Having a rest day today before driving to Cusco tomorrow morning and then flying to Lima where we will stay the night before flying the following day to Quito in Ecuador. The hotel here is very nice with a lovely garden to relax in. It´s in the Sacred Valley, surrounded by mountains. Quite warm.
In my previous email I forgot to mention a boat trip to the Ballestras Islands - how come I don´t know as it was fantastic. Lots of penguins a little bigger than our Fairy penguins, sea lions, galore, lots of birds. The island has so many birds it harvests guano so the smell, along with the seals is a bit on the nose.
The drive from Arequipa to Chivay in th Colca Canyon was spectacular across the Altiplano - volcanos ringing Chivay (3633metres). Saw lots of alpacas, llamas and vercunas - the later which produce the most expensive fibre in the world. They look a little like small deer. The highest point was 4910 metres so altitude sickness started affecting us - just made us a little dizzy and slight headache. Lots of snow capped mountains, agriculture included garlic, potatos, onios, paprika, oregano, quinoa.
Stayed in a nice hotel at Chivay and went to the hot springs - not as much sulphur as Rotarua but a spectcacular mountain setting. The next day we had a very lond drive to Puno, a very unattractive town which is the launching point for boat trip to Lake Titicaca the highest lake in the world at 3820 metres. Unfortunately I missed the trip to Titicaca due to feeling the altitude - no sickness but could hardly put one foot
after the other. On the way to Puno we went to the Colca Canyon and sat and watched condors circling. The largest bird in the world thy tell us and very important to the Peruvians. The locals have adapted to the high altitude by having larger lungs, hearts and spleens than others and blood that is very rich in red corpusals. Next stop was Cusco another scenic drive , snow capped Andean mountains and loads of eucalyts which were introduced to Peru in the 1800´s. Cusco is a lovely city the second city of Peru and the old capital of the Inca empire. After that and bus and then train trip to Aguas Calientes the town near MAcchu Picchu. What a spectacular site - it really takes your breath away. Unfortunately I didn´t feel my back was up to the long walk to the Sun Gate - should have done this years ago. Still a very good day.
Someone asked me what alpaca tasted like - it was very tender and not unlike beef.
Thats about it for now - apologies if you get this as an email also - it seems like lots of you haven´t signed up to this site so I will try to copy it to Yahoo.