February 13th, 2008 – by: sissanoel
Vicuñas (a non-domesticated camelid) roaming the plains on the way to Colca Canyon.
at 8.30am for our bus trip to Colca Canyon
. Worked our way through the suburbs until we once again hit the quite barren and dry looking countryside - not hard to image ancient Incan villages buried under the ash, like Pompeii, from the nearby volcanoes. Close to Arequipa is a massive cement works, which apparently accounts for around 8% of the local economy. You can see the layers of ash in the ground when you drive through the cuts made in the hills for the roads. The highest point we reached was 4,910 metres and you could definitely notice it - generally OK while you´re sitting down, but as soon as we got off the bus to take photos it was noticeably more difficult to get your breath and get your limbs moving.
MIsti Volcano - still active, but not quite as active as this appears thanks to the cloud!
Had a coca tea stop on the way, and also a few quick photo opportunities with the llama, alpaca and vicuña herds wandering around the plains. We´re staying at La Casa de Mamayacchi in Coporaque
for two nights - it is lovely with fantastic view of the mountains - feels like real luxury. There are nice cosy doonas on the beds, thick blankets and heaters for the cold nights. Even an open fire in the evening, with heaps of books and games in the bar area. We played dominoes for an hour or so, which was quite relaxing (Noel one 2-1). We did our first walk in altitude, and suffice to say it was a major shock to all systems concerned. Melissa took the low road while Noel took the high road, and both of us realised that we are very pleased NOT to be doing the Lares Trek. Our one hour walk just about killed us all, to the extent that some of the group who are doing the trek are seriously thinking about pulling out. Hopefully they´ll get used to it a bit more before that section of the trip comes around. Dinner tonight was a buffet at the hotel - quite nice, got to try an alpaca stew which tasted very like lambs fry (liver). Early start tomorrow, up at 5am for our visit to see the condors.
La Casa de Mamayacchi Hotel is at Pueblo de Coporaque, VAlle del Colca. www.lacasademamayacchi.com