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Old 26th June 2013, 18:27   #31
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Default Re: To the Lost City of Incas - Peru on a Budget!

Excellent narration and thanks for sharing the information deky, any specific reason for displaying the skulls? and yes, please share the interior photo of the bus if you have.
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Old 26th June 2013, 18:50   #32
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Default Re: To the Lost City of Incas - Peru on a Budget!

Excellently narrated and as usual with full of details. A must read for aspirant travelers.

Thanks for sharing.
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Old 26th June 2013, 19:47   #33
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Default Re: To the Lost City of Incas - Peru on a Budget!

Your logs are excellent and filled with all the details for any person to start a journey after reading the logs.
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Old 27th June 2013, 00:42   #34
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Default Re: To the Lost City of Incas - Peru on a Budget!

Awesome narration of events. Especially liked the food details. I believe vegetarians will have a tough time at Peru.
On a serious note, that is a lot of travel.
Waiting eagerly for the rest of the good stuff. Keep it coming.....
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Old 27th June 2013, 03:53   #35
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Default Re: To the Lost City of Incas - Peru on a Budget!

Excellent travelogue, deky. Machu Picchu is truly one of the most spectacular places on earth. Cheers.
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Old 27th June 2013, 12:30   #36
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Default Re: To the Lost City of Incas - Peru on a Budget!

Quote:
Originally Posted by BusyBoyKK View Post
Deky,

Another blockbuster from you.

Blockbuster TBHP travelogues are a family affair at home, wifey and I enjoy reading them together. Also, helps us plan our trips better. Peru and Machu Pichu is on my bucket-list too.

After having thoroughly enjoyed the adventure, action, suspense-thrillers from you I am sure will enjoy this log even more.

Waiting...

Kanth
Thanks for the kind words!! I will be glad if someone benefits from this travelogue!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by lsp View Post
Thanks for the link. I wish the guy had finished it though!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by amitwlele View Post
@deky - Any snaps of the interiors of the bus. The bus surely looks very comfortable from the outside. Bigger version of the sleeper coaches in India
Sorry buddy, no interior pics. The bus isnt a sleeper coach but sure has very comfortable seats that recline quite a bit. If you google search for Cruz Del Sur bus seats you will get a few pics that pop up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by naveenroy View Post
Excelente cuaderno de viaje! Hehe, that is "Excellent travelogue" from Google translate.

Can't wait for the rest of the report to unfold. Machu Pichu is on my list too. One day.

Rated the thread a well-deserved 5 stars!!
Thank you. And 15 days in Peru I ended up picking enough Spanish to understand what you said (mostly). So surprising Spanish is not that tough a language.

Quote:
Originally Posted by balajird View Post
Excellent narration and thanks for sharing the information deky, any specific reason for displaying the skulls? and yes, please share the interior photo of the bus if you have.
Apologies for not having any interior pics. And about the skulls, well no special reason, it was just that the Cathedral Museum had displayed them so I clicked them. Basically they are remains of people who were buried here years ago.

Quote:
Originally Posted by amit_3306 View Post
Excellently narrated and as usual with full of details. A must read for aspirant travelers.

Thanks for sharing.
Thank you!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by idea View Post
Your logs are excellent and filled with all the details for any person to start a journey after reading the logs.
Thanks buddy. I just reproduce the knowledge that I gather after reading various books. So the best is to share it further as I do not hold any copyright to knowledge.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Utopian View Post
Awesome narration of events. Especially liked the food details. I believe vegetarians will have a tough time at Peru.
On a serious note, that is a lot of travel.
Waiting eagerly for the rest of the good stuff. Keep it coming.....
Yes, nothing much for vegetarians, especially in smaller towns. Though big cities do have a vegetarian selection.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VLOCT View Post
Excellent travelogue, deky. Machu Picchu is truly one of the most spectacular places on earth. Cheers.
Thanks buddy!!
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Old 27th June 2013, 13:48   #37
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Default 24/05/2013 : Half Day Nazca & Bus Ride to Arequipa

24/05/2013 : Half Day Nazca & Bus Ride to Arequipa

Let’s divide the day in two parts

A) Flight over Nazca Lines
B) Bus journey from Nazca to Arequipa

Flight over Nazca Lines

We had not planned anything else in Nazca except taking a flight over the Nazca Lines. So the plan was to do the flight early in the morning and then proceed to our next destination and that was Arequipa.

