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One flew over the condor’s nest – Colca Canyon

03 Feb 2017

One flew over the condor’s nest – Colca Canyon

In my previous post I’ve started an inter-generational touristic race story.

Now let me introduce you a little bit to my father. He is 75 years old, retired engineer, divorced for 30 years. A special, strong character. If I’m thinking of his life over more than 40 years of communist regime, I understand his way better. For the unaware, during those times, the country borders were closed. I mean you could travel outside the country only in special occasions and with a lot of paperwork made for the Communist party and for the Security police. Like a consequence of those times, he has the hunger to see, to see every touristic place possible.

After I’ve lost him at Machu Picchu and happily found him, the following night he had a severe allergically stroke. I mean his throat was swollen and the tongue tripled the size. I freaked out. Get in the car at 3 in the night and run in Cusco at the first hospital at the emergency room.  Such a crazy night, he wanted to speak but he couldn’t and the doctors thought that I understood what my father was saying but I didn’t understand any word. Anyway, he did three injections and around 6 am he started to unswollen. The next week he had also a severe indigestion. So the first two weeks of my father’s one month of staying with us meant high fever, stomach pains and pooping on himself, after breathing problems and an allergic reaction from an insect bite. And he didn’t see any tourist sight, that was the main issue here!

Back to our main touristic trip now that he was back on his feet, his breathing still not optimal, but livable.

And back to where we left off, at the nice hotel downtown Arequipa. In the same night after a quick shower we went out for dinner and in the main square of Plaza del Armas we found a tourism agency which was organizing tours to Colca Canyon. It was not hard, there were many around. From my personal experience it is cheaper to book the trip right from Arequipa and not from the internet.

We paid 100 soles (30$) per person for a two day guided trip with a bed & breakfast in Chivay, not including the park entrance fee of 70 soles. The 2 day tour to Colca Canyon you can easily book the day before. All agencies leave on a daily basis from Arequipa.

The tour started the next morning. They picked us from the hotel at 9am and we departed by bus towards the Colca Valley. We drove across Pampa Cañahuas which is home to herds of vicuñas, llamas and alpacas so we stopped to get those  important selfies with an Alpaca! Vicuñas are wild and they cannot be domesticated so no close pictures.

We also stopped at the “Mirador de los Andes”, the highest point of the trip – 4900 m, to have an outstanding view of “the volcanic belt of Southern Peru”. After we literally froze for 5 minutes watching volcanoes we headed straight to Chivay for lunch and overnight. We arrived around 2pm. Nothing to see remarkably in Chivay, only the hot springs from “La Calera” which we skipped. The tour included also a folkloric dance for the dinner.  Not the meal, only the show which was good. Live traditional dance and folkloric music from Colca Canyon.

The next day after the breakfast at 7 am everybody was in the bus, anxious to see the second deepest canyon in the world and the Andean condor flying over. Everybody besides my father. He had forgotten his hand purse with passport and all his money and he was blaming it on me. Why? I don’t know, people from a certain age forward are grumpier than before.

On the way to Cruz del Condor we passed by the old village of Yanque and the town of Maca with its beautiful colonial style churches. We let my father mumble for the next hours, it was not in our power to come back in that moment. I was looking like into a mirror and found something of myself there. It was my father not knowing to enjoy life at its fully potential. I took my eyes away from the mirror and enjoyed the depth of the canyon from Cruz del Conor, at this point reaching a depth of 4,160 meters. The Andean Condor was there overlooking us from his majestic soar.

On the way back we stopped in Chivay for lunch and of course to recover my father’s hand purse with papers and money. Happily we did find it and also the smile on my father’s face. A little bit later, but it came like a sunshine morning over a hard winter. We were tired but relaxed now. We slept all the way back and around 6pm we arrived in Arequipa. After a nice expresso in Plaza del Armas, we headed to the bus station for an overnight trip back to Cusco.

I was really missing my family. I was feeling the need to be reunited with the nuclear family that we are.

If you missed the post with the beginning of the trip at Titicaca lake, you can read it here.

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