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19-20 January Lima, Peru to Santiago, Chile

January 25, 2013

I am sending this on 25 Jan – we have been home now since Tuesday 22/1 -arrived into Sydney at approx. 6.00pm.

To finish off our adventures,  the following details our last days in Peru.

Our final leg of our journey.

19/1 we left Puerto Maldonado (Amazon) for the airport for our flight to Lima.  Our plane was delayed by 2 hours, so a very long wait at the airport, at least I had my crosswords and code cracker books to keep me busy (no internet available).  Finally boarded our plane and arrived in Lima about 5.30pm.  Sorted ourselves out and went to dinner at 7.00pm at a local seafood restaurant for our last supper.  Very yummy Peruvian food. Uneventful day today.

20th January – Lima

City and museum tour today, followed by our flight to Santiago, Chile.  It is amazing at how rich Lima was before the 70’s when everything went wrong with the economy.

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We managed to get on a Qantas flight from Santiago to Sydney (Bianca was very impressed – the true Aussie spirit).  Flight was very good with lots of food and good service.  Lots of movies to watch and just relax.  It was so good to see Woody at the airport and he didn’t forget to pick us up.

 

PS:  We had lots of fun, laughs and truly amazing experiences.  Thanks to the lovely people that we travelled with, it made it more special to travel with friends and share the good times.

Back to work on Tuesday……

Asta la vista baby from Isidora and Bianca

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16-18 January 2013 – The Amazon – Peru

January 21, 2013

16 January – Wednesday  – We have arrived at Corto Maltes Amazonia Lodge in the heart of the Amazon jungle.  To get here we had a ½ hour flight from Cusco to Puerto Maldonado, Peru.  We are close to both the Brazil and Bolivia boarders (as close as 300kms away).  After lunch we had our first contact with the real jungle.  On our trek we saw a large variety of tropical trees, medicinal plants, insects, butterflies and other animals, and of course mosquitos.

Before dinner we went on a nightly boat trip, sort of ‘little safari’ trying to spot the white caiman -2 spotted, (caiman crocodilus) that lives in the river banks. No toucans seen but macaws at our lodge.

Our accommodation is fabulous, as is the food so far.  We are staying in bungalows complete with bathrooms, and the beds are covered with mosquito nets.  The humidity is very high at 90%.  Good way for more weight loss (on the body that is).  The power is switched on from 7.00am – 1.00pm and then until 5.00pm – 10.00pm each day and also NO INTERNET.  So I am writing this whilst we are in the Amazon and then sending it to you when we arrive in Lima.

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The Amazon – taken from the plane window as we are landing

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On the wooden boat to heading to our lodge (from left Amrita, Nirajah & Bianca)

Our accommodation, complete with mosquito nets

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our lodge (hut)

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17 January – Thursday

It poured rain last night and continued on this morning, so our scheduled trekking starting at 5.30am was postponed to tomorrow (18/1).  So today starting at 10.30am we went to visit a native community on Gamatida Island.  We kept a lookout for monkeys, river turtles, caimans and any birds – nothing but dense vegetation on the riverbanks.   Our first stop was a chakra (local term for farm), where the owner of the land (in the Amazon, the people have a title to say they own their piece of land where elsewhere in Peru this is not the case, as the Government owns the land and the people can farm it.)  So in the pouring rain we were shown and ate the different (organically grown) fruits and vegetables, cocoa (chocolate) that are grown on the farm, with skinny chickens and roosters foraging for food in the mud and vegetation.   Lunch was on board our boat on the Madre de Dios River, a tributary of the Amazon River.

On Gamitada Island there is a project that supports the local native community ‘Palma Real.  It is the biggest in the area with approximately 200 families and introduces the tourists to the cultural values of the native indian’s ancestors, their language, customs, garments and their dances.  We were treated to how the native local community used to live.  Nowadays, they use matches to light a fire and they wear normal clothes.  The native indian (in his own lingo) told us that he had 5 wives – not sure if this is true….. Anyway, he also told us that it is not right for a man to dance with a woman – arm in arm,  he must dance with her in a circle (basically like the Greeks and Italians do when they dance their traditional dance).  So he got us all in a circle and showed us how to dance – such a hoot!

