October 19, 2007

El Condor Pasa

Actually, after a long flight from Europe and a short night in Lima before flying to Arequipa, I should have gone for an early sleep, after my Pisco Sour and dinner (see yesterday’s post).

However, I discovered that I probably would miss something if I did not visit the Colca Canyon and the Cruz del Condor. I managed to fix a trip there but I had to join a group which had already left during the day and were sleeping at a place called Chivay. I had to take a normal local bus which left at 1:30 in the morning and after some four hours in an over crowded bus on bumpy roads I reached the place, got breakfast and joined a small group in a small bus on small and – again – bumpy gravel roads.

I had a short moment before the small bus left and took some photos in the Chivay village of the first ladies wakening up and walking to the market.

I had planned to reach the higher altitudes by steps, starting by Arequipa on 2400 meters (7800 ft), but I learnt that during the night, my second night in Peru, I had already passed a peak at almost 5000 m (16400 ft) and the whole day we were cruising on some 3600 m (11800 ft) to 4200 m (13800 ft). No specific problem, except that you have to walk (climb) slowly. Of course, some coca leaves, which are available everywhere, help.

The Colca Canyon is supposed to be the deepest in the world, about twice as deep as the Grand Canyon. The difference is that the slopes are not that straight and that the canyon is partly habitable. You find pre-Colombian terraces all over the place, still cultivated, small villages…

The highest point we reached is called Cruz del Condor and this is the place where you have a reasonable chance to see condors. I was lucky to see at least one! Here the Colca river is “only” some 1200 m (4000 ft) below, but it’s quite steep and there are no railings or any kind of security, so watch your steps!

Later, on the way back to Arequipa, this time in daylight, I could see what I had missed the preceding night, including the National Reservation of Salinas and Aguada Blanca. It’s a flat land on about 4000 m (13100 ft) with preserved flora and fauna, full of wild llamas, alpacas and vicuñas (the finest textile fibre in the world). There should also be flamingos, but I did not see any. Once back in Arequipa, I had a Pisco Sour, a nice dinner and a very good sleep!

To see these photos in a larger size, I would propose that you visit my photo blog!
I will make a weekend break; back on Monday with a new chapter (Cusco)!

41 comments:

Azer Mantessa said...

very very very interesting journey. ooo man, thanks for sharing.

welcome back :-)

Drama Div@ said...

im very impressed with your level of fitness! :P the trip sounds fantastic.. it really is a once in a lifetime sorta thing...

Heather said...

What a lovely, breath-taking view of the canyon that first photo is!

lyliane said...

Oh, j'en ai le souffle coupé!!!!Vivement que j'entende ce récit de vive voix et que je vois toutes les photos, quel voyage de rêve, il faut que je le fasse coûte que coûte. Avec tes conseils ça me facilitera la tâche.

hpy said...

I have to go there! Immediately! La première photo m'attire! J'y vais! De suite!

SusuPetal said...

Those canyons are somehow frightening, so deep and steep! And beautiful, also.

delirium said...

Je pars avec hpy, je fais mon sac, j'accoure, j'arrive, je vole comme le condor, je franchis les alpes, je débarque, j'atteris, je serre la main de hpy, on boit un Pisco Sour, on va voir des lamas, des lamas et encore des lamas et hop encore un Pisco Sour et encore un et encore, on monte dans un petit bus dans un petit groupe et avec hpy on boit encore un Pisco Sour, je suis sourde aux commentaires des autres touristes tellement je suis subjuguée par la beauté des lamas que je rencontre et je me retourne vers le lama, non pardon hpy et je bois encore un Pisco Sour et je vois plusieurs hpy qui parlent avec des lamas, et je ne comprends plus rien, où est le Mont-Blanc, mais où suis-je? je n'ai jamais vu de lamas au Mont-Blanc et c'est quoi ce liquide jaunâtre que je suis en train de boire à la gourde????

J'atteris, j'atteris, je ne me vois plus les mains, ah si, ça y est, c'est vendredi et je suis devant mon ordinateur. Merci Peter, hiiiiippppssss, de me faire voyager autant.

P.S. sur la photo sur laquelle vous posez devant la croix, vous vous preniez pour un condor (mouvement de bras explicite...)

Bonne journée Peter...;-)

oldmanlincoln said...

I enjoyed looking at larger photos on your other blog. I left a short message there too. Nice photos.

Peter said...

azer:
Thanks!

drama div@:
Yes, unfortunately, (only) once a life time!

heather:
... and when you see it in real!

