02.11.16 – 07.11.16
After a week in Cusco full of history, shopping for souvenirs and enjoying the city centre we head to the next beautiful city in Peru, Arequipa! Of course we travel by bus through the night, which saves us a night in the hostel and gives us an additional day in Arequipa. 🙂
And wow, we have great news: Jakub’s best friend Ella will be visiting us soon!! We are super excited and can’t wait to travel through Patagonia with her – it’s gonna be awesome. That means for us however, that we have to be in El Calafate latest the 23rd of November and will skip our planned Volunteering (postponed for Hawaii maybe… :)). We have a deadline. For the first time. How weird. 😉 So we sit down, make a detailed plan of where we are when to be able to arrive on time in the Southern Part of Argentina. Turns out that it‘s actually nice to have an overview of the next 3 weeks and where we’ll spend each day. 😉
But right now we’re in Arequipa, were we arrive in our alpaka sweaters and scarfs, just to realize that it’s way too warm for this type of clothes! So used to the colder cities, we wonder when we wore a Tshirt for the last time or sandals… 🙂 Arequipa is Perú’s second largest city, known for its beautiful city center, the THREE volcanos surrounding it and the proud “Arequipeños”, who feel a little bit different than other Peruvians. 😉
Enjoying a sunny day, we head to some travel agencies to book a 2 day hike through the Colca Canyon:
“Slicing through the High Andes like a giant fissure for more than 100km, Colca is the world’s second deepest canyon, approximately 3,400m at its deepest point — a shade shallower that the nearby Cotahuasi Canyon and nearly twice as deep as the US’ Grand Canyon. More impressive than the statistics are the region’s emblematic attractions, including soaring condors, endless trekking routes and unshakeable Spanish, Inca and Pre-Inca traditions little altered since the conquistadors first arrived in the 1570s.” [source: http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20121012-exploring-perus-epic-colca-canyon]
Hungry from all the walking, we decide to try the famous „Triple Picante“ dish which our guide from the free walking tour we’ve done recommended us. And wow, it’s delicious! Although it mainly consists of meat and we don’t know how one person can eat one whole plate (we shared one), we do enjoy the filled pepper, potato-cheese mix and the pork.
Additionally, we try the famous chicha, a sweet Peruvian beverage made from purple corn, a variant of Zea mays native to the Mesoamerica, and spices. Non-alcoholic, it is a type of chicha usually made by boiling the corn with pineapple, cinnamon, clove, and sugar. [source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicha_morada%5D Of course we also had Pisco Sour, which the Peruvians claim to have invented, although the Chilenians say the same…anyway, it’s delicious!
Grrr, the alarm clock rings at 3:00am, why do these trips always have to start so early?! Pick up time is at 3:30am, and at 3:35am we sit in the van on our way to the Colca Canyon. The last stop before we start hiking is a small restaurant where we arrive at around 6:00am to have breakfast. Another hour later we begin the hike – strangely, the first 3 hours is only descending. On our usual hikes, we start walking up, not down. 🙂 But obviously, it’s a canyon! The further we walk down the greener the nature gets. After a lunchbreak of 1 hour we continue walking and arrive our accommodation in the late afternoon – a small oasis in the middle of the mountains! We’re super hungry and cannot wait to take a shower. But before that we treat ourselves together with our group with a whisky and Cuba Libre. 😉 Since there’s only electricity from a generator and this one turns of at 9pm, we go to bed early and fall asleep under a bright sky full of starts.
5:00am the next day our ascend back up begins – pretty exhausting, but the morning is cool and within 2:50hs Ellen is up. Jakub even made it in 1:30hours and was the second person up there, great! 🙂 Breakfast awaits us on the top of the summit and after we got some energy back we head straight to Arequipa.
All in all, the hike was okay but we couldn’t quite understand why everyone recommended us the Colca Canyon…it was not as special as we expected it to be. 😉 Maybe we have seen too many nice lagoons in Cusco and Huaraz, haha.
The next day we leave Arequipa to head further South. Puno is our last stop before we cross the border to Bolivia. Hence, we only see the city center, have a very delicious dinner, buy a CD from a local Peruvian folklore band who plays at the restaurant and look forward for the 7th country on our trip. 🙂