Mark and Winny's Peru Vacation
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In Lima we met our Gap Adventures tour group of 11 people: Jaqui (UK), Frederieke (Belgium), Linda (Canada), Kate & Naomi (Australia), Dave & Dennis (Australia), Pat (Canada) and Derek (Ireland). Our tour guide, Tara, was from Canada. The first couple of days we drove down the coast through many of miles of desert to Pisco (where we saw sea lions and penguins) and then Nazca. We actually went sandboarding on the desert sand dunes (photo below)! Sandboarding is a little like snowboarding, but hot and dirty.
We did a flight over the Nazca lines. Below is a picture a small part of the Nazca lines from the plane. You can see the outlines of a condor in the center/bottom of the picture, and some other large geometric shapes and lines. Some of the lines measure up to 10 miles in length. Who drew the lines and why is not clear. They are several hundred years old and still well preserved because it never rains in this desert!
The Nazca culture preceded the Inca's by half a millenium. In Chauchilla you can see the remains of this culture at an ancient desert cemetery. They buried their people fully clothed and upright in pits built into the desert ground.
Our trip continues into the mountain area. We stay in Arequipa and then drive into the upper mountains and the Colca Canyon. We go over a 16,000 ft pass along the way. We are now at elevations of 12,000 ft (or 2,325 m). It takes some getting used to and headaches are common. We see our first alpaca's (see picture below).
There are many vendors along the road into Colca Canyon. They sell mostly hand- made alpaca wool sweaters, hats, scarves, gloves, socks, etc. Like the sweater Winny just bought!
We stay over night in the tiny mountain town of Coporaque and do a small hike in the country side. There are lots of locals in traditional clothes.
All around us in the Colca Canyon and Coporaque there are Inca terraces as far up the mountains as you can see. Can you imagine building these terraces and then climbing the mountains daily to tend to your crops (all above 12,000 ft!).
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