We hit the pause button on forward progress in order to go back in time
The hotel room that I’m writing this from has four foot thick walls of carved stone and a domed ceiling which is somehow appropriate for a hostal with the name of Casablanca. We’ve spent six days in Arequipa, Peru, much of it in this wonderful room (with CNN World, Speed TV, a shower that works, pretty damn good coffee in the morning all for less than $40/night) which is emblematic of the Peru we’ve experienced in the last six days: ancient culture being updated with new technology.
How and why are we here? Arequipa is Peru’s second largest city (behind Lima) and many argue its most beautiful with a great representation of colonial architecture. It’s big at one million people and its high up at 7,500 feet. We arrived on Friday night and took two days to look around and attend to all the administrative/logistical things that need to get done to keep our little expedition rolling. We then got on a bus and spent two days visiting the Colca Valley, the deepest, longest valley in the world and were exposed to a different Peru. We were planning on leaving once we got back from the tour, but I got pretty sick and have been in bed for three days. During that time, I’ve taken full advantage of our room’s bathroom infrastructure .
Our two days in the Colca Valley were wonderful as we got to see a part of Peru that is off the beaten path. The valley is about a five hour drive north west of Arequipa high into the Andes. We cross a peak at 16,000 feet which breaks this trip’s record. The Valley is famous for a number of things including it size (62 miles long and very deep), the terraces that were carved into the valley walls more than two thousand years ago, the fact that much of the area’s culture has been preserved for centuries and …. you can see condors if you go all the way down the valley (I’m renaming this trip the FW and KR Bird Chasing Expedition).
Here’s what the last couple of days have been like in pictures.