Our final stop in Peru was Arequipa, a beautiful city surrounded by volcanic cones, Misti was visible from the roof terrace as we ate breakfast in the sunshine.
Monasterio de Santa Catalina was like a city within the city, almost Tuscan in feel, with painted walls in blue and terracotta.
After a 3am pick up we were off on the Colca Canyon trek, the sight of the condors soaring on the thermals over the canyon banished the cobwebs and cleared our bleary eyes!
We had been recommended to do the 3 days and 2 night option by other travellers and were rewarded by a demanding, but also relaxing, trek into and out of the canyon. One month on from the Inca trail and Bee's knees had still not recovered on the downhill sections.....
The first descent into the canyon was under the baking midday sun, then a long lunch followed by watching Tottenham draw with Chelsea in the kitchen hut (for Tim) and snoozing (for Bee), before a chilly star filled evening.
The second days trekking started with a steep climb where we got to sample a local speciality cocktail, a Colca Sour, even if it was only 9.30am! Further on through small villages and another gruelling (for Bee) downhill section, we were rewarded with an afternoon relaxing and swimming in an oasis, pure bliss. As the sun went down, a fierce game of football with the guides ensued.
The third day we were up before the birds in the dark and had a 3 and a half hour 1,200m climb, all before breakfast! By the time we reached the top, we were hungry enough to have eaten one of the mules which were the alternative way out of the canyon. A soak in the thermal pools on the way back helped our sore leg muscles.
Our time in Peru had come to end. We'd been fascinated by the Inca's and bowled over by the friendliness of the Peruvian people. There was only one country left to visit in South America, we didn't have much time, but we wanted to make the most of our visit to Chile.