Realxing start to the day where dont have to get up till 7:00. ovely breakfast on the sun terrace before heading off to catch our bus to the mountains, more specifically, Colca Canyon. first stop though is the highest point of our trip at 4900 meters, our bus arrives and it is a small private coach which is just for us which is nice. we leave ariquiipa behind with the backdrop of volcanoes enveloping our journey.after about 3 hrs we spot our first alpaccas and lamas and also a rare animal whose name escapes me. We stop to take some pictures before heding to our high point.it seems strange travelling this high by bus as it took us 5 days to walk to this this point on kilimanjaro. we finally reach our summit and the view is amasing, mountains and volvcanos are in every direction, some higher some on a leval plane with us. it is quie cold, though not unbearable with the sun out. we try ad take it easy as our lungs are not used to this sort of altitude.
after abut 20 mins we get back in our bus and head back down the mountain to our destination for 2 nights, chivay, on arrival i find i have been given a king size bed which seems to have been a mix up as i find out later one of the couples is in singles.
after having a quick rest we head off on a short walk to lear a bit about the capital of the Colca Region. that night dinner is just a snack as we are all stuffed from our buffet lunch.
anyway got to catch a bus now, i am a few days behind on the blog
So its 10 pm and we board bus and find out i have the front seats on the first floor, which gives the best views for our journey, even at night.
we have just had the largest meal known to man, but as soon as we move off the waitress comes round with a meal which really isnt appreciated , but i grab a rice pudding anyway. then off we head towards ariquipa which is 12 hrs away. in the uk this would be more than london to edinburgh and back. the eats are comfy and the view is amazing, well it is night originally so not that great at first. the bus weaves its way like a F1 cat round the twisty roads, i am surprised to see my g adventures buddies sleeping but it seems most people were faking. after about 4hrs the bus stops for over an hour in a traffic jam, then for the next 1 1-2 hrs we slowly move until we see our blockage, a massive boulder has fallen off the cliff and takes up most of one lane of the road so they are having to let traffic through both ways slowly. after we make it though the jam, the sun starts to rise and we see we are still on the coast. we soon veer off into the hills as we have to get to over 2000 metres today, we pass though some wonderful valleys with their grenery cutting though the usual barren landscape we have become acustomed too.
11 am and 2- 1-2 hrs late we arrive at ariquipa, Peru´s second largest city, it has more the colonial style i was expecting and has some very pretty parts, after checking into our sweet little hotel we head off for lunch and i get my chance to try guinea pig, it is really just like chicken, though that may be due to the fact everything is fried here. it is lovely, though not the most appealing to look at.
after lunch we go grab some ice cream and sit on the main square before looking around a few churches. one very gold and ostentatios, the cathedral though is very understated.
that night we go grab a hot chocolate before some of us head to a bar for a few beers and a bit of dancing before heading back to the hotel at 1.30 am so it has been a very long day.
so we have a more relaxing day today with not much travelling. first stop is the airport to get weighed for our flight. we then head out to a ancient burial ground where we see lots of skeletons. our guide is knowledgable though later found to be drunk at 10am. after seeing what seems like to be an endless supply of skeletons we head back to the airport. i am in th first group so off we go to check in. we walk through quite stringent security and arrive at our little 6 seater cesna. our main pilot is columban and seems friendly. the engines start and off we go into the desert to look at the Nazca lines. these lines are 1000s of years old and were drawn for the gods, they cant be seen from the ground so the architects would not see them. our flight is a little bumpy but it twists and turns it way over each shape and drawing. it lasts a half hour before returning us safely to ground. it is only after landing it seems that we were the only flight to have too pilots which was a good. after our flight we get in some random guy´s car to take us to Nazca town. somehow we made as always seems to the case here.
nice lunch in a tourist restaurant where we all ended up seperatly. back to the town later on. after picking our things up from the hotel we went to a chicken restaurant were the portion sizes were AMAZING.
after dinner we board our night bus for the next 12 - 14 hours
so its been few days, but it has been hard to update my blog. We finally leave Lima and also our guides as they managed to miss the bus getting our tickets. Luckily another tour guide was on from the same company so he looked after us. after changing bus we catch a little bus to our hotel, passing what i can only describe as the worst smell in the world, a fish powder factory. also on route we pass an air base, with no fencing, which is strange as most other industry is heavily guarded, just notthe military.
we arrived to our first stop, paracass, a little fishing village which has become a tourist haven due to its proximity to the ballestas islands, which is a nature reserve we go to. as for tonight we eat on the seafront with the sunsetting over the pacific.
at night rudely awaken by a party with fireworks at 2am, decide to look for ear plugs but in darkness i struggle, so vow to move them to somewhere memorable tomorrow.
next morning we have an early start for desayuno (breakfast) at 7 as we need to get boat at 8, we assume that a little ferry will be taking us, but this 30 seater speed boat turns up, and we motor off into the pacific. first stopis a factory island with lots of pelicans, then we spot our first cormorant, which is going to be a common sight, we then see our first Nasca line in the cliff face about 100m tall and a bit like the giant horse in the uk.
our driver revs his engines as we hit open water and we speed out to the islands.these two islands, hold 1000s of birds,also tiny Humbolt Penquins and sea lions, all of which we see a plenty. then on the way back we are treated to a rare sight of 100000s of birds in aline landing besides us to wash themselves. it is a truely amasing spectacle.
after reaching land we head off towards Nazca, passing the lunar llike landscape as we go. First stop is a winnery and Pisco distillery where we get a tour and taster session. the pisco isthe local spirt, similar in production to brandy but more like grappa in taste.
we reach lunch at a oasis in the desert and sit down to dinner to the backdrop of 80s rock. aftert lunch we hit the Dune Buggies, these are amazing and drive down near verticle sand dunes. it is scary but amazing funat the same time. we then get a go at sand boarding or rather sand sledging. this is fun but i think most peoplewant back in the buggies, especially as we have a nuts driver.
back on out bus again to Nazca, home of the lines. we arrive quite late to our rural hotel, lovely quite location, sit downto an average dinner of fried chicken and then go off to bar to play some table football where someof the players dont spin and a peruvian game of toad where you have to throw some coins into a hole from a distance, i seemto be better the further away i stand.
anyway offto bed,
Wake up stupidly early in hotel, well stupidly early for Lima, about right for UK. manage to lie in bed for what seemed like an eternity before deciding it was time to rise when the building work started. head down to breakfast to find bacon and egg out, they know how to cater for tourists.