One can also see a few of the designs without taking a flight by going to a watch tower (Mirador) about 20 kms away from Nazca city. The mirador is about 40 feet high and offers a view of only 2 of the designs. But obviously it is much cheaper than taking a flight. The ticket cost at Mirador I am told is 0.30 USD as compared to a flight cost of at least 70USD (Can be bargained aggressively and got down a bit more). But I realized that the view from the flight is unparalleled and you see much more of the lines/designs.

The plan was to reach the airport at 0730 hrs in the morning, by flight tickets on the spot by bargaining with the various agencies present, take the flight come back and have breakfast and then visit the aqueducts (another attraction) in the town. Then after lunch we would visit the Cruz Del Sur bust station and buy the bus ticket for the next available bus to Arequipa.

We reached the airport by 0800 hrs in the morning. The best is not to have breakfast before the flight. The reason being that these aircrafts are small and because they need to show the designs to the passengers sitting on both the sides they sway a lot during the flight and with a full tummy it’s possible to get sick.

Another thing that does rounds on the net is the safety of the planes. Apparently these planes were ill maintained and lots of fatal accidents were reported. But as I was told that the government took strict measures and now no plane crash has been reported for over 2 years. So also choose your company wisely.

At the airport we met with a Belgian couple and all 4 of us decided to collectively bargain for the price of a flight. The bargaining exercise was more or less futile as all the 8 major companies were not willing to come down the 80USD rate per person. Somehow we managed to convince one company at 70USD/ person for a 40 minute flight.

But the plane was not ready so we had to wait for another hour and it was only at around 1000 hrs that we took off


About Nazca Lines

Nazca Lines are basically ancient geoglyphs in the Nazca desert. Some of these geoglyphs are not just simple lines or geometrical shapes like triangles, but some are even complex designs like a monkey, humming bird and condors.

These lines are said to be created between 400AD to 600AD by the Nazca culture that was the predominant culture of the area in the pre Inca time. The beauty of these lines lay in their complexity and the way the designs were made on the ground without the use of any aerial help or any advance geometrical instruments. The designs are so huge that they are best seen from a light aircraft in the sky.

The purpose of the lines/ designs is not exactly known. But most of the scholars believe that these had religious importance. Some say that these were made to please the Gods and the designs were the offerings to Gods by the Nazca culture. Another theory is that The Nazca Culture deeply believed in Aliens and these designs were made to attract the aliens and to make communication with them.

The lines were created by removing about 3-10 inches of the top soil from the dessert and thereby exposing the different coloured rock beneath. This was deeply in contrast with the top soil hence created a design that can be seen from far.

The amazing part is that Nazca lines have withstood the nature for so many years. This is mostly because the dessert has a very stable climate with hardly any winds and almost zero rainfall hence saving it from any kind of erosion. But lately due to many climatic changes and economic development of the region, pollution and erosion is changing the dynamics of the lines.

Nazca lines are best seen early in the morning from a small aircraft when the weather conditions and the light is the best. The other way to see the Nazca lines is from a view point called the “Mirador” about 20 kms away from Nazca town. It’s basically a 13 mtr high tower that gives a view of only 2-3 lines. Another way to see some of the designs is to climb on the surrounding hills.

Now for some pics of the Flight over Nazca Lines

Waiting at the airport before the flight
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The flight path that the planes take over Nazca Lines
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A group photo before the take off
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Pretending to be the pilot
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Inside the plane ready to take off
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Whale
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Trapezoids
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Astronaut
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Dog
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Monkey
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Hummingbird
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The Pan American Highway that bisects the desert
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Condor
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Spider
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View of The Mirador on the ground
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Parrot
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Hand and Tree visible from the Mirador
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After the flight you even get a certificate that you have flown the Nazca Lines
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Nazca to Arequipa.


