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Colca Canyon - The great expirience
2000-08-04 21:00:00
160 kilometers on bad roads, just getting higher and higher, we were destined for Chivay and the Colca Canyons.
See the whole picture
The roads were bad, and the Hyundai van struggeled it's way upwards to the height. Our first stop was at 3800 m above sea level and we were driving inside the national park Reserva Nacional Salinas y Aguada Blanca, and Odd just neede a smoke. We didn't feel to much of the height, but we agreed that we felt that the air was getting thinner. Here we also watched the Vicuna and the Lama, which they almost treat as our own sheeps. They cut the wool once a year, and the price for a kilo is about 300US$ because of it's fine fibers.

Our next stop was at 4200 m. above sea level, and here we were offered Mate de Coca (Coca Tea) to prepare us for the highest point of the travel, 4800 m. above sea level. We still didn't feel to much of the height, and felt in good shape.

The next stop was at the peak of the road at 4800m. above sea level. Odd just had to try a cigarette to feel how it felt in this altitude. The first inhalation felt strange, but then it was OK. Hege didn't feel like that, because of a pressure inside her head. We all could feel the height, both headwise and breathwise.

We then started the descent to Chivay, a village situated at 3700 m. above sea level where we where going to spend the night. After we arrived we had some lunch, cheked into our hotel and then Lars and Odd headed for the Hot Springs. Hege wanted to relax at the hotel room. The Hot Springs or Banos de Calera is a mineral bath with hot water coming from the earth itself. We really enjoyed it, and here is another proof dedicated to my Friend. After the Hot Springs we had dinner, and we had Trout, a local fish from the river which tasted really good. We then had entertainment with Penja and local folkdance. We all got a lesson in the folk dance, and Odd was particularily eager on the floor. After some dancing, he checked his pulse and it was over 160 and his breath almost gasping.

The next day we had the excursion to the Colca Valley, one of the deepest vallies in the world. It has a depth of 1100m and is the home of the Condor. We had to rise and shine at 5 o'clock in the morning, to have the best chance to see this magnificient bird. The road where extremely bad and dusty, but the countryside was just magnificient. Inca Terrases everywhere, which has been in use for over a thousand years. The beauty of the terasses, is that the stones which make the walls of the terasses absorbes the sun energy during the day, and delivers it during the night to give the crops protection from the cold nights. The Incas where pretty good planners, and they even sketched up how they would build the terasses in the valley before they actually did it.

We waited for almost two hours, but eventually they came floating in the air. It's the largest flying bird in the world, and a majestetic sight. We also bought some sweathers on the local market, and we're starting to be good in bargaining. We then went back to Chivay for lunch, unfortunately at the same place as yesterday. After lunch we left for Arequipa, and the driver drove like a madman to reach the football match between Peru and Argentina. On the highest peak Hege and Lars felt OK, but Odd had some headpressure after the quick ascent of 1000m.

When we arrived at Arequipa we really felt fore some pizza and beer. The excursion is recommended. Due to the flight to Cusco the next day, we went early to bed.
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