Indian native showing us how to start a fire (the old fashioned way) / Bianca shacking hands with the native

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Below – the local macaus

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18 January – Friday

Our holiday is coming to an end, it is sad, but I think it has been a long month of travel and seeing so much, that we will all be happy to have a rest when we get home.  Some go back to work on Thursday – someone has to do it, I suppose.

Today we (some got up at 5.30am) in search of birds – I decided to sleep in, Bianca was adventurous and went with Jey and Nerin to check out ‘the birds’.   After breakfast we started our trek through the Amazon.  We travelled down the Rio Madre de Dios and we entered by foot) the Tambopata – Candamo National Reserve.   We trekked for 5km through the dense vegetation of the tropical rainforest, including mud and slush (wet season track) with our gum boots and walking sticks.  Giant trees, monkeys, birds and they say that sometimes we can see the illusive jaguar – but as Bianca will tell you, they will be deep in the jungle and very hard to see, unless they decide to come out in the ‘open’.  We arrived at the water’s edge and climbed into a small wooden canoe – our destination was Sandoval Lake.  As we crossed the lake, we saw some birds and the Howler monkeys – they were fast moving through the trees – hard to take a photo of them.  We saw a black caiman 9biggest of the caimans) – we didn’t see piranhas, river otters, giant Arapaima (fish weighing in at +200kg) or anacondas.  The tour guides showed  Bianca a tarantula spider in its habitat – she was not impressed.

So there ends our time in The Amazon. One more night and then tomorrow Saturday 19 Jan, we fly to Lima, Peru.   Only 3 sleeps to go until we land in Sydney, AUSTRALIA.  I am now heading to the bar for the cheap cocktails, last night I had a Sandoval lake – vodka, blue curacao and Sprite and tonight maybe I might have a Amazonia.  Buenos Noches.

Bianca with our tour guide Julio, in front of a ficus tree in the jungle.

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On Sandoval Lake

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Our lunch stop in the jungle

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It’s time to meet our fellow passengers:

Jey – Pita (pain in the ass as described by his wife Nirajah) also I work with Jey

Shevin – got into UTS but knows nothing about cars (son of Jey & Nirajah)

Nirajah – Mrs Bouquet (wife of Jey)

Amy – long suffering wife of Cumar (Chitty to all)

Cumar – the bargain hunter, medical wizz / engineer extraordinaire who laughs at his own jokes (Uncle to all)

One of our tour guides (middle of photo)

Nerin – Mr Fashionista and a laugh a minute (brother of Jey)

Denish – Mr Anal and Mr Finance

Armrita – smiley (daughter of Denish and Rehana)

Rehana – married to Denish and Miss Haveachat (sister of Jey)

And of course me (Isidora) – just wonderful and the life of the party

Bianca – fantaboulos – as described by her – (I say self praise is no recommendation)

Mr or Mrs Duck waiting for left overs

(sent from Lima, Peru)

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15January 2013 – Machu Pichu

January 16, 2013

Today is the day we visit Machu Pichu (ancient mountain), the lost city of the Incas – one of the wonders of the Americas.  The stunning ruins  of the ancient citadel are perched on a mountain peak high in the Andes and are perhaps the greatest surviving testament to the Inca civilisation. The citadel lies suspended on an extravagantly terraced saddle between two prominent peaks, with a scenic backdrop of forested mountains that spike up from deep valleys of the Urumbamba and its tributaries. Machu Pichu was discovered in 1911 by an American, Prof Bingham.

To get to Machu Pichu we boarded our Vistadome train (Peru Rail) and headed for the terminal at Machu Pichu, from there we boarded a bus and were transported to the ‘mountain’.  We walked up some steps (10 minutes), even though the altitude here is not as high as the places we have visited in the past week, it was still exhausting work.  After a couple of rest stops, we emerged onto a lookout point and saw the postcard picture of Machu Pichu – wow – pinch me …. are we really here, yes we are….

There were quite a lot of people, but they seemed to get lost in the magnitude of the site.  Our guide provided us with a lot of history and took us round the site.  the local Quechua people knew the site existed.  Bingham was led to the site by a 11 year old local boy, and it didn’t take long for him to realise that he had come across some important ancient Inca terraces.  We spent most of the day exploring the site and then headed back to town, had lunch, boarded our train, ad then returned to the Novotel in Cusco.  Tomorrow we head to the Amazon for 4 nights – not sure what the reception will be like, so may not be able to send anything until we reach Lima on 19 Jan – our time (remember we are behind the times).