After the flight we directly rushed towards the Cruz Del Sur Terminal to inquire about the next bus to Arequipa. It was at 1400hrs. Since the journey to Arequipa is a 9 hrs long journey we wanted to take the most comfortable bus so bought the tickets. There was not much time to do anything else at Nazca now so we headed back to our guesthouse had breakfast and checked out.

For the journey to Arequipa we bought the front 2 seats on the top deck of the bus. The journey initially was all along the pacific coast giving beautiful views of the mountains on one side and the ocean on the other. After we left the coast we started moving westwards and soon we were crossing mountain ranges. It was a full moon night so the dry and barren mountains looked mystical in the moon light. In one of these mountain ranges Arequipa is situated at a height of 2400mtrs.

By the time we reached Arequipa it was around 2330 hrs. Because of the height Arequipa was cold and we had to get our warm clothing's out. We got a taxi and reached our hotel and slept immediately.

Some pics from Nazca to Arequipa bus ride

Traversing the dry barren Nazca desert.
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Most of the journey was along the Pacific coast
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Sand dunes along the coast
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The coastal dessert road
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The beautifull roads
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Since it there was only a few hours of daylight in the bus I could not click many pictures on the way. Also the buses heavily tinted glasses reduced the light even further.

Next day Arequipa – To be contd.
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Old 27th June 2013, 16:15   #38
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Default Re: To the Lost City of Incas - Peru on a Budget!

Almost off-topic. This particular travelogue reminds me of the game: Serious Sam: 2nd Encounter !!

Of course, people who plan to visit the southern americas can play that game and visit the places that appear in that game.
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Old 27th June 2013, 17:20   #39
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Default Re: To the Lost City of Incas - Peru on a Budget!

very interesting - this Nazca line stuff.... I was not aware of it till now. It is now given me a lot of reading to do on the net

Good stuff.... looking forward to more new "mysteries"...
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Old 1st July 2013, 13:14   #40
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Default 25/06/2013 – Arequipa

25/06/2013 – AREQUIPA

About Arequipa

Arequipa is the 2nd largest city in Peru and is also known as the ‘White City’. This is because it’s mostly built of a white volcanic stone called ‘Sillar’. On the edge of the city it has 3 guardian volcanoes namely The Chisti, Chachani and the Pichu Pichu. From any point of the city you can see these volcanoes looming large over the city.

Again Arequipa was built by the Spanish Conquistadors hence a lot of colonial architecture is visible all over. as mentioned earlier, like in all Peruvian cities, Plaza De Armas is the center of the city.

Lot of tourists come to the city to enjoy its magnificent art and architecture and also venture out to its country side, the Colca Canyon and lots of other protected national parks.

Day At Arequipa

We just had one day at Arequipa as we had planned to do the countryside, namely the Colca Canyon as a separate trip. Chivay is the place where the Canyon starts so the first thing we did was to go to the bus stand and get tickets for Chivay for tomorrow. Since its only 165 kms and a 3.5 hrs journey we decided to book the first local bus available on that day.

Arequipa has 2 bus terminals, but both the bus terminals are next to each other. So after finding the companies that operate between Arequipa and Chivay we booked seats with a company called ‘Reyena’ as the timing of that bus was suiting us. The ticket was about 4 USD. The other recommended bus company is ‘Andalucia’

NOTE:- While visiting The Colca Canyon lot of tourists decide not to stay at Chivay and get closer to the canyon and stay at Cabanaconde or at Yanque (like we did). There are some buses that operate between Arequipa and Cabanaconde as well so if you are one of them you might want to check for bus timings for Cabanaconde buses.

