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  • Day33

    30/05/17-02/06/17 Arequipa/Colca Canyon

    June 2, 2017 in Peru ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

    30/05/17-02/06/17 Arequipa/Colca Canyon

    We took an overnight bus from Cusco to Arequipa. The journey took 10 hours and we both slept the majority of the way. I think it's safe to say all our trekking well and truly wiped us out!

    Arequipa is the second largest city in Peru, although it does not feel like it. It is a colonial city, surrounded by snow topped volcanoes, some of which are still active. The is a large cathedral in their main square and lots of palm trees. It is a pretty city.

    On our first day we decided to try our hands at some Peruvian cooking and attended a cooking class. We learnt to make cerviche, as well as some fried fish in a pisco (the Peruvian's choice of liquor) sauce. The best thing about the class was that we got to sample our food at the end. It was delicious and, if we can find the right kind of fish at home, will definitely try to recreate them at home!

    Some girls we met during our cooking class recommended a Gelateria and so we decided to sample some gelato for pudding. They were right, it was incredible, and we ended up going every day we were in Arequipa. An Italian lady we met agreed it was some of the best gelato she had had before, so it must have been good!

    On our second day we visited one of the museums. In 1996, some archaeologists discovered the frozen body of a girl aged around 12 years old on one of the volcanoes. Amazingly, despite dying 500+ years ago, all of her internal organs had been preserved and scientists have been able to find out more about the Incas in regards to diet, diseases etc as a result. They named her Juanita. She was on display in the museum, kept frozen at -20 degrees. They found bodies of 4 other children nearby, that were not so well preserved. This is all quite controversial, as the other bodies had offerings around them, which has led to the assumption that the Incas used children as human sacrifices to their gods to prevent the volcanoes from erupting. It was all very interesting.

    During our visit the museum, we had to be evacuated for an earthquake drill. Something neither of us have been apart of before!

    In the afternoon we visited a monastery, dating back to the 1500s. It covered 5 acres of land and was like a small gated community within the city. It felt very European, and was again very interesting. A little bit of quiet away from the city. Some of the original nuns belongings were still inside it, and their rooms had been left as they were.

    That evening we walked up to a view point of the city. It was a bit underwhelming. But gave us a chance to appreciate just how large and sprawling Arequipa is.

    The following day, we did a two day hike of the Colca Canyon - because we haven't done enough hiking! The Colca Canyon is the worlds second deepest canyon, and is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon.

    Near to the beginning of our hike we stopped at a point to see some condors. They were very impressive, and it gave Tom the opportunity to partake in one of his favourite past times - attempting to take pictures of moving objects.

    The first day we mainly hiked downhill. The conditions were very different to our Salkantay trek, with dessert landscapes, clear blue skies and temperatures of mid to late 20s. It was hot work!

    We hiked down to an oasis at the bottom of canyon where we were to spend the night. There was a swimming pool there which was much appreciated! The accommodation was pretty basic and we had no lights and a straw roof. The stars were beautiful though and we both slept surprisingly well.

    We started trekking the 1100m back to the top of the canyon at 5am to avoid walking in the sun too much. And watched the sun rise as we trekked. We both felt that our fitness has improved as a result of all our hikes! It was still challenging though.

    On our way back to Arequipa, we stopped off at some more hot springs to ease our aches and pains as well as some viewing points, which gave us some spectacular views.

    On our arrival back to Arequipa we treated ourselves to one last gelato!
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