt Mismi which he tells us is the starting point of the Amazon, something I find fascinating, I mean that ice melt ends up all those thousands of miles away...but what does the lad say as he's staring off down the bus at the video being put on...."is this going to me in English or Spanish". Sanchez just turned around and took a siesta.

We got back to Arequipa late afternoon and I got a shower at the couples hotel. Andres asked to meet me for a drink to celebrate his 40th birthday which is today. I took that as a combined invite and included they Canadians but they didn't show. I was starting to get cold feet and wasn't entirely sure I was in the right spot to meet and just headed off to the bus station with my bags. Next thing I know Sanchez is tapping on the internet cafe window at the bus station. He came in to ask why I hadn't met him and explained he had looked for me at the hotel and then dashed here in a taxi to tell me to take care in Nasca as it isn't safe! Very glad I didn't go for a drink now and made my excuses to go out to my bus (which wasn't ready so I spent half an hour sat on the pavement!) but it was definitely the right decision given the email he sent me the next day going on about the colour of my eyes in the canon star light!?!? You have to laugh!

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