After finishing our ticketing we took a taxi back to Plaza de Armas. At Plaza de Aramas we had to find the ‘Inka Express’ office to pick up our tickets for a bus journey between Puno and Cuzco. (more on that later)

Plaza de Armas is again made out of Sillar Rock and is surrounded by colonial mansions and ‘The Cathedral’. We decided to come back to the Cathedral at a later stage and go and visit the most important edifice of the colonial time ‘Monasterio de Santa Catalina’

Monasterio De Santa Catalina

Again constructed from Volcanic Sillar, the white stone queried locally, this monastery is one of the most beautifull, most impressive and also the most important colonial structures in Arequipa. Being in a seismic zone, the monastery has suffered lots of damage in re current earthquakes but has been successfully restored to its old glory lately.

It’s a city within a city and used to house nuns who used to serve in the monastery. Hence it has its own small plazas, lots of living quarters classified according to the rank of the nuns, bakeries, kitchen’s and all that is needed to live in a city.

The monastery is huge but I feel it’s a photographer’s paradise. Apart from all the history the monasteries pastel coloured walls and the bright flowers, the numerous wall paintings and murals all add to the beauty.

The cost of the entry ticket is around 13USD per person and you get a guide map along with it. You can also take a guide for a tip of around 5 soles per person. The monastery is very huge and its very easy to get disoriented so Its highly recommended to take a guide.

Pics So Far

Enjoying the sunshine in the hotels garden
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The hotel was pretty nice. The hotel
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One of the guardian volcanoes “The Misti” as seen from the bus stand
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Cathedral at Plaza De Armas
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Monasterio de Santa Catalina
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Entrance
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A depiction of last Super
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Various quarters. This is a meeting room
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Murals and paintings adorning the roof and walls
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Living quarters off senior nuns
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Individual kitchens
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Community kitchen
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Monastery Museum displaying artifacts & paintings
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Alley ways, small plazas and the monastery building
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View of volcano Misti from the roof of the Monastery
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All the three guardian volcanoes from L-R : Chachani, Misti & Pichu Pichu as seen from the roof
To the Lost City of Incas - Peru on a Budget!-dsc09687a.jpg

Day at Arequipa to be contd in next post!!!
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Old 1st July 2013, 15:16   #41
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Default Re: To the Lost City of Incas - Peru on a Budget!

Just a Did You Know fact that I recently came across while browsing about the Peruvian culture(specifically the Wari Empire). Thought you might find this interesting!

http://www.theverge.com/2013/6/30/44...of-wari-empire
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Old 1st July 2013, 18:22   #42
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Default Re: To the Lost City of Incas - Peru on a Budget!

Quote:
Originally Posted by deky View Post
I conciseed my travelogue “When I went Walking To Tibet (When I Went Walking To Tibet - Kailash Mansarovar Yatra-2011)” and entered it in the fray. Finally I guess the jury liked my article enough to vote it as the final winner.
Hello Deky,

Though I do not intend to visit Kailash / Mansarovar, but I specifically remember reading your entire travelogue, which in itself is a bible for anyone heading to that place. I can only imagine the time & patience you would have invested in putting-up those details & wonderful pictures. No wonder the jury liked your short write-up & you got a chance to let your dream come true.

Coming to this thread, once again the pictures are great & the narration is in full detail bringing the place live in front of the reader. I am eagerly waiting for the whole set of pictures & explanation of this trip, but I know with the details you put up on your logs, it will take some time.

Thanks,
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Old 2nd July 2013, 13:20   #43
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Default Re: To the Lost City of Incas - Peru on a Budget!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 9thsphinx View Post
Just a Did You Know fact that I recently came across while browsing about the Peruvian culture(specifically the Wari Empire). Thought you might find this interesting!

http://www.theverge.com/2013/6/30/44...of-wari-empire
Hmmmm, I did go to a museum in Cuzco that discussed and displayed arte facts from pre Inca cultures and it did mention about the Wari La culture as well. But I did not go deep into all the cultures as that would be a very difficult and time consuming task.

Thanks for sharing the link though!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jignesh View Post
Hello Deky,

Though I do not intend to visit Kailash / Mansarovar, but I specifically remember reading your entire travelogue, which in itself is a bible for anyone heading to that place. I can only imagine the time & patience you would have invested in putting-up those details & wonderful pictures. No wonder the jury liked your short write-up & you got a chance to let your dream come true.