Buenos Noches

 

The Andes on the way to Machu Pichu

The Andes on the way to Machu Pichu

 

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Bianca and I standing at the entrance of the citadel of Machu Pichu

Bianca and I standing at the entrance of the citadel of Machu Pichu

 

Machu Pichu

Machu Pichu

 

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Houses in Machu Pichu

 

 

 

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13-14 January 2013

January 16, 2013

13 January – Cusco City

History lesson:  Cusco city is the old capital of the Inca Empire, Cuzco or Q’osqo means ‘Navel of the Wold’ in the native Quechua language.  It was indeed the capital of the great Inca civilisation from the 13th to the 15th centuries when the most amazing stone structures were built.  After the Spanish conquest, many of the Inca palaces and temples were destroyed and their foundations used for the construction of colonial buildings and churches.  This has made Cuzco a rich mixture of Inca and Colonial architecture and nowadays a Unesco World Heritage Cultural Heritage site.  So today we were met by our guide and she took us to Sacsayhuaman, located in the outskirts of Cuzco on a hill that dominates the city.  Some people say that it was once a fortress because it is practically enclosed by three slopes, and also for its impressive walls built with enormous carved limestone boulders.  We saw the ceremonial site of Qenqo and then we went to the top of the hill for a city view.  Back in the city, we visited the Korikancha, the ancient Temple of the Sun where the Spanish built the Convent of Santo Domingo.  We walked and walked the streets of Cuzco exploring the very narrow laneways and then reached the main square, where the Compania Church and the very magnificent Cathedral sat opposite the main square with a fountain in the middle with a statue (looked like gold) of King of the Incas.  Unfortunately, we were not able to take any photos of the inside of the church with our cameras, our guide said ‘only with our eyes’.  The church took 100 years to build.  There were 10 chapels surrounding the nave including the Chapel of El Senor de los Temblores which houses a 26 kilo crucifix made of solid gold and encrusted with precious stones.  Oh my god. I have seen some amazing churches throughout the world, but I don’t remember so much gold in one church – of course apart from St Peters in Rome, but the gold there is not on display as such.   Our tour took us to an Alpaca factory shop where you are guaranteed that the items that you buy are pure alpaca whether it be baby or just ‘grande’ alpaca.  Some of us bought, others didn’t.

After our tour we decided that it was time to shop in the narrow laneways.  You can imagine, everyone selling anything from shoes shines, restaurants, massages, pedicures, jewellery, paintings, anything else that they shoved in my face and said ‘lady you buy, real silver’ or I paint these paintings and my name is Johnny Cash, you remember for later when you buy’.  Then there are the market places, which sell the same old, same old, they start talking to you in Spanish or Quechua (indigenous language)or when they see the blank look on you face then start in English.  I have got to say it is a great experience, and then of course there is the bargaining.  They say, ‘lady you tell me the price’, which you do tell them the prices and say ‘oh no’, so then you walk away, and then they agree to the price.  Oh well,  all in the experience of a being a tourist.

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Jey getting a shoe shine in Cusco

Jey getting a shoe shine in Cusco

 

Bianca and I in front of the Copania Church, Cusco, Peru

Bianca and I in front of the Copania Church, Cusco, Peru

 

Bianca in front of the wall of the Sacsayhuaman carved limestone boulders.

Bianca in front of the wall of the Sacsayhuaman carved limestone boulders.

14 January – Cuzco to Yucay, Urubamba

Checked out of our hotel and travelled to the beautiful Urubamba Valley better known as the Sacred Valley of the Incas.  (Chincheo Plateau – 3800m).  Our first morning stop was Pisac market – more of the same thing – oh my God.  Anyway from there we went to our lunch stop (buffet at a little hacienda) – fabulous food, better than the last buffet we had in Chivay.  Bianca was so glad to see vegetables and lots of yummy desserts.  So of course we all indulged.  Everything in Peru is grown organically, and the animals are very free range, all over the roads and paddocks.  Our next stop was Ollantaytambo, considered a living Inca town because its inhabitants actually live in homes built on the bases of the ancient Inca village.  We visited the ruins of the Sun Temple with its terraced landscapes and views of the Urumbamba Valley.  I have to say that the climb up to the temple was very exhausting due to the altitude for me anyway and Denish.  The others just flew up the steps.

