Day 11 - Chivoy (Colca Canyon area) to Araquipa.
We were picked up at 6:20 for the trip out a long, rough dirt road to Condor lookout. Most had some symptom of altitude sickness as sleeping for the first time at 3600m (12,000ft) takes some time to adjust.
A short distance away at a small village of Yanque, in the town square we saw some traditional dancing by the locals. This was done early before everyone went to work and school. For a photo it's practice to tip 1s, which is fare. I also got my photo with an eagle on my arm.
At the Cruz del Condor lookout, we saw 14 condors in flight, with some very close to the cliffs. They are very lazy, as soon as one finds a thermal they all follow. So one minute they can be nearby, the next kilometers away.
We then walked along the river cliff path. It gives a fantastic view of the Colca Canyon, which is 5000m deep in places. The valley has been a food producing area forever, and it rains everyday in February.
We went to an old church that had been destroyed in earthquake of 1958 and restored with grants from Spain.
Peru timelines appear to be pre Inca (up to 700AD), Inca (up to mid 1500),
Colonialism by Spain (1532 - 1821) and independence to current times. There have been a few invasion by Chile, and a lot of the grand squares date from colonial or mid 19th century. Even the smallest town has a church on a square.
We then travelled the 3 hours back to Araquipa, and it faster being downhill.
After checking into our grand hotel, where there was a film crew at work in the garden, we crossed the street and fitted in a tour of the monastery. (Siena Santa Catalina Monastery). It was opened to public in 1970 after 391yrs. The life of a nun was entirely within the wall of this architectural interesting building, with only the view being the snow covered volcano. Becoming a novice at 10yrs old, then having to pay a dowry to stay was certainly devotion to catholic faith.
There was a lot of security in the main square, lots of people out and later fireworks we could view from our hotel. There was a world congress of heritage listed city, and it seemed some of the delegates were staying at our hotel.
Our hotel (Hotel Hostelia) was like a scene from a movie, with beautiful gardens and furniture and decor to match the style.
As we had not eaten much all day, we treated ourselves to an expensive restaurant (Lazos). It was a nice setting, good service and food to match (110s - about AU$50!)
We walked through the crowded square, then back to hotel to prepare for another 5:30am pickup to Puno.
We leave Arequipa enjoying our brief stay and wishing it was longer.