Coming to this thread, once again the pictures are great & the narration is in full detail bringing the place live in front of the reader. I am eagerly waiting for the whole set of pictures & explanation of this trip, but I know with the details you put up on your logs, it will take some time.

Thanks,
Thanks for the kind words Jignesh. Its actually about balancing time devoted to work and hobby that takes a lot of time. Thanks for the patience

Day At Arequipa Continued.

Santa Catalina Monastery took almost 3 hours and after that it was time for lunch. We had lunch at one of the restaurants at Plaza de Armas. These restaurants at the main square do not offer much in terms of food quality but what you get from here is the views. So after enjoying the views more than the lunch we decided to go to the main church ‘La Catedral’ at the Plaza but that was unfortunately closed, only to open in the evening.

The next place on the agenda was to visit was the ‘Museo Santury’ where the famous ‘juanita’ the frozen body of the Inka maiden who sacrificed on the mountains is displayed. Unfortunately they do not allow photography inside the museum and because I had already read about her and seen her pics on the net we decided to skip it and move ahead. You guys can read about ‘juanita’ here.

As you know that volcanic ash breaks down to form one of the most fertile soils, the countryside around Arequipa city witnesses a lot of farming and the step cultivation along the volcanic mountain ridges are a treat to watch. One of the places from where you can see all the guardian volcanoes of Arequipa and the step cultivation is from a place called ‘El Molino de Sabandia’. We were also told that in the evening with the fading sunlight falling on the fields and the mountains the whole area gets covered in Golden Sunlight.

The place is about 10 kms and takes about 30 minutes in a taxi from the city center. Molino in Spanish means a mill, so basically this place was named after a water mill used as early as in the 17th century. The mill in itself was not very interesting I thought, maybe because we see a lot of water operated mills in India as well. But what was beautifull was the countryside and eventually the sun setting in the evening.

After the sunset we returned back to Plaza de Armas and visited the Cathedral. We were lucky to be just in time before they closed for the day. So after quick photographs we went for dinner and then called it a day and returned home.

Pics so far :-

Having lunch at one of the restaurant balconies in the Plaza
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Reflection of mountains on the dining table
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‘La Catedral’ at Plaza de Armas, Arequipa
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View of Misti from El Molino De Sabandia
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Posing with a Peruvian Falcon
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I was so happy to see a peacock
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Entering the Molino
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The water run mill
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Some animals on display :Alpacas
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Don’t know the name?
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The meanest looking bull I saw on the trip
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Ducks
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Due to limited photography skills, I have not been able to correctly capture the ‘Golden Light’ hour, but some pics of the volcanic mountains, the step farms and the setting sun.

Farm land with Misti looming large in the back ground
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The guardian volcanoes in the setting sun
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Parul enjoying the last bit of sunlight. Also there are plenty of Beatles still running around on Peruvian roads
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Different hues of El Misti as the sun finally sets
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Cafes and restaurants on the streets of Arequipa after sunset have a festive look
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La Catedral at Plaza de Armas
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Next Day : Arequipa to Yanque
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Old 2nd July 2013, 14:51   #44
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Default Re: To the Lost City of Incas - Peru on a Budget!

Aah! Deky Sir you are back.. and how! Just a few days back I was going through your Kailash trek log and wondering when will you be back.

I haven't even started reading this one - will do leisurely. But, from the looks of it, its already an epic in the making. Thanks a lot for sharing!
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Old 3rd July 2013, 16:12   #45
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Default 26/05/2013: AREQUIPA TO YANQUE (Colca Canyon)

26/05/2013: AREQUIPA TO YANQUE (Colca Canyon)

We had a lazy start to the morning as our bus was only at 1100 hrs. After having a hearty breakfast we checked out of our hotel and took a taxi to the bus stand. We had already booked our bus tickets and all we had to do was to pay the bus terminal tax of 0.75 USD, check in our luggage and board the bus.

This was a local bus between Arequipa and Chivay. Chivay is the biggest city at the start of the Colca Canyon (more about the Canyon later) and from there we had planned to take a taxi further to Yanque which is about 10 kms away closer to the canyon.

