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Going with the flow in Arequipa, and being blown away...

PERU | Friday, 20 April 2012 | Views [319]

Arequipa, the Colca Canyons and the unexpected highs and benefits of having no preconceived expecations...

The last few days have been completely beyond my expectations. I have just come off an extreme high (and even more extreme low - homesickness?!!! What the?!) after completing the spectacular salkantay trek, which culminated in the magical and mystical macchu piccu, to venture off in the trusty Peruvian buses to Arequipa. A city i had no preconceived expectations of, thinking of it simply as a stop-off for any pre-colca canyon trekking... My, i couldn't have been more wrong!  A gorgeous little, historic city surrounded by snow-capped volcanic mountains and beautiful spanish Architecture.
I joined a very economical 3 day canyon trek to visit the deepest canyons in the world. It was cheap, allowed me to see condors cruising high above the wild river thundering far far below, through the worlds deepest canyons, whilst at the same time witnessing some of the most beautiful, breathtaking and spectacular mountains, landscapes and scenery. We did the 3 day hike, which involved only a few easy hours of hiking each day. Upon reaching camp 1, most of us were disappointed that we did so little hiking, not to mention being all downhill. But today. Today, I am very pleased for having chosen 3 rather than 2 days. It has allowed me to recharge the batteries, to get to know my fellow hiking group, to dawdle and sightsee in peace as well as allow us to actually enjoy our 'Paraiso' today. A true Oasis. A tiny camping town, nestled between huge canyons, a wild river far below, not to mention the shrub & cactus-filled slopes, where to see the sky, you really need to crane your head high. The skies seem a life time away....  It is absolutely beyond description. No words can do this justice, a sparkling fresh mountain/water filled pool cut out of the rocks, beautiful strelitzia, frangipani, geraniums, calla lilies, daisies and lavender, corn and fig trees,  sunflowers, passionfruit (or as it is called locally maracuja) and chilli vines, avo trees, palm trees. It makes me want to stay here forever, and question why we take the rush and stresses of our 'normal' London lifestyle for granted. Maybe these people appreciate life more than we do?! But this debate I'll leave for another day... Right now, I might go for an after lunch siesta, listening to the rumble of the river and cascading waterfalls, and the young kiwi lads playing volleyball outside...  If only I didn't hurt my knee and wrist on salkantay trek, you'd find me out there showing them how it's done!
If you find yourself in Peru, make sure you don't miss this hike, which to me, personally, nearly beats the hike to macchu piccu.... Amazing!

Tags: canyons, trekking

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