Sightseeing in Peru
Mel here, since the last time we blogged we´ve crossed from Bolivia into Peru.
Our last blog ended with us freezing our asses off at Copacabana. Well im afraid to say it got even worse ! We got a boat to an island called Isla del Sol (Island of the Sun). The Incas believd this is where the sun god originated from. The island had no running water, all water had to be brought from the mainland, which meant dribbly luke warm showers and to flush the toilet you had to bring a bucket of water in with you ! It got so cold on the island when the sun went down. Our beds had about 5 blankets on them and we were still cold. We walked the length of the island the next day which took about 4 hours. There were only a few inca ruins to see but the scenery was amazing. The island is very dry with white sand, surrounded by the blue Titicaca lake and in the distance was Mount Illampu which was covered in snow - absolutely beautiful.
Our next stop was Arequipa in Peru. Its called the White City as they´ve used the volcanic rock which surrounds the city for all the buildings. Its often referred to as Peru´s prettiest city and it didnt disappoint. There are cobbled streets everywhere and cute little cafes and restaurants on every side street. The main plaza has a beautiful cathedral and restaurants all along the square have terraces so you can have your lunch in the sun :) and again in the distance are snow-capped mountains, so its very scenic.
From Arequipa we went to the Colca Canyon on a 2 day trip, which is the deepest canyon in the world at 3960ft, its twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in USA. Again the scenery was beautiful, green and yellow coloured fields, with small rivers running through them and huge mountains behind them, their peaks covered in snow. The highlight of the 2 day trip to the canyon was probably seeing the condors soaring across the canyon. While the birds are quite ugly (black and red heads) to see them flying up close is amazing. Their wing span can reach up to 12m and they weigh roughly 15KG. The trip to the canyon also included a dip in the thermal springs. The springs are heated by the volcanoes which surround this area and the water was between 32-35 C - pure bliss, we didnt want to get out :)
Back in Arequipa for our last day we decided to eat what the locals eat and went for a "cena" which is a fixed dinner of a starter, main course and a hot drink for 7 Soles, which is under 2Euro, not bad huh!
We also went to a museum to hear the story of Juanita - the Ice Mummy who was found on the top of Mount Ampato in 1995. During the Inca reign it was usual for them to sacrifice young girls on mountain tops to appease the mountain gods after a natural disaster such as an earthquake or an eruption. Juanita was chosen at birth to be sacrificed. Her story is fasinating. She was sacrificed almost 500 years ago and when the explorers found her, she was completely intact, the snow and ice on the moutain top had frozen her within minutes of death and so all her organs remained intact. the most amazing aspect of this story is that Juanita may never have been discovered if it wasnt for volcanic ash from a nearby volcano that melted the top of Mount Ampato which allowed the explorers to climb this high and find Juanita.
After spending 4 days in Arequipa we travelled to Cusco, which is at 3800m. During our night-time bus journey it got so cold outside that the bus windows were covered in ice !
Cusco is another very pretty city, we spent our first day just walking around and getting familiar with the streets. We had organised to meet 2 Aussie girls in Cusco for a drink and so went to Paddy Flaherty´s which claims to be "the highest irish pub on the planet" !
Hoping to meet the 2 Aussie Jessie´s again in South Bolivia to see the Salt Plains.
Well thats all for now, tune in next time when Laura will tell you all how we got on during our 4 day hike of Machu Picchu :)
Mel and Laura xx