In the side of the mountains you see the remains of the storage houses built to store the food for the future.  The village people would have gone up the mountain to retrieve the required goodies, packed in the ‘racksack’ and carried it down the mountain.  In the streets of any city or town, women are carrying anything from goods to babies on their backs in the ‘racksack’ (a blanket wrapped in such a way that it becomes a carry all – pretty hard on the back!!

Enough history for 2 days, we checked into our hotel or more like a hacienda which is very nice, but not very close to any shops or restaurants.

 

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Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley, Peru

Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley, Peru

 

Bianca trying on a fur jacket - just for the fun of it.

Bianca trying on a fur jacket – just for the fun of it.

Until next time

 

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11 – 12 January 2013

January 14, 2013

I know that the date on my last blog said 6-11 January, but you know there were a lot of photos and I needed to get to bed.  So now to 11 January.  I hope that you are all surviving the very hot temperatures in Australia, we have had temperatures above 40 but not as high as at home.  Take care and drink lots of water.  The temperature in Cusco was cold and wet – but still good enough to walk around and see all the sites.Puno (added info on 9 Jan)

The Colca Canyon is one of the world’s deepest at more than 1km from cliff edge to the river bottom, and still home to traditional Indian villages.  At a particular point in Colca Canyon – the Mirador Cuz del Condor is the viewing point (around 1200m deep at this point) to see the majestic condors circling up from the depths against the breathtaking scenery.  After seeing the condors we headed to Chivay – the largest village in the canyon. (no photos available of the condors – maybe in next blog).

Me wih Rihana and Amarita at Colca Canyon

Me wih Rihana and Amarita at Colca Canyon

Colca Canyon, Peru

Colca Canyon, Peru

This part of Peru has more vegetation due to lots of rain.

11 January – Puno / Lake Titicaca

This morning we boarded a small boat and travel to Lake Titicaca (our hotel is on the shores of the lake).  The Uros floating islands are situated on Lake Titicaca which is 60% in Peru and 40% in Bolivia.  The Indians currently on the islands are descendants of the oldest people of the altiplano, though the Uros people have mixed with the Aymara – therefore no pure Uros people exist anymore.  2-3 families – max 15 people live on each island.  The indian ladies showed us how the men build the floating islands and their huts.  Their kitchen is constructed like an ‘indian teepee’, and a one room hut consists of a lounge room with TV, radio and 1 big bed where the parents sleep with the children in the same bed.  The ladies also showed us their handicrafts, which of course I had to buy something, oh well, more weight for our bags. Bianca and I were taken inside their homes made of reeds where we were dressed in the local dress (see attached photo).   Back to our hotel for a quick refresh and then we travelled to Chullpas de Sillustani to see the funerary towers dating back from 13th century (pre Inca).  The highest is 12m and shaped as a phallic symbol. The guide provided us with a lot of history,  of the towers and a Stonehenge located on the site.  Basically, mother earth (Pachu mama), sun, moon and the stars all played a big part in their lives as did with the Egyptians. unbelievable stuff. We went to the Umayo Lake where we had a group photo (see attached), which was behind the towers.  The Peruvian people are a very complex civilisation, with lots of history.

So far, of all the countries in South America, Peru has provided extensive history and culture.

Uros ladies performing a song for us

Uros ladies performing a song for us

Uros indian showing us how they build the floating islands (below)

Uros indian showing us how they build the floating islands

Bianca dressed in the local Uros indian costume

Bianca dressed in the local Uros indian costume

Yes a photo of me dressed in the local costume )not very flattering) on a floating island on the lake

Yes a photo of me dressed in the local costume )not very flattering) on a floating island on the lake

Lake Titicaca, Peru - floating islands made of piles of reeds (totora)

Uros floating island (one of many islands)

Ruins (phallic symbol)

Ruins (phallic symbol)

Bianca is really excited listening to the tour guide talk about the history of the Sillustani Ruins

Bianca is really excited listening to the tour guide talk about the history of the Sillustani Ruins

Group photo at Lake  Umayo

Group photo at Lake Umayo

Bianca kissing the puma head rock (it is said to have lots of energy)

Bianca kissing the puma head rock (it is said to have lots of energy)

Bianca kissing the puma head rock (it is said to have lots of energy)
Me with an alpaca (on our way back to our hotel in Puno)

Me with an alpaca (on our way back to our hotel in Puno)

12 January 2013

Puno to Cusco, Peru

Left the hotel at 7.30am to board ‘The Orient Express’ Peru Rail, very luxurious – we were very spoilt – all the staff were very professional.  We were treated to a fashion parade, Peruvian singers and dancer and we learnt how to make a Pisco Sour and I volunteered to make one and then of course I had to drink it.  Photo taken by Jey of me making the drink which is to be uploaded (when I have a chance).

