|We departed the hotel in a small four wheeled drive vehicle with rather basic (!) comfort. Passing a monument depicting two bulls with locked horns we headed out towards the railway station and airport and on towards the mountains through a barren landscape.|
The road followed the railway line for many miles, and for a large part of the journey it was un-metalled, so was very bumpy!
|During our journey we saw many herds of vicunas.|
There are two species of domesticated Andean cameloids that are the "llama" and the "alpaca", and two other non-domesticated ones that are the "guanaco" and the "vicuna".
The vicuna is the smallest of the Andean cameloids and can reach as high as 1.30 mts. (4'3") from the floor to its head.
Vicuna's have the finest hair of all the cameloids and they became an endangered species until the Peruvian government officially protected the animals, making hunting and capture of the creatures illegal.
There is another photograph of these lovely creatures in my photo album.
As we climbed higher, we stopped at an establishing offering refreshment, particularly coco-tea which is supposed to help with altitude sickness.
Local handicrafts were on sale here and here is mum trying the latest in Peruvian headwear!
In order to earn a little money, the local people are often to be found around the tourist stops wearing traditional clothing and posing for pictures in exchange for a coin or two.
These lovely pictures were well worth the money!
|Opposite the café these rocks have been carved into interesting shapes by wind erosion.|
As we climbed the landscape became wetter and greener, with lovely stretches of water and little farms scattered about.
We stopped briefly for some photographs at the highest point of the route - it was more than a little chilly!
|As we crossed the mountains the landscape became much greener, with cultivated terraces and amazing views.|
Here is our first view of the town of Chivay as we descended the steep road towards our destination for lunch.
Here are pictures of the musicians who entertained us and the market where Alan purchased some lovely pottery dishes.
As we got back into our vehicle it began to rain. As we navigated the narrow roads clinging to the mountain sides the rain turned into a torrential downpour.
However the weather couldn't dampen our excitement and enthusiasm for the scenery which opened out before us.
|Steep mountainsides terraced almost to the top by the ancient Incas inspired a sense of awe - how could it be possible that the crops produced from such small spaces could justify such an enormous labour?|
Our destination, Colca lodge, was like something straight from Lord of the Rings - delightful thatched cottages set on a slope by a river, small streams running in channels through the grounds and all set in an amazing landscape. The picture below is of the little cottage we stayed in.
At the end of an amazing day, full of new sights and sounds, it was absolutely idyllic to lie back in the hot waters of the hot springs at Colca Lodge and absorb the atmosphere of a truly unique place.
Here I am with mum and Susan and Steve Garwood, a couple who became good friends on the trip.
|There is another picture of us in the springs in my photo album.|