Another early start and we were off with our new Spanish friends to the Colca Canyon to see the condors. For many years Colca claimed to be the deepest canyon in the world but now another canyon in Peru has been found to be a few meters deeper. Although it is technically twice as deep as the Grand Canyon it is measured from the top of the volcanos around it so the deepest point you stand at is 1200m to the valley floor which is quite a bit less than the Grand Canyon. Having said that it is absolutely stunning.
We stopped a couple of times on the way to see some really touristy bits like local dancers and stalls selling tat but it all helps the local economy so what the hec! We went through a tunnel that was hewn through the rock with no light at the end and lots of dust so was really eerie and how the driver saw his way we have no idea.
When we got to Condors Cross the world and his wife had already arrived and their aunts, uncles and cousins were still to come. It was a bit offfputting to start with but once the condors started flying we forgot all that and were just mesmerised by the beauty of this bird. They are 1m long and have a 3m wingspan with the head of a turkey and eat carion like a vulture. They can sniff out dead meat from a long way off so we had to protect Joe.
There were one or two to start with but as the teamperature and updrafts increased we saw 10 in the air at once - around 20% of the total population in the valley. It was a really inspiring sight and one that neither us or the other 8000 people with us will ever forget.
On the way back we stopped at a small village with the now typical stalls selling Alpaca wool clothing and other tourist tat but at least it's another way to bring money to the local community.
Back in Yanque we went for a walk and ended up in a a small local cafe for lunch. The meal was the set menu Del Diaz and we each had soup and a plate of rice, potatoes and meat together with a big jug of juice. It was simple and tasty although it could have been hotter - something we're starting to get used to as water boils at around 85c. The total bill was just £6 - that's total not each!
At 3 we went on the daily 3 hour guided hike arranged by the hotel. We wandered along the canyon edge and then dipped down towards the river - spectacular scenery. When we were still a couple of hundred meters above the water we came to a metal rope bridge and anyone who knows Jane will know about her love of heights. It was wide enough for Joe and I to go one each side of her which helped but she managed it, crying every step of the way. That night she even had a nightmare about it so it was a really traumatising experience for her. To be fair It was a really ong way down!!
We walked through pre-Incan terracing and Incan ruins and it was a fascinating walk, ending up at the same hot spa we'd been to the day before which was a great way to end the day.