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Bianca and I enjoying the luxury of The Orient Express on the way to Cusco, Peru.

Bianca and I enjoying the luxury of The Orient Express on the way to Cusco, Peru.

As the train left Puno, the railway track runs through the town and the locals have their markets stall right on the edge of the track.  As the train passes, they place their wares on the track and continue with their business.

As the train left Puno, the railway track runs through the town and the locals have their markets stall right on the edge of the track. As the train passes, they place their wares on the track and continue with their business.

 

 

We arrived in Cusco at 6.30pm and transferred to the Novotel Hotel.

 

 

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6-11 January 2013 – catching up with myself

January 13, 2013

6- 11 January 2013 (trying to catch up with myself)

6 January 2013 – Lima to Nazca, Peru

We didn’t manage to get our wake-up call this morning, so at 5.30am, we had 15 minutes to get ready and down to reception for our departure to Nazca.  We are travelling on a very luxurious coach – double decker and we had the lower deck all to ourselves – fabulous and very comfortable.

Upon our arrival at Nazca we were met by our tour guide who took us to our Hotel Nazca Lines.  Our guide suggested we should fly this afternoon to see the Nazca Lines to which we all agreed.  We left for the airport with our passports in hand.  Checked in and then I saw the plane that we would be flying in – well I nearly said no way, but decided that I should be tough and give it a go – it was a 6 seater – that is pilot and co-pilot and 4 passenger seats.  We boarded the plane and started our flight to view the Nazca Lines which are apparently awe-inspiring.  The ‘experience’ takes 20 minutes with the co-pilot giving a running commentary on the lines and location.  I really didn’t care as I was not feeling very well.  Actually the ‘sick bags’ in the plane (all of them) came in very useful when I wasn’t feeling very well.  You can all laugh, but I was wishing the plane to land as soon as possible, so I could get on land as quickly as possible.  Finally we landed, and I could hardly walk to the office.  I stayed outside in the fresh air for a long time, and again was not feeling well at all.  Everyone said I was ‘green’.  Anyway we made it back to the hotel, and took some headache tablets, had a light dinner and off to bed.  No it is not something I will do again in a very small plane. But yes, the Nazca lines are amazing.

Our 'little' plane for our flight to view the Nazca Lines

Our ‘little’ plane for our flight to view the Nazca Lines

View from the 'little' plane - no Nazca Lines

View from the ‘little’ plane – no Nazca Lines

 

 

A village dwelling – one of the more salubrious

A village dwelling - one of the more cellubrious

7 November Nazca – Arequipa, Peru

After some souvenir shopping, we leave Nazca as the Car rally is entering the town.  The rally started in Lima yesterday and involves cars, bikes, trucks and whatever else has wheels.  People were lining the streets waiting to see all the excitement. From the coach we saw The Andes on our left and the landscape gets very barren and arid with dwellings with single brick walls built very roughly – the buildings look like a shanty town.  From Nazca to Arequipa (departed at 3.00pm) took 9 hours.  During the drive the landscape changed constantly.  One moment it was barren and arid and then an oasis would appear – lush and green with a couple of houses and shops, then arid and dry again – sometimes a moon landscape, then the ocean on our left, then another small shanty town and then we came across a town selling olive oil that was being pressed in the shop and bottled freshly and then sold to travellers.  Mind you it was all sitting in the hot sun.  All the people in the towns are selling something, either in their little shops or on the street from drinks, food, souvenirs, prickly pears, cooked duck eggs, bottled water, soft drinks (not cold) and munchies of some sort, basically anything that people will buy.  I must say they are very resourceful.  Most of the people in the ‘rural’ areas are very poor and lead very simple lives, living on the land.  The land they do own gets passed down in the family.

Arrived at 11.30pm at Arequipa and checked into our hotel, and straight to sleep.

