We are back from the Colca Canyon bus tour. It was very fun as we had a cool group of people. About half of the group of 18 or so really got along. Tim and I were the only Americans. Three Germans, including Thomas our travel buddy, two Danish girls, and a Peruvian Canadian. There were some Brazilians on the trip, as well as a French couple, more Peruvians, and two older Japanese women. Our guide was very good. He explained a lot and had good English. The roads were very bumpy so most the busing was rough, but the views were gorgeous.
They say the Colca is 2x deeper than the Grand, but it is such a different type of Canyon, I am not sure how to compare them. It’s much more like a deep canyon between two mountains, not the steep cliffs of the Grand. But all the hillsides were terraced, originally by a people who preceded the Inca. The Inca then made it more high tech by actually employing subtle micro-climates between the terraces. It might be a half degree warmer on one, so they would grow the corn there instead of the potatoes. Pretty amazing, and all extremely beautiful. We saw many small cute towns, and stopped today for an hour to watch condors. Our guide said there are only 105 wild condors in Peru, and only 270 maybe in South America. Many more in the zoos, but that is obviously not the same. It was somewhat annoying that the tour made us eat at nicer restaurants without cheaper choices, but the hostel we stayed in was very nice. We all stayed in different hostels based on whom we booked our tour. Altogether it was a very good time.
Here’s the hard part we have hit. There is a strike in Peru, I think about eco land support; I don’t know all about it. Anyway, the strikers have set up a perimeter around Cusco so that no buses can get through. None. Only one airline flies from Arequipa to Cusco, and all the flights are booked, or we pay to fly through Lima, which is $380. So we are attempting another route. We are going to take a bus to a town about 85 km from Cusco, where the buses can no longer get through. We will see if we can walk through and take a collectivo (cheap local bus) the rest of the way (3 hours). Thomas is coming with us. It’s either that or we stay in Arequipa for another week or skip Cusco all together. But Cusco is a main place we want to go, of course, including hiking to Machu Picchu. The strikers are hurting the government by blocking tourism. The worst that can happen is that we get to this town (which won’t cost too much) and find out we can’t go further. Then we make a new plan. Tomorrow morning we will go to the bus station and see what we can find out. I will be in touch. Prayers are good, but don’t worry. Tim and I won’t do anything to jeopardize our health and safety. We are taking very good care of each other.
We are still having a wonderful time, and Tim is truly seeing the allure of travel. The more cool people you meet, the more stories you hear, and the more places you want to go. I am very tired, and we are attempting the bus station very early. Blessings!