Then I head to the beach. When I say beach, i´m sure people are thinking of Cocacobana in Rio, or the Costa del Sol. Well i can tell you there was no sun, and really no sand either, mostly stones. Still i walk along the top of the cliffs looking over the coastline and spot the Cross which had been lit up like Vegas the night before, these catholics really like to celebrate their affimation to their faith.
take a few snaps of the 100s of surfers below, from up here they look like seals, with their black wetsuits bobbing up and down in the waves, seems a competition is on.
move on round past a light house which has some inscription i cant read, think that is going to be a running theme here.
head down a vast amount of steps to get to the sea front. walk along the front and spot a sign noting the Tsunami evacuation points, note a earthquake has happened in the philipines so could be heding this way, decide it could be a while so carry on regardless.
for lunch i attemp my best spanish to order a chicken sandwich all is going well until she askes about extras, she confuses me with tomato, even though it is the same word, DOH. she reverts to english and I get Lunch.
walk along what loo,s like the M25 going though the centre of lima, the Via Ariquipa. find out that this is not one of the main roads, just Lima is busy. end up walking along this road for what seems like an hour, i really should have picked up a Map. millions of small buses pass, with conductors shouting out to passers destinations which mean nothing to me. the local seems to make sense of this madness some how.
decide to come off this monument to the car at KPMG lima, take a snap and hope to upload it to fb to see if anyone finds it amusing.
after a short coffee stop at Starbucks ( i know but no one else seems to do mocha) i head back to the hotel. realise when i get in how humid it is here. my back has been drenched.
read a sign in lobby reminding me to be there for talk at half 6, so decide to go upstairs shower and watch some more CNN.
6.30 i head to lobby and recognise some faces from my flight. we get shuffled into a board room and are introduced. Most of you know how bad i am with names. from what i recall we have Ed who is a Candaian lawyer from Alberta, who wants to leave law, other than that the names escape me. though we do have about 5 brits, and then a mixture of Canadians, Americans, Irish and a Norwegian, so a good mix. find out from a scot in our group that he is a Doctor specialising in Public health in Edinburgh, so have a quick chat with him about the Legionaires out break
after out chat we head out to dinner. food is good and beer is, well th same as the uk as Cusquenea is sold in Leeds.
head back to hotel and try and get some kip for moving on tomorrow
Day 1 of Attempt a blog, lets see how long this lasts
Manage to get 4 1/2 sleep last night which isnt bad for somone with a neurotic fear of oversleeping (as if). Taxi aquaplanes
its way round the leeds ringroad to the airport and i think to myself this is a good day to leave the UK.
Arive at Leeds bradford and it has had a refit, looks better, though still not much to do there.
Board first flight of the day to Schipol, get sitting next two to ladies going to a once in 10 year flower show outside Amsterdam. tell them to go on walking tour of amsterdam as they have little time there, they seem pleased for the advice.
Yorkshire Hen party gets on plane, think they have chosen the wrong time to fly as the rest of the plane is like a libary compared to the noise of them.
arrive at Schipol, now this is how to do an airport., have 3 1/2 hours here but it will fly by. As part of my distractions, i pass a interative TV about cocktail making with Bols Genever(no i´ve never heard of it either), cool feature is you choose a cocktail the man on tv makes it, and then says "you can almost smell it, well actually you can" as some perfume is relased form below theTV, nice trick, though think that 9am is a litlle early for a mojito.
tempted to play on a grand piano at airport as it says anyone can play, play a few chords but chicken out, im sure they would have loved my redition of three blind mice. Walk into a book store and see a clarkson book in dutch, wonder how well his humour translates.
arrive on plane to find my seat is in economy comfort which means extra leg room, sweet!.
watch the usual drawl of recently videos, wasn´t as impressed by Tinker Tailor as i thought i would be.
12 hrs later i arrive in Lima airport, Immagration goes well but then i get to the baggage colection. luggage starts flowing but it takes almost 45 mins for mine to arrive, i was starting to get nervous then. Utter elation when it arrives, see about 100 pieces of uncollected luggage being taken away and think how do people forget.
arrive in airport hall and go hunting for a taxi. A man comes up to me and says "taxi" shows me a badge around his neck and we agree a price to hotel. it is only after i get in i realise that anyone could print a badge. Oh well too late now( i have been awake for 21hrs too". So off i go into the urban Metropolis that is Lima. we shuffle pass a traffic cop and he winds up the blacked out windos which does help alieviate my fears. though he then asks me about my trip, he doesnt speak english and i only speak "poco" Spanish so it is fun but we get there and i think he understands my trip. we pass down a deserted quiet st and i think i am going to be mugged, but no, we arrive the other side on a main road.
then we hit the coastal road. and he says "Pacifico", i turn into a small child again and look with amazement at this body of water which in reality is no different to any other body of water, but it symbolises that i have made it to a far flung place.
Arrive at hotel and watch CNN before heading for the land of Nod.