Cergie said...

Tout cela est superbe !

Alors, est ce que quand tu as escaladé les marches tu as réfléchi ? T'es tu dit que la vue méritait cet effort ? Que si tu avais su tu aurais pas fumé autant pour avoir du souffle ? C'est autre chose que de monter au Sacré Coeur par la navette.

Alors, déjà drogué comme tu es, tu t'es mis à la feuille de cola ? J'espère que tu n'as pris aussi l'habitude de cracher partout comme les lamas.

En plus l'ALCOOL !
Ahaha !

En tout cas, oui, tes photos, ton texte nous font vivre ton périple sans effort apparent. Je n'ai pas une goutte de sueur sur le front

Et ta photo de condor...
Elle me plait fort...

Même si t'es pas un vrai photographe.

Peter said...

lyliane:
A bientôt pour le récit et les conseils!

hpy:
Tu es toujours là ou déjà partie?

susupetal:
Yes, as I said, you must watch your steps!

Peter said...

delirium:
Je vois qu'on a pu partir en groupe, lyliane, hpy, vous...! Tant pis. Des fois j'étais un peu seul. ... mais attention, il ne faut pas trop boire et marcher sur les pentes du canyon! Quelques fueilles de coca, ca va, c'est même recommandé par toutle monde, les guides...!
Je me prenais pas pour un condor, éventuellement pour une croix!

oldmanlincoln:
Thanks!

Peter said...

cergie:
Oui, ça valait bien la (peu de) peine! (La navette de Sacre Coeur est en panne depuis longtemps; il faut monter à pieds - un bon entrainement.)
Quelques fueilles de coca, quelques bonbons de coca, quelques boissons de coca (non coca cola)... tous ça est recommendé par médecins, guides...et je suis toujours très raisonable!
Non, je ne suis pas (encore) un vrai photographe et le condor est bien flou. Ce n'est pas facile a zoomer dans le ciel (rien à voir avec alcool, coca...)!

MONA said...

WOW! I had no idea about those canyons! They really seem & sound so interesting. & I love that photo of them with the terrace farming.

It really must have been so much of a fun trip! It sounds so interesting.

& those women? do they normally dress like that? It seems like some scene out of a movie!

Peter said...

Mona:
In Lima and to some extent in Arequipa, people are dressed in a western way, but as soon as you are on the countryside, the traditional dresses dominate - not only for tourists.

lyliane said...

Tu vois, moi qui voulais partir entre amis, on aurait eu de la compagnie, mais tu as préféré être solitaire, comme le condor et tu as dû porter ta croix tout seul, tout là haut (quoique il y a bien quelqu'un qui a dû te prendre en photo!)

hpy said...

J'ai fait un voyage inoubliable avec Delirium, à dos de chameau, ou était-ce à dos de lama? Delirium a bu tellement de pisco sour que j'étais saoule seulement à respirer son haleine de chameau. C'était sympa de te regarder voler avec le condor - nous avons essayé de vous prendre en photo ensemble tous les deux, mais nous n'avons pas réussi à bien cadrer - alors sur la photo on n'y voit que du bleu. Delirium est partie faire le plein de pisco sour et moi j'ai mis une pétante au frais, pour être en forme dès lundi. Bons vents là-haut.

Peter said...

hpy:
J'ai bien lu vos délires sur le blog de delirium!! Il faudrait que tu les relises lundi quand tu seras sobre (??). (Génial, les échanges de commentaires sur son blog! Ce n'est pas si souvent qu'on peut rire autant!!!)

lyliane:
On aurait été dans un drôle de groupe avec delirium et hpy!!!

April said...

Well, there is nothing that I like more (almost nothing ;-) than a good travel report. and this is one. Great, that you take us with you in those far-away regions.

Shionge said...

Definitely an eye-opener for us through you Peter, this is wonderful :D

(SShhh....Peter, sorry me gonna miss visiting Paris this time, till we meet someday soon)

Peter said...

april:
It's a pleasure!

shionge:
So when will you arrive?

Hogrelius said...

Håller med allt vad andra säger men vill ställa en fråga:hur känner man av att tugga cocabladen?

