Monday, 23 July 2007

Valley of the Volcanoes

With the strikes and blockades lifted temporarily, I took a chance and headed up to the Valley of the Volcanoes the day after returning from Colca Canyon. Buses in Peru seem to run at odd times. My bus departed at 4.00pm and arrived in Andagua at 3.00am. I guess the hostel owners in the main square of the village are used to being woken and supplying weary travellers rooms at this ungodly hour!! As expected for the three days I was there, I was the only tourist in town.

This high Andean valley, surrounded by snow capped peaks, violently erupted about 80 million years ago, leaving behind about 80 explosion craters. It very much reminded me of the Laki area in central Iceland.

Arriving at the dead of night can have its advantages. For it was not til dawn that I saw the wonderful views surrounding this charming and very friendly village. Everyone person I met wanted to stop for a chat, find out where I was from, and help me from constantly getting lost on the myriad of pathways trhrough the lava filled landscape.

For three days I trekked amongst the cinder cones, returning each afternoon to watch llamas, sheep, donkeys, mules and ponies run around the village square.