A Travellerspoint blog

Cusco and the Sacred Valley

-17 °C

Another early morning start saw us on the first of our internal flights from Arequipa to Cusco. We checked into our hotel and started to wonder down the many little streets. We were gearing ourselves up for plenty of ruins, history and culture! The following day we headed to the sacred valley for a tour of two Inca ruins before finishing up in Ollayamtambo where we would get our final chance of some decent sleep, before starting the Inka Trail.

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A cobbled Cusco streets

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Getting ready for a night out

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Nic and some Inca foundations

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Chilling out at Inca ruins

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Posted by nicdavid 15:40 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Colca Canyon

Heading to the second deepest in the world!

-17 °C

We left early in the morning and became very disoriantated by the time we reached the hostel in the mountains. We passed over a saddle that topped out at 5000m / 16,400ft! The highest either of us had been.....a piece of cake!!! We were a little tired the next day due to a restless night sleep at 3650m, still, we perservered and headed over to Condor Crush and the canyon.

We couldn´t have timed it better...as we arrived these huge birds (3m wingspan) were all over the place. We counted 16 at one point and were starting to get worried that they might try and pick Nic off and feed her to their young!!! After spending an hour with the birds, we took a stroll along the canyon´s edge and admired the massive drop down, down, down into the valley!

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Condor!

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Us at the top of the canyon

After a fantastic two days, we caught the bus back into Arequipa, however, this wasn´t going to be as easy as we hoped.....

A transport strike was under way making it impossable to pass certain points. Huge rocks had been dropped from the mountainsides onto the road, with a few protestors remaining behind to throw more down if anyone dared pass..... We managed to avoid rocks through the windows with some very careful driving. A point was then reached where we simply could not go any further. We waited and waited to see what would happen until eventually we strapped everything to our backs and headed towards the commotion. It was starting to get dark as we walked gingerly through all the boulders and broken glass. Lots of people were high up either side of us looking very amused at this group of confident tourists. With smoke billowing from burnt tyres and hoards of locals discussing the days events, we emerged the other side greeted by fellow tourists who were taking pictures of us!!! They were trying to get to the side we just came from!!!

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Makeshift roadblock!

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The bit we had to walk through...

After a quick regroup and an hour of trying to bribe police and locals alike, we managed to get an escort through all the back roads. This involved crossing train lines, through extremely bumpy dirt roads, crossing dry river beds and even more protestors who at one point surrounded the van!! We did sustain a puncture from one of the metal bars these people were proding the van with, but we eventually made it to the hotel safe and sound if not a little shaken!!!!

Posted by nicdavid 15:05 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Arequipa

Starting to Aclimatize

-17 °C

After quite a surprisingly comfortable night bus we arrived in Arequpia early doors breaming with energy! We dropped our gear off and headed into town for a couple of sights we had already read about. The first was Santa Catalina Monestary which dated from the 16th century. This was a very tranquil place and it was good to be away from the hustle and bustle of Peru´s second largest city. We also visted a frozen mummy called Juanita, who had been frozen through high up in the volcanic peak that loomed in the background - she was offered as a sacrifice! Poor little lass, they reckon she had a thump to the head before hand.... we all have to make sacrifices I guess!!!!

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Arequipa main square

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David chilling in Santa Catalina

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Nic finding her way in Santa Catalina

For the rest of the day we pottered around the beautiful city centre and watched the protesters from the first of many strikes to come. We tried to get to bed early that evening because we had to leave early (2am) the following morning to get to the Colca Canyon and avoid more protestors!

Posted by nicdavid 14:47 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Nasca

Peru

sunny -17 °C

Fortunatley David was back with the living as we´d planned a vist iver the Nasca Lines. We first visited a 1000 year old cemetry, here we could see quite a few mummified remains due to the preservation of the desert. Unfortunately most of it was reconstructed as it had been raided by grave robbers, but we got the idea!

Then it was time for what we´d been waiting for! The airport!!! We squeezed into a teeny tiny biplane and chugged down the runway. It was a little wobbly at first but we were soon flying and could see the Nasca desert and surrounding mountains.

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We could see lots of lines and patterns on the ground below us and then we started to see more. We spotted the monkey, humming bird and astronaut to name a few. It was quite surreal seeing these huge carvings in the ground below us. By the time the plane landed our stomachs were all over the place but what an experience!

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We finished of another busy day by eating raw fish and chilling out beside the pool before catching a night bus to Arequipa....

Posted by nicdavid 16:01 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Pisco

Peru

sunny -17 °C

We arrived in Pisco quite late so we all ate together and a few continued the night away. The chosen drink here is, hence the name of the town (!), Pisco. It´s a brandy type of drink (40-44%) and when mixed with lemon juice, egg whites and sugar becomes Pisco Sour. Very nice and very lethal. David discovered this in the only way possible...

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Juan pouring our piscos!

The following day we climbed aboard the bus and set off to an Oasis via Paracus national park. Despite his delicate state, David opted to go sandboarding and dune buggying - Nic still can´t believe he wasn´t ill! To be amongst huge sand dunes (infact the hightest in the world is reportably located there!) was incredible. The fact you could admire the scenery from two different perspectives added to the experience - namely hurtling yourself, head first, at some serious speed, down these dunes on a very shiny wooden boards! This was just a tad(!) quicker than in NZ!

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This was generally a relaxing place where we could have lunch and chill out infront of water in an extremely dry environment.

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We also visited a winery that produces the now dreaded Pisco (David kept well back from the tasting!). Unfortunatley we didn´t get the chance to see around the factory so it was similiar to the other wineries we´ve visited - except of course this was quite picturesque being in Peru and all!

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David sat out the wine tasting!

Posted by nicdavid 15:58 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

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