Hell Sandwich with a paradise filling

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South America » Peru » Arequipa » Colca Canyon
September 5th 2011
Published: September 5th 2011
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After my eating experience I headed back to the hostal to pack for the trek, I had a walk back in to town at about 8 and ´the place just has a completely different vibe, all the buildings were lit up and the Plaza was packed, down the cobbled streets were art galleries and antique shops it really was quite cool. Iwas getting picked up for the trek at 3 am so i got an early night, i could have died when my alarm went off at 2 there really is no need to be getting up that early. I got my stuff together and went to the reception because the man said he would be there to but my big bag in storage... but all was dark. I needent have panicked though because he was only asleep behind the counter, so i handed him my bag and I waited then a belgian couple came down they were on the same trek and we all waited, we finally got picked up at quarter to four so we werent best pleased. Turns out some lads from another hostal hadnt got up and thats what the delay was.

Out first stop was Condor cross, well it was just before because our driver had spotted some condors so we stopped to take pictures then he told us to get back on the mini bus because there would be alot more at condor cross. So we all jumped in got to condor cross and guess what NO CONDORS. The mood wasnt great... but after 10 mins they all came there were about10 in total all gliding thorugh the canyon, the pictures dont do it justice but they were really quite amazing.

We then set off on our trek whick was 2 days to get down and back up the 2nd largest canyon in the world. I thought it would be good practice for macchu picchu, i really should have practiced at home though! Somehow Id managed to end up in a group of the leanest most avid walkers in peru, they had all been treking in amazing places... me i get pissed off if i have to walk in to town. Anyway we set off out aim was to get to an oasis which is built in to the canyon and its all down. Or so I thought... Peru is a strange place even in my hostal I had to go down a flight of stairs to get up to the next flight, very strange. This canyon was no different we needed to get to the bottom yet i was walking up hill, never right! When the true descent did start it did though and going down hill is harder than what it shounds the path is only narrow and hard to walk on and get your footing because of the stones. The view though was just breathtaking or maybe that was just because i was unfit. We all met up at a bridge at the bottom i think i was last then headed (uphill) to where we were going to have our lunch. We walked by the side of what looked like a little fresh water stream so onof our group stopped and had a drink, just round the corner though we saw where it was coming from and it was a smelly alge filled resevoir haha.

The uphill bit was really hard i had to stop to get my breath but finally made it to a little shak where we were served our food i had an omlette and the rest had meat and they thoroughly enjoyed it, untill they were told it was baby alpaca, one of the group inparticular Chuck the american guy had spent his entire time traveling in south amereca refusing to eat alpaca... oops.

Then it was time to walk again... uphill again. Ourguide was showing us the different plants andtheir uses which was quite interesting. He eventold us his grandad that lived to nearly 100 always lived in the canyon and had perfect teeth because he rubbed them with coca leaf everyday. He then found a cactus and same as the other guy squished theinsect on it then insised in painting it on our faces, so as not to offend i spent the rest of the day with insect guts smeared on my face. We then walked through some little villages, the people in particular the kids were so nice and friendly. It´s amazing how they live they literaly live in the side of the canyon so there is no was of getting there unless u walk or go by donkey or mule. The guide said it is nowcompulsory that children in peru go to school so the primary school is inonevillage and secondary school in another and they have to trek miles upand down the canyon to get to and from school. He saidbecause the kids now get an education most now want to go and live in the city or go to uni which basically means the villiages are dying out and they now have to depend on tourism. I am so so so glad i went when i did because they are petitioning for a road so tourists and come by bus etc because at the momentonly a handful are willing to walk there. I know its the only way they are going to survive because its such a shame because it will just be ruined.

After walking lots more the finish line is in site an oasis near the bottom of the canyon with lush green grass and a pool filled with fresh water, it was miles so we walked it was below us and bugger me one we got really close we had to walk uphill to get to it!!! There were signs saying paradise this was and how right they were. The place was just out of this world, you could hear the water from the waterfall see all the way up the side of the canyon it was awesome, there were a few local kids and peruvians playing volleyball.

First call was to swim in the pool so i went to my hutwhich had no electricity or anything just a bed on a dirt floorand i started getting changed, then the local kids came in they were only about 4 and were trying on my clothes and hats and glasses and trying to get me to take pictures, i finally managed to get rid of them and to the pool i went, we swam for a while but being at the bottom of a canyon it soon got cold and we abandoned the pool. We had ourmeal which was soup followed by spagetti withtomato sauce no meat for anyone.

Me and Anthony an irish guy deciided to leave the table and go sit by the pool because it was getting a bit heated... basically a woman with severe vertigo booked on this trek, why you would go down oneof the worlds biggest canyons with vertigo is beyond me, she took the shortcut down which should have taken 2 hours max but took her 6.5 hours. But of course shes got to get out of the canyon and theres only one way out and thats to walk it, they offered her a mule but the mule was too high!! It was just madness... there was even talk of her calling her insurance to see if they will airlift her outby helicopter hahaha

So anyway we sat at the side of the pool and was looking at the stars, the stars in peru are out of this world then we saw one shooting star then another then another, it was great. We then heard a noise which sounded like a horse or a donkey and realised a herd of donkeys had st up camp on top of the swimming pool by some peoples huts!!! we then spent half an hour pissing ourselves as people were going up to their beds in the dark getting scared shittless by these donkeys, it was quite funny. We were then joined by a few of theother guys and we watched for shooting stars a bit longer then we saw in the distance htere was a fire so we went over and a local had made a bonfire with some wood so we sat by that for a while and watched as chuck continually tried to set his farts on fire.

I headed to bed after an hours of looking as they all looked the same in the dark, i opened by door and a dog shot in i shoved it out the door but it darted back in this time as i went to pick it up it just collapsed in a heap and would not be moved, so i shared my hut with a dog.

Time to get up was 4.30 we set off at 5 when it was still dark and today it was just uphill, it took me ages but i made it some of the others gayed out and road donkeys up but i was not being defeated by that bloody canyon! they were coming past me saying you want mule... i was like NO!!!

We made it it took me nearly 4 hours with is below average apparently and we went to eat breakfast in a really cool local town, then we went to the hot springs. Unfortunately the hot springs did exactly what they said on the tin they were fecking boiling no one could stand being in there for more that a few mins so we all crashed and sunbathed for a bit. We visited a few places where we sampled cusco sour with was sour cactus furit egg white and shit loads ofalcohol... the were good! then we stopped off to see herds of alpacas.

Day donewe headed back to hostal i got a shower then caught the night bus to cusco where i am now.


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