Next stop Arequipa. We visited a nunnery which was a photographers paradise, Chivay and the Cruz del Condor in the Colca Canyon. Wow! Condors are huge by the way.
Local people in very colorful traditional dress were everywhere selling all sorts of handmade gifts. This woman has full-sized hand puppets. Great entertainment on those long and crappy bus rides ya know.
“Welcome to the convent of Santa Catalina. Oh my God. It’s the Peru Crew! I had better inform the rest of the nuns and shine up my rosary!”
The nunnery was a maze of courtyards, narrow streets and living quarters.
This guy is waiting outside of the Mother Superior’s quarters to get his knuckles rapped with a ruler. Wonder what he did!
Rub-a-dub-dub … not quite the laundromat that we are accustomed to. It’s a good thing that nuns don’t get very dirty.
We wandered through the nunnery for hours enjoying the photographic opportunities.
About a dozen nuns still lived at the convent. I think they were hiding from us.
After a couple of days in Arequipa our butts almost had the shape of butts again instead of bus seats. Therefore, it was time to get on another bus!
We traveled up, up, up onto the altiplano. This cute little llama wasn’t quite big enough to make a sweater. It was COLD up there!
This little boy was sent to collect coins from us as we took pictures of his family’s llamas.
Just another day at the office.
CHEESE! The different colored tassels indicated who owned the animals.
Iain, Carrie and Pat drank a tasty tea called ‘Triple’ to help combat altitude sickness. The tea was brewed from coca leaves with two more herbs that we can’t remember. We were near 15,000′ at this point.
The bowler hat and double braids were the standard appearance of the women in the altiplano.
Pillow cases, blankets, sweaters and mittens were available wherever the bus stopped.
4,910m (16,108′ above sea level) whew! Not much air up here. Time to chew more coca leaves. Not the tastiest thing on the planet, but it seemed to help. An interesting effect was that your mouth went numb as you chewed. An unfortunate effect was that it acted as a diuretic and we were on a long bus ride!
A large herd of llamas grazed as we passed by in the bus.
Chivay at last! This was our base for visiting Colca Canyon and the surrounding area.
We took a little hike through a nearby village to get a view of the valley and see some tombs. People and animals went about their daily routines.
“Oh look, a woman working in the field. I think I’ll take a picture.” Don’t make that mistake. That weapon in her hand wasn’t for hacking down grains. It was for extracting soles (so-lays, the Peruano currency) from tourists who took her picture. Run!!!
Pat in his natural habitat, behind the camera. The woman in the background, Marie Eugenia, was our guide. She was excellent and spoke English and Spanish.
Some tourists who didn’t give the grain-cutting woman money.
Tombs set high up in a rock cliff.
A view of a village in the valley from the tombs.
A typical house made of rocks. Notice that there is no chimney. None of the buildings had heat. Brrrr!
We rambled on toward Colca Canyon the next day to hopefully see the condors. The canyon was very narrow and deep.
We made it to the Cruz del Condor. Now, were we going to see any condors?
Ah! There’s a condor! It is impossible to tell exactly how large these birds are from the photographs. Their wing spans are about 6′.
Another condor soaring up from the cliffs below. They wait for the sunlight to heat the air so they can ride the thermals up.
We were really fortunate and saw well over a dozen condors. Impressive!
Even the little pullouts for photo-ops had women selling their wares.
A great view of the terracing in the valley.
A very small church in a very small village near Chivay. edit
This woman was very popular. She shucked cactus fruit. The fruit was very sweet and juicy.
Pam making friends with a llama and a little girl. Trust me, the girl was armed and Pam forked over a couple of soles for the photo. Stay tuned for the next update which will highlight Cuzco, the Sacred Valley and some ruins, hmmm, what were they called? Oh yeh … Machu Picchu!