Thursday, 18 September 2008

The second deepest canyon in the world, and condors!

After our day on the lake Adrian and I took our mums on the bus to Arequipa. We loved it there so much we wanted to return and show them around, and also spend a couple of days exploring the Colca Canyon and surrounding area.

The Colca Canyon is the 2nd deepest in the world - twice as deep as the Grand Canyon and only beaten by the Cotahuasi Canyon (also in Peru) by a couple of hundred metres.
On our way to Chivay where we would spent the night, we stopped off to see herds of llamas and alpacas, and reached our highest point yet - 4,800 metres above sea level. Apart from feeling a little short of breath, we were all surpringly fine! We stayed in a cute little hotel in the middle of nowhere with fantastic views, and our own personal alpaca who likes to come indoors.

We had a short trek, visited the thermal springs, and the following day we went condor spotting. Over an hour passed without us seeing a single one of these magnificent birds, but our patience was rewarded when an enormous one swooped very low and circled the crowd several times just before we left. It´s a huge bird - it stands at just under one metre high and is alegedly the largest bird in the world. It is also the national bird of Peru.

After a short trek around the canyon itself in the baking heat, we had lunch back in Chivay before returning to Arequipa again, and that evening had a delicious joint birthday meal for Adrian and I!

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