El Condor pasa

After a preceding telephone talk with Betty and her enthusiastic reports on the Colca Canyon with its condors, this program point was fixed in our schedule. The starting point of our tour was Arequipa, a pretty town at the base of a volcano.


On a city tour we discovered a wool manufacturer, where one could see the whole process from the living Lama to the finished woven fabrics.

Peru-53Then we went again on a long bus ride which took us to Cobanaconde at the Colca Canyon. Above all, the journey in an overcrowded, dilapidated bus on a gravel road along the canyon edge burned itself deeply into our memories.


After a night in Cobanaconde we went the next morning to the lookout Cruz del Condor, where the largest birds in the world come out of the canyon each morning with the morning sun. They use the thermals from the canyon to glide to their hunting grounds on the coast. It was not long until the first three meters of wingspan threw shadows on our heads. The telephoto lens was usually too slow, but some good photos came about anyway.


The conclusion of our visit to Peru was the descent into the Colca Canyon, a sort of compensation for our failure to hike into the Grand Canyon in the U.S. It was a total of about 1,000 meters down, but as a reward a beautiful, green oasis waited for us at the bottom of the otherwise barren gorge. There we busily splashed in the pool and relaxed by the fire, talking with some other brave hikers.


The ascend of the next day was easier than expected, which we interpreted as a good sign in terms of our acclimatization to heights (see later). On a very long bus ride, we went back to Bolivia, where we should still expect many more adventures.