You can click here to see the route on Google maps

Here are the details of the journey:-

Created by Google My Tracks on Android.

Name: 26/05/2013 11:12
Activity type: bus
Description: Arequipa to Chivay
Total distance: 174.15 km (108.2 mi)
Total time: 4:30:11
Moving time: 3:44:59
Average speed: 38.67 km/h (24.0 mi/h)
Average moving speed: 46.44 km/h (28.9 mi/h)
Max speed: 88.79 km/h (55.2 mi/h)
Max elevation: 4922 m (16147 ft)
Min elevation: 2313 m (7588 ft)
Elevation gain: 3371 m (11059 ft)
Max grade: 14 %
Min grade: -57 %
Recorded: 26/05/2013 11:12

Though the bus was not as comfortable as Cruz Del Sur buses, but the journey was fun. The bus stopped at all possible stops to pick up and drop passengers. I doubt, that in Peru highways buses are allowed to ferry passengers standing, as at all the police check points the driver used to ask the standing passengers to lay down on the floor of the bus to avoid detection and the subsequent fine. Traveling with locals was fun. They kept on telling us the various villages, names of the various mountains, the various wild life and lots of other information through out the journey.

The views outside were also magnificent. Initially, as we left Arequipa, we semi circled Misti and Chachani mountains. Then as we came to the other side of the mountains we entered the ‘Altiplano’ (high altitude plateau). This Altiplano, as the name suggests is a flat piece of ground surrounded by high mountains. As lots of streams flow from the mountains to the plateau, there are lots of marsh lands here and they support a lot of wild life. We saw lots of herds of Vicuna, Alapaca, sheep and ducks. This area of the Altiplano is a protected wild life sanctuary called ‘Salinas and Aguada Blanca National Reservation’

As we approached Chivay, we again steadily climbed a pass and this was the highest point of the trip. This point is called the Patapampa and stands at (as per my gps) 4922m. From Patapampa one can see two more volcanoes towards the Canyon and those are Ampato and Sabancaya.

From Patapampa the bus rapidly descends towards Chivay that stands at 3600msl. Once we reached Chivay bus stand we did not have much of a hassle to find a taxi to Yanque. The 10 kms drive took about 20 minutes and cost us about 6USD (15 soles). Yanque being at the beginning of the canyon is small little village in a valley. Hence it is further down in height at 3400msl.

We checked in our lodge in Yanque, had some refreshments and decided to take a walk around the village till there was still sunlight. The whole village and the fields around shone bright yellow in the fading sunlight. With the sunset, it started to get windy and lot colder so we decided to retire back to our Lodge. At around 2000hrs, the wind had subsided so we braved the cold to go out to the main plaza to have our dinner. Had a hearty meal, came back and called it a day.

Tomorrow would be an early start for us as we would be off to the Canyon to see the Flight of the Condor

Pics of The Day

Note: The bus journey part of the pictures is through the bus window, hence the reflection in some photos

Misti standing tall behind our hotel in Arequipa
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Our bus for Arequipa To Chivay
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The town of Arequipa on the slopes of Misti
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Chachani on the left and Misti on the right
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Arequipa and Pichu Pichu mountain
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The journey through mountain passes
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A factory as we enter the Altiplano
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The rugged terrain
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Wherever there is water there was greenery
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A train line only to carry goods from the factory
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Entering the National Reserve
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The Altiplano
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Herds of Vicuna
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The snow less side (Other side) of Misti
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Rock formations due to wind erosion
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Herds of Alpaca grazing at the marshlands
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Arrow straight roads at the Altiplano
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View of Ampato (L) and Sabancaya (R) Volcanoes from Patapampa (notice how they keep stones on one top of the other for good luck here as well)
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Descending towards Chivay
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Our Lodge at Yanque
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Main Square at Yanque
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The Cathedral
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The fields in fading sunlight
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A panorama
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A final shot from the square
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Tomorrow - Flight Of The Condor
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