Well ended up leaving San Pedro on Monday night as Tuesdays bus was full and made our way to Arequipa, Peru!!
Journey was nowhere near as comfortable as last coach, which on refelection was prob the equivelant of flying first class! This time we were def back to economy with a bang! haha. After no sleep or breakfast we arrived in Arica, Chile to catch a "collectivo" taxi to immigration and cross the border into Tacna! We did meet some American boys that we knew from Santiago so they did help our sleepy selves get into taxi and some how we managed to enter Peru! Ended up traveling all the way to Arequipa with the American boys where we parted company as headed to different hostels!
Our hostel is a little out of town but is one of the nicest hostels have stayed in!! Except for the lack of hot water! That night we were shattered after travelling all day on no sleep so done nothing other than go to bed. Next day we tried to organise ourselves and done pretty well! haha. Decided to give up on Spanish lessons here as dont have the time and instead booked a trek with David, who was staying at hostel too, to trek the Canyon de la Colca, the 2nd deepest canyon in the world!! The rest of the day we spent wandering around Arequipa and enjoying a 3 course lunch for 2pounds!!! Also visited the "Juanita" museum, where there is the preserved body of an Inca Girl discovered on one of the volcanoes that overlooks Arequipa! Rest of the night we sat chatting away to other travellers and swapping stories before a minor EARTHQUAKE interupted our conversation! Was only a small tremor, more like a huge lorry driving past your car on motorway and whole thing shakes! Apparently with all the volcanoes around Arequipa has on average 3 earthquakes per day! Have still only felt one!
Next day we decided to head back into town and visit the old convant, which really is a city itself within Arequipa. Took our time wandering around the old "city" before heading back to make a carb ladden dinner in preperation for our 2:30AM rise on Friday morning to start our Colca trek, so we were all bedded by 9pm!
2:30am came around all too quickly for me and I stummbled out of bed managing somehow to get dressed and onto the freezing cold bus for the exceptionally bumpy ride to Chivay where we had a breakfast of rolls and coca tea, not really enough for our mammouth trek!! Before starting to descend into the canyon we made some other stops at the Quecha village of Maca and a stop to see the Condors fly, but they had the cheek not even bothering to show up haha so left there to start our inital descent to the base of the canyon just after 9am! It started off flat and well paved leading us into a false sense of security as by the time we actually reached the canyon we were greeted by rocky, sandy, unsteady paths and sheer drops at points!! It was scary descending down especailly at the times when our feet just slipped away from us. We were sharing the single track route with donkeys, locals and ridiculous amounts of donkey poo!! The descent was hard going especially as the sun was rising and with it the temperature!! But finally after 4 hours we were at the Colca River!! Pure joy to think we were nearly at lunch little did we know we still had further to walk UPHILL too before reaching lunch!! Finally around 1pm we made it!! And rewarded ourselves with fizzy juice to boost sugar levels! haha. Tried Inca Cola for the first time too and it was just like IRN BRU but yellow! Lunch was a serving of soup and omelte thing with chips and rice was ok but wasnt quiet what was craving , atleast was better than the bread of breakfast haha. Then we had to get back on our already aching feet for the 3 hour trek to the "Oasis" where we would spend the night. This time it was all a mixture of up and down hill which was just getting painful! Rosemary, our guide, also offered us the option to visit more villages, we polietely declined as was another hour on to our already long journey! haha. The last hour of that part of the trek was sheer agony!! And to rub salt in the wounds when we got to what we though was the Oasis we then had to walk up another hill to enter!! But finally completed the 15km trek! The "Oasis" was fairly basic, wouldnt expect much more in a canyon haha but all i really wanted was a hot shower to get rid of the dust which was like a second skin, instead all we had was a freezing cold swimming pool! After shivering for about 2 minutes had to get out and dressed with more layers as was getting dark, then decided just to get into bed and wait until dinner was ready! Dinner seemed an eternity away at 7pm and was more soup and some spaghetti with cheese, not the greatest but filled a hole! Then it was bed time as again on Saturday morning we were up at 4:40AM!!!
Again 4:40 came all too quickly and we managed to get our aching bodies out of bed and ready to go before the sun was up! The trek for the 8km UPHILL took us about 3 hours and was at ponts just pure pain! Treking is hard enough without it being at an alitude which at points especialy near the top made it almost impossible to do more than a few steps before losing your breath! The joy at reaching the top was unbeleivable we had actualy done it!! Yes we were in pain and struggling to even walk another step but we had treked the world´s second deepest canyon!! And then the further 20minutes to breakfast!! Could not wait to just get on the bus and back to Arequipa, was so tired and in a lot of pain!! Feet were black and blue and covered in blisters! Legs, hips, everything was aching if not from muscle pain from sunburn! We then meet up with a tour bus and had to go round visiting the same sights as Friday before getting to the blissful hot springs!! They soothed the pain (for a while atleast) then was onto the buffet lunch before the viewpoint of the volcanoes that surround Arequipa and then onto the nature reserve to see some Alpaca´s and Lama´s before finally getting back to Arequipa!! Bottle of rum in hand we all arrived back at the hostel, where the receptionist opened the door to laugh at the state of us! After climbing more stairs, with our backpacks we were finally there to be greeted by an ice cold shower!! :( just cruelty!! Rewared ourselves with Domino´s pizza washed down by the rum and cokes! haha before making it up the stairs again to bed!
Woke up this morning still in pain! But not as bad as I thought might have been! Have a day of doing nothing before heading to Lima on Monday!