Landscape from Nazca to Arequipa

Landscape from Nazca to Arequipa

 

 

 

Misti volcano in Arequipa

8 January 2013 – Arequipa, Peru

After breakfast (PS:  the tea is terrible throughout South America but the hot chocolates are delicious) we left for our city tour of Arequipa and Santa Catalina Monastery.  Arequipa is known as ‘The White city’ because many of its historical buildings were constructed using the local pearly white volcanic sillar stone.  We saw 3 volcanos, 1 extinct – some 22million years ago, and 2 dormant.  Apart from worrying about the volcanos, they also have earthquakes, the late happened in 2001.  From there we went to the main square to view the Baroque Cathedral and then onto the Santa Catalina convent – where nuns still live in silence.  The youngest is 18 and the oldest 103 years old.

Arequipa - Bianca with Mr & Mrs Alpaca            Arequipa - portable typist (note manual typewriter)  A portable typist – note the Bianca with Mr & Mrs Alpaca                                                                   manual typewriter

Arequipa traffic jam

Arequipa traffic jam

Arequipa a very affluent Peruvian town.  Bianca in front of the cathedral in the main square

Santa Catalina Convent

Santa Catalina Convent

A 'wood-fired oven' in convent - no longer used by the current nuns

A ‘wood-fired oven’ in convent – no longer used by the current nuns

 

Cathedral alter, Arequipa

Cathedral alter, Arequipa

 

Cathedral at dusk, Arequipa

Cathedral at dusk, Arequipa

 

Binaca in the hotel room (Arequipa) updating her facebook page with her new friend the alpaca by her side

Bianca in the hotel room (Arequipa) updating her facebook page with her new friend the alpaca by her side

 

 

 

 

9 January 2013 Arequipa to Colca Canyon

Check out this morning from our hotel in Arequipa and travelled to Colca Canyon.  As we left Arequipa we saw Misti, Chachani and Pichu Pichu volcanoes which basically follow us until we reach the national Reserve of Pampa Canahuas.  We saw alpacas and llamas and of course bought some tourist shopping stalls along the side of the road.  So of course Bianca and I had to buy something – everything is so colourful.  At this point we are approx. 3,400metres above sea level.  We continue onto Sumbay (3,800 metres above sea level) where we stop for an Andean ‘Mate de Coca’ (cocaine drink) – not that much cocaine.  This drink prevents altitude sickness, so we indulged and it tasted a bit like green tea, just a bite – needed lots of sugar.

During our bus ride, we saw lots of llamas and Guanacos. Our highest point is ‘Pata Pampa (meaning high land) 4,820 metres above sea level, where we saw the volcanos Ampato, Sabancaya, the Hualca-Hualca, the Mismi (the source of the Amazon River) and the Cordillera de Chila.

We stopped at Chivay (3,651 metres above sea level) for lunch, capital of the province of Caylloma.   Here we had a typical Peruvian Buffet lunch which consisted of lama, chicken, trout, salads,  chips, soups, sweets and other thing that we were not sure what they were – most of us ate everything including the lama.  Bianca had her photo taken with an alpaca and of course then after you have your photo taken you need to tip the owner.  We had a ½hr shopping stop in the town to buy some more goodies, and of course I bought a couple of things, I am sure that our bags will be overweight, but there can’t be much more to buy can there?  Our next stop was our accommodation for the night – Colca Canyon Lodge which is located in the heart of the valley, next to the Colca River, in the midst of the ancestral farming terraces of the area. Our rooms are fabulous and we had the added luxury of taking a dip in the hot springs.   What bliss.  After a shower, we head to room 22 for drinks (Lemon flavoured rum) and then to dinner.  Early night as we need to leave at 6.30am for our trip to Puno.  Buenos Noches.

