Alan Morris in the Andes mountains, Peru.

Today I travelled from Arequipa through the Colca Canyon to Chivay. I passed through many small villages in the rugged volcanic landscape, where farming is still the major source of work & way of bringing money into the local economy.

Colca Canyon.

Passing many raised terraces from pre-Inca settlements, that had been cultivated & used for growing crops like potato, corn, tomato, onion & local vegetables, I wondered how many people had been injured or even killed whilst working on the steep high narrow terraces. I wouldn't want to work them without a safety rope tethering me to the ground to stop me from falling over the edge.

We stop at a small shop, café for a rest break. After a cup of Coca tea with mint, I look at some of the clothes & craft ware on sale. I purchase my first gift for myself whilst here. Because of the warfarin, I am on, my hands get very cold back in England. Sometimes, even inside a building, they are cold, so I buy a pair of Alpaca gloves that have no fingertips. These will keep my hands warm but allow me to use my camera when out or in some cases when I'm really cold allow me to use my computer when I'm indoors. So I won't lose these gloves I safely stow them away in the backpack I take with me.

As we continue our journey getting higher still we pass hundreds of roaming Alpaca & lots of small streams coming from the mountain tops & glaciers above us. At just over 16,000 feet we get to the highest point you can go without requiring a licence to climb these mountains. A few years ago the Peruvian government became aware of the number of people dying whilst attempting to climb the mountains, volcanoes & glaciers. When they realised that this didn't look good for their tourist trade they passed a law forbidding people to climb without a licence, proper equipment & local guides to help them.

Unfortunately, I had not been made aware of this new law before I got here so my planned solo attempt to climb these lofty summits unaided by a guide, special equipment, oxygen or even a large Llama was thwarted before it began. I will have to plan better in the future, for now, I just pose for a photo at the altitude marker at this point.

We soon arrive at Colca Canyon, which is deeper than the Grand Canyon in North America & is the home of the Condor. This large bird is actually a member of the vulture family & soars very high in the sky looking for dead carrion to feed on. We went to the area where the Condor nest & there are a couple of lookout points to view them from. Although I would like to say that I saw some Condor, they were flying so high that even with the zoom lens on my camera it was difficult to conclusively say what they were. I was able to see many smaller brightly coloured birds & several types of hawk or kestrel, as well as many high up birds that the local guide assured me, were Condor.

Driving through the canyon I saw hundreds of Llama & Alpaca that the native's farm & Shepherd look after for their wool. Apart from the tourists that now visit the canyon, it was like going through the land that time had forgotten. The landscape & the way of life that these people live has been unchanged for generations. The roads here are very narrow, dusty & in some places, landslides mean we have to make small detours across hurriedly built dirt roads.

Our hotel tonight has a planetarium & a show tonight which I buy a ticket to see after dinner. After a very nice dinner, I go to the bar to be told that the planetarium has a fault & that tonight's show has been cancelled. I take the refund for my ticket & decide to invest it in the local community at the Casa Andina Hotel bar where I sit with an Englishman & a Welshman to discuss Football. I jumped in front of the large open fire to warm myself up, because of the altitude here the nights get very cold & the temperature drops quickly.

After a few beers, I go back to my room for the night. On the way, I remember my tour guide Rosario telling me to expect a nice surprise in my bed when I retire for the night. Imagine my disappointment when I jumped into bed to discover a hot water bottle, Rosario you are a tease.