After an 11 bus ride to Arequipa, it was time to get some laundry done and explore. The main square is pretty with a lovely white cathedral and buildings which were built from volcanic ash. The altitude is slightly higher now. It is slightly cooler, but the sun is still fierce. I return here for another night en route to Bolivia which I’m looking forward to already as there was a bit to see. I only managed to fit in the Sainta Castelina Monestary which is 16th century and almost like a small town in itself. It was filled with little streets and squares as well as the cells of the nuns. It is still used today.
After a little wander around, it was good to have a hearty meal – I had some alpaca which tasted lovely.
The next day, it was off to Chivay and the journey was further up in elevation. I didn’t feel too bad. We reached almost 5000m in elevation. Some others had bad symptoms – tingling fingers and lips etc. I learned about different natural remedies which could help with the symptoms of altitude sickness. These included coca leaves which can be chewed or made into a tea. We passed by some rocks which we could make a wish at and spotted lots of lovely wildlife including llamas, alpacas and flamingos. We stopped for lunch which turned out to be massive! It was a buffet full of local produce and was yummy! I was so full that I couldn’t eat anything in the evening, although that is meant to be an altitude side effect too. Temperature dropped even further in the evening.
The next day, it was a trip to the epic Colca Canyon – no picture can do the scenery justice. It went on for ever and was all the way around. An early start meant a good chance of seeing condors too (which I did and they were massive!). Condors are becoming rare to see as the locals are eliminating them for scavenging and killing little llamas and alpacas which obviously makes them lose money. Lots more alpacas and llamas en route too. It’s the 2nd or 3rd deepest canyon in the world. Did a bit of a hike along the ridge to see how the altitude affected the lung capacity – it definitely did and I caught the sun yet again! I think I’m just going to have to accept that I’ll have to wrap up even though I’ll be boiling hot. And yes, I did reapply! But there was no shade. It’s amazing how fatigued you get with altitude. In the afternoon it was a trip to some amazing hot springs for a bit of a chill out time. But another semi large lunch meant no dinner again. It wasn’t needed. However, Aloe Vera was…