Colca Canyon Trek – Day 3

Friday 2nd October 2015

We met next to the main reception, ready to climb up. Some of us still had jumpers on, but the few who were in T-shirts already had got it right as we quickly took our layers off when we started going up!
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Here was the valley where we had stayed for the night, seen after a bit of walking.
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To the right we could see the path we had taken to go down the day before.
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We started walking around 5.10am. And up and up and up we went.
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The valley seen from a bit higher up.
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Some people took mules at some point instead of walking up, mostly older people in their fifties or people with knee problems maybe.
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Continuing to go up. There were many of us, maybe hundreds, not just our Condors group.
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The view of the canyon.
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A cool cactus, called a Candelabre cactus as it looks like those candles which have several arms going up.
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Almost there!

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That hike up was a very good measurement of how fit we were! Dennis got there first in 1h30 at 6.40am, followed by Michael and Belinda shortly after. Charline and Eden made it in 2 hours, followed right after by Carma, Sarah and Laura. Then Marie-Anne made it in 2 hours and 30 minutes. I arrived 20 minutes after her, in 2 hours and 50 minutes, and then Karen got there 20 minutes after me, in 3 hours and 10 minutes, with Miguel who had stayed with her to make sure everyone was fine. That told me that no matter how many treks I am doing currently, I am still slow!!! I probably need to do more cardio exercises and intense triathlon training which would get me to be faster than I am. Nevertheless, we all made it up, and none of us took mules! Condors power!!
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From the top, we walked half an hour more to the village of Cobanaconde on this little flat road.
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When we arrived at the village, we saw these women collecting the trash.
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We had a nice brekky, more than welcomed after the 3-hour walk up!
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Belinda and Dennis were staying in Cobanaconde to sleep there and explore a bit further around so this was the last time the Condors were together. We took our last group shot together at the Condor`s fountain.
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Off we were in the mini-van. It was Laura`s birthday and Miguel got her a little muffin with a candle on it, we all sang Happy Birthday, it was nice. In the bus were two guys from Catalonia, Lluis and Tony and one guy from France. They had just hiked the Colca Canyon alone. Lluis has a cool blog here with lots of photos, although hard to read unless you understand Catalan! He is a big fan of learning recipes from each country he travelled to. You can find these recipes on his blog and then use google translate. It was actually funny because Michael was interested in the soup recipe of the soup we had eaten in the valley and was scribbling down the recipe that Lluis was giving him while the mini-van kept going. Pumpkin, coriander, green peas…Funny! Here is his blog:

Tony had a swollen eye. He had touched the branch of the ratoupa tree we had seen on the first day during our botanic walk with Miguel and then somehow touched his eye and burnt it! As for the French guy, Alex, he told me he didn`t really know how long he was going to travel for. He got inspired by two of his friends who had started travelling 18 months ago already and were only…hitch-hiking!! So awesome. Check out their blog here:

Here is one of the view we had from the mini-van.
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We stopped at a view-point where the view was really stunning. To the left.
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To the right.
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There were some Peruvian women dressed traditionally doing handicraft and selling it.
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We got to a small village where we did a short stop-over.
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One funny thing was this statue of a guy with flip-flops. I remember how with Lluis we got puzzled at it and wondered if the sunglasses had been added on him by someone or were really part of the statue.
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The church.
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Inside the church.
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There was this very touristy street in front of the church where Peruvians were offering to take a photo with their lama or their eagle and selling handicraft.
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The eagles like this one were really pretty. Not sure about their exact name.
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About an hour later, we got to the villate of Chivay where Charline, Eden, Carma, Laura and Sarah were taking a bus from there directly going to Puno. Bye guys, safe travels!! From the Condors group, Michael, Karen, Marie-Anne and me were the 4 ones left, joined in the bus by Lluis, Tony and Alex. There was this local place where I got a delicious local meal, joined by Lluis later and which inspired 3 other hiker girls too. The woman had been serving food here almost every
day for 21 years. She had 9 children and 22 grand-children, 4 of these grand-children being orphans that she had adopted to take care of them. Among her other grand-children, three of them were abroad, one in France, one in Spain and one in America. Our two eating buddies on the right both had 2 children, girl and boy each. The guy to the right said that they were “clientes” because they came to eat at the woman`s eatery every single day. It was nice to chat with them. I really like those local eateries right on the street! The food is usually really cheap, really good and you get to chat with the locals.
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After lunch, I went around the market.
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The shoe-repairer.
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Later, in the covered market, the butcher. Anyone wants some beef? An entire cow maybe?
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Back next to the lunch place, I ran into Miguel, Marie-Anne and Karen eating some kind of local donut with honey. They made me try it, it was really delicious!
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There was this very funny moment where the wind was so strong that everyone was trying to grab the cover of the tent to keep it on.
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The tuk-tuks in this city were really fancy.
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After this break we got back into the mini-van off to see a view point at 4,900m from which volcanoes all around can be seen, normally. View from the window.
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We got there and it was snowing like crazy, a real snow storm. I had not seen one during my trip so I actually really enjoyed jumping around under the snow! 🙂
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After that, we drove through the national park and stopped to see some llamas.
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Then we drove back to Arequipa. Snapshot from the window at some point.
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Getting closer to the city.
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We got into some heavy traffic jam which dragged on and it felt like it took us ages to get to the Monasterio de San Catalina where we finally got dropped. With Marie-Anne, Karen, Lluis, Tony and Alex, we decided to meet for dinner and drinks later in the evening, at 8pm in front of the cathedral on Plaza de Armas. I went back to the hostel, got my big pack, went for a warm shower and got my bags ready so that I could head to the bus station the next morning for an early bus to Arica. Then I went upstairs and got some WiFi, beer and chatted with Sarah, the French girl I had met in the hostel 3 nights before. There was this beautiful sunset.
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And the beautiful pinkish colours after sunset.
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After that, I went to Plaza de Armas and met Karen first, then Marie-Anne, then Lluis, Tony and Alex. None of us had had dinner yet, so I took them to my local eatery place where we got a really cool table for six up some stairs and had a nice local soup and main. Then Karen knew a place where to go for beers so we went to the pub called Bruchas which means Witches! There were lots of brooms on the walls, it was funny. One annoying thing was to see people smoking in this bar.
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I got my clothes and hair smelling smoke so much when I came back, yuk. It reminded me the time a few years ago when people could still smoke in bars in Europe. It made me realise how great it was that in Australia very few people smoke, and in most of Europe, people can`t smoke anymore in bars. That pub was fun though, and we stayed around for long. Tony was tired and left first, then Marie-Anne left for a night bus to La Paz, then two French guys arrived who were earlier in the bus with Lluis, Tony and Alex and joined our table. They were volunteering for three months in a catholic school where they were sleeping and teaching art. Then Karen left, then Lluis, those two guys and me kept chatting forever. We left the pub well past midnight, and went all in different directions. It was a fun evening!

Tomorrow morning, off to Arica! Let`s go to Chile!

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