Peter said...

hogrelius:
Jag kände ingenting speciellt, men det pàstàs vara bra för att bekämpa vissa negativa effekter av de stora höjderna. Personligen màdde jag bara bra hela tiden, tack var cocan eller inte? Man blir för övrigt serverad coca-the till frukost, coca drycker under dagen, cocapiller som godis... Alla pà plats har hela tiden en stor rulle med blad pà ena munsidan (man ser en "svullnad" under ena kinden), inte under läppen som svenskarna med sin snus.

krystyna said...

Hi Peter!
Do you know the oldest bloger in the world? If you want- visit my blog again.
Sorry, I'll be back to read and watch your Beauty little bit later.
See you!

Peter said...

krystyna:
Happy to see you visiting my blog! I understood you had taken some time off from blogging?
Yes, now I know who is the oldest blogger! I had a look on your site. 108 and still going strong!

GMG said...

So, you even managed to get the condor! I can't resist this (and still, we'll have Titicaca, Cuzco, Machu Picchu...). The trip I've planned many years ago and was jeopardized by a Sendero Luminoso attack two months before departure...
But now, getting to 3600m and more, I’m a bit concerned!
Have a great weekend!
Gil

BTW, no stolen wallets?

Peter said...

gmg:
I felt nothing negative from the altitude (you just have to walk / climb a bit slowly) and got nothing stolen or lost!! Everything worked fine!
A nice weekend also to you!

Hyderabad Daily Photo said...

That is a huge canyon.

Peter, thanks for your permission to use stuff from your blog.
And thanks for your visit also.
You know something interesting - after I left my comment about using the colors from your blog, I went back to reading the book I was reading (The Tibetan Book of The Dead by Robert Thurman) and noticed that it had the exact same color combo (blue background, yellow foreground and red frames)!!

Annie said...

This is one wonder in the world that I had never heard of before. Thank you, Peter, for reminding me that there is joy in travel, joy of discovering something completely new (and in my case it would have been completely unexpected).

krystyna said...

I came again. I really enjoyed my time being here.
Thanks for such a beautiful journey.
Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

Peter said...

hydrabad:
Happy, if you are happy!

annie:
Pleased, if you are pleased!

krystyna:
Thanks!

pink ginger 珂琳 said...

Great post Peter, I love the pictures...
besides, El Condor Pasa is also one of my favourite song, too.

Have a nice weekend.

Pink.

Ex-Shammickite said...

OOOOO Pisco Sour, sounds like I might like to sip on one or two. What an interesting trip you have had. I will go to your picture blog and have a look at your pics in more detail. I've never been to S America, perhaps I shall see Peru and Bolivia one day.
BTW I have posted pics of The Wedding, we had such a wonderful time.

catherine said...

Maxime m'a fait rire sur l'autre blog avec son condor de lendemains de fête...ma photo préférée c'est celle qui vient juste en dessous, avec ces deux personnages qui regardent au loin ; très belle et très troublante photo...mais les autres sont superbes aussi Décidément il faudra que j'aille en Amérique Latine un de ces jours.
ps ; je poste ici parce que je ne me rappelle plus de mon mot de passe google.

lasiate said...

quelques photos semble-t-il remarquables je cours sur ton blog

Peter said...

pink ginger:
Thanks! I'm now training on the Concor Pasa on my Peruvian flute... Not very sucessful for the moment!

ex-shammickite:
Yes, you should go there... not only for the Pisco Sours!

catherine:
Mais oui, il faut aller! Déjç, tu n'auras pas de problème se langues!

lasiate:
Cours, cours...!

JoAnn - NL "My digital eyes" :) said...

Hi peter!

Very impressive, so are your Paris photo's too, but this is interesting also I love looking at your trip photography, show more more more!!!! Thanks for sharing this wonderfull photo's!!

:) Missing you & your blog,
I am back from my short trip to South of Italy, thanks for 'not forgetting me' I posted an overview of pictures from my holiday , soon more... Have a great sunday!!!

Greetings JoAnn:)

Emily Lin said...

Nice pics! It's great to have a trip that you can actually involve yourself into the local community and learn their culture during the process. The children were dancing happily with their traditional costumes on; I wished I was there, too. =) [I guess I have back on track now; I'll be gone missing probably once I have some doubts in my life; So please don't mind me for not posting any commentary here because I did browse through the blogs without leaving commentary during those time]

Ash said...

Lovely images and write-up...

Marcela said...

Very nice post with a clear description and pics on it.
Peruvian people are really friendly, and I realized that you tasted the pisco sour.

I have just dicovered your site. It´s very interested and make people to know different cultures around the world.

Congratulations!

Kind regards from Buenos Aires, Argentina.

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