Landscape leaving Arequipa heading to Colca Canyon

Landscape leaving Arequipa heading to Colca Canyon

Chivay, Bianca feeding Pepe the alpaca

Chivay, Bianca feeding Pepe the alpaca

Chivay (again) Bianca with eagle on her shoulder and lama with local

Chivay (again) Bianca with eagle on her shoulder and lama with local

Church in Chivay with 'tuk tuk taxis'

Church in Chivay with ‘tuk tuk taxis’

Colca Canyon

Colca Canyon

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 January 2013

After breakfast we left our lodge and climbed the several steps to the top of the rise (due to the altitude, it feels like you have run a marathon).  On our way to Puno (about 7 hour bus trip) and on the way we stopped at several villages, and at ‘Antahuilque viewpoint’ to see the 1,500 year-old terracing constructed by the Collaguas culture (pre Inca times).  Another stop at the look-out point of ‘Choquetico’ where our guide asked to look up the mountain side.  We of course saw nothing, and he then showed us the ‘Tumbascolgantes’ hanging tombs where the mummies were placed in a foetal position in what looked like a small round brick tomb . Amazing stuff.  At the Colca Canyon viewpoint we stopped to take photos of the majestic flight of the condors.   We then travelled to Maca, an Andean community (earthquake in 1991) and then onto Yanque with the most beautiful church in the valley.  As you would guess, the church is a magnificent structure compared to the dwellings of the habitats of the village.    In the village there was a lady with an eagle and a lama asking for people to pose with her animals, so of course Bianca wanted to have her photo taken which she did with the eagle on her arm and then another photo with the eagle on her head with the lama by her side and also the lady in full costume and we then paid the lady a tip for the service (see photo above).  Lots of travel (Andean landscape) today and lots of desolate land, at least we saw some vegetation.  The terraces of the Colca Canyon were very green – at the moment it is the wet season but this particular area gets lots of rain anyway.  Checked into our hotel, off for a Pisco Sour (I know again) and then to dinner.  Tomorrow Lake Titicaca which we can see from our hotel room.

Bianca again with another alpaca and a local at Colca Canyon

Bianca again with another alpaca and a local at Colca Canyon

Colca Canyon Lodge hot springs - everyone enjoying the 39 degree temperature of the pool

Colca Canyon Lodge hot springs – everyone enjoying the 39 degree temperature of the pool

Colca Canyon Lodge, our accommdation

Colca Canyon Lodge, our accommdation

PS:  the information contained in our blog is as accurate as possible (that I can remember), so I apologise fir errors.  I will send more info and photos shortly (more with me in them) ISIDORA

 

 

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Fri 4 – Sat 5 January 2013

January 6, 2013

On Friday Bianca and decided to walk around Buenos Aires and explore the streets.  I think it is the best way to feel the city.  We exchanged some money and went in search of a post office.  Bianca was in shock when she found out the it was going to cost A$3 each to post the cards.  We continued on out walk to Galerias Pacifico shopping centre with designer labels – all very nice, but nothing that we liked.  I did manage to buy a leather bag (blue) and a top.  I have been searching for leather shoes, but they are either 6″ heels with 2″ platforms – too high for me – Bianca loves so many but at A$400 a pair just a bit high for her budget.  She has bought lots of clothes so she is happy.  On our way back to our hotel, we went past a shop that had a bull (small and very colourful) – I couldn’t resist it, so I bought it as a souvenir of Argentina.  Tonight dinner at Thank God its Friday restaurant chain who had happy hour for drinks and appertisers, so we had to go in and try their fare.

Buenos Aires is the “Paris of South America”.  I can understand why as it is has lots of designer shops and everyone is dressed smartly and they all walk around with their dogs.  There are people here that are explored to walk dogs, so you will see a person with about 6-8 dogs walking them in the morning and then in the afternoon walking different dogs.  They can earn up to 4000 pesos (A$800) per month which is considered to be higher than the average wage.

Early night as we need to get out of the hotel by 5.30am to catch our 8.35am flight to Lima, Peru.

5 January

Boarded our 4 1/2 hour flight to Lima, Peru.  Checked into our hotel and explored Lima.  We are staying in Miraflores, an elite suburb near the beach.  More info and photos later.  need to get to bed as we have another early start tomorrow (6.00am) we are travelling Nazca (7 hour bus trip – luxury coach).  We will try over the Nazca lines on 7 Jan.  Not sure when I can get back on line, as we have a lot of travelling to do – South America is such a big continent – so much to see and do and so little time.

Checked out a jewellery shop that sold Peruvian silver – nothing grabbed me – I will see what the rest of Peru has to offer.

Dinner was main – salmon and for dessert – a hot chocolate – OH MY GOD!!!! Never tasted anything like it before, then I also a slice of lemon tart – yummy.  Good night for now, until next time.  PS – doing lots of walking and the next 2 weeks will also bring some trekking…..