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!
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!!!
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!!!!