Peter and Caroline's Most Excellent Adventure!!!
Over the hills and far away..... We started this part of our adventure in a town called Arequipa. This place is rich in its own reserves and has tried on numerous occasions to declare itself as an independent state - you can even buy Arequipa passport covers here. Everyone in Peru refers to this place as "The White City" two reasons could be: the buildings are made from white stone and the people who live here are whiter than the rest of the population due to european (spanish) parentage. The name Arequipa roughly translated from the old indiginous language means "Yes, you can stay". From here we went on to the Colca Canyon and Valley. It was truelly outstanding. We know we have said this a lot on our travels but really we are running out of words so please just look at the pics and you will see for yourselves!! The people in the highlands look quite different to the other people in Peru. They generally are shorter and have larger backs. The reason for this is because they have larger lungs and hearts than people who live in areas nearer to the sea level. Peter could definitely see the advantage of this evolutionary differences to cope with the altitude as he really suffered the first day in the canyon with altitude sickness. Anyway this didn't stop our fun. We did some serious trekking down the world's deepest canyon in the midday sun (mad dogs and englishmen and all that) - nearly died from heat exhaustion. Forget sun kissed we're talking sun slapped!! We saw some remarkable animals from cute baby donkeys and alpaca to truely massive condors. Interesting to learn how the locals catch them and make them fight with bulls - er whatever!! The food was all grown locally on the terraces and served in typical peruvian highland style. One highlight was the exhibition of local dance at the restaraunt which was different, definitely different, and involved men dressing up as women to woo them and then each dancer taking it in turn to whip the other (yes whip) before sitting on each other and then carrying each other on their shoulders. Yes...we couldn't help but laugh out of shock but I don't think it was meant to be funny - our guide told us it was to represent the closeness the people got to divinity through dancing....to us it looked like some form of bondage but hey ho!! It was definitely a great place to visit and made better by really friendly people and lovely hot spas to mellow into in the evening - bliss!! Anyway next stop is Cuzco the precursor to Machu Pichu.....