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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

COLCA CANYON

After Nazca it was back on the road. We need to get a few kilometres under our belt as we have lost a lot of time. The scenery keeps changing as we follow the coastline. Towering cliffs, blue ocean & brown desert. Some of the road is downright scary. There are 100's of "dead sheds" on the side of the road as a gentle reminder. We finish the day camped beside the surf. Then head inland on a terrible road to Colca Canyon. After softening the shock absorbers, letting down the tyre pressure and putting GR2 into low range it feels a lot better. What a ride!! It was all twists, turns & steep hills, from fertile farms to dry mountains. We even saw a few wild vicunas (kind of like a fine boned llama) and lots of Inca terracing. The views are awesome. Our highest point today was 4191m. We camped at the mirador (viewpoint) at 3850m. Coming up so high in one day was probably a mistake as we both had headaches and I felt nauseous. We met a Swiss couple in their MAN 4x4 who had been touring South America for 3 years- they gave us lots of tips.
The next morning was another magic drive with considerably better roads. There were lots of villages with ladies in their traditional clothes, heaps of fun markets and more magic views. Our highest point today was a wheez inducing 4910m (John thinks I have recorded that wrong...so I will double check). After a huge day we made it to the city of Arequipa where we eventually found the hotel where all the overlanders camp.
It was much harder to get out of town, but we want to make it to the border today. We finish eating all our meat, cheese, fruit & veges, and settle in for a long drive. Of course we fill up with fuel...as it is cheaper here. No dramas at the border - we even manage to fill in the Spanish forms OK. The longest wait was for the man to sign out GR2 from Peru. On entering Chile we had to declare our goods (they let us keep our milk, but we had to give them our honey), then a sniffer dog searched GR2. Finally we were through. It was getting late so we headed straight to the beach for a quiet night.

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