Published: July 25th 2009July 25th 2009
Edge of the world
We weren´t really that comfy, it was a 400M drop down the side of where we were standing
Buenos Dias from Buenos Aires
So here we are, finally, in the penultimate country before heading back to Blighty. Can´t quite believe its almost over, 5 months down with under 2 weeks now left. Mad.
Ok, but before that we need to fill in the Peru
gap where we spent 3 weeks wining, dining and climbing. We left it last time having just gone over the border from Bolivia to the Peruvian town of Puno
. We completed the trip to Cusco
with the friends we´d made in Copacabana, although it wasn´t as simple as we´d hoped. No barricades, no protests just the locals trying to get through to Cusco before the next series of strikes. Cue streams of packages, people, more packages and what seemed to be someones house move all trying to get on our tourist bus! Arrived fine though ready for a shower and bed. Cusco
is great. For those who´ve been will know. We had a week to play with before starting the Inka Trail
so we spent a week where we basically ate, drank and saying ´No Gracias´ to the locals selling all kinds of stuff. Also watching Murray lose in the quarters at
Cusco Plaza de Aramas
Maria on bench no.23 that we sat on during our first week there
Wimbledon, in Paddy´s Bar. We celebrated Maria´s birthday in style by first shopping then heading to the local hairdressers. Being the only tourists in the place with limited Spanish (none relating to hairdressing) we hoped for the best, apart from the huge kitchen scissors the guy used on Kev and the local kids starring at Maria´s ´blonde´ hair it all went well. In the evening we headed out for a great meal at the kitsch ´Fallen Angels´ restaurant before moving onto ´Norton´s Rat´ bar (our newly acquired local pub) for Darts and Pool. Maria had never played Darts before and so now the decor is now a bit different near board no. 2, although a couple of Piscola´s later and the Bullseyes were flowing!
After our week relaxing on the Saturday we moved to the hotel to meet the rest of the group for the Inka Trail. So, so luxurious compared to what we´d been used to. Someone even carried our bags for us! Met the group and the guide (Ali), all were really nice and a real mix of nationalities and ages. Sunday was the Sacred Valley
day where we visited a local community sponsored by our tour
Dinning in the Bath
One of the tables in the ´Fallen Angels´restaurant (for Maria´s Birthday), complete with goldfish and flipflops
company GAP. So many nice things to buy and look at with everything made locally and dyed using local plants and berries. Visits to some local ruins, Inka Terracing and lots of info from Ali got us in the mood. Then we had 4 days of camping where we walked 45km, paced 78,000 steps and ate some really nice food that the chef made for us! The highest point was 4200M, and did we feel it, though the scenary was excellent as we paced with our local walking sticks. Nice touches of the trip were the coca tea at 5 in the morning, being applauded when we reached each major milestone by the porters and the bowl of warm water for our feet at the end of the day. Honestly though, it really was hard work and we had a really great sense of achievement when at 7am on Day 4 we completed it all by reaching ´Macchu Picchu´
the lost Inka City. The views as we descended from the Sun Gate were just amazing and it made the hard slog all worth it. A few hours of exploring the huge ruins and gardens in the heat meant it was
Maria at the Ochy
Just before adding some texture to the wall
time for a beer.
Before getting back to Cusco we had lunch and the wierdest train journey. Firstly Kev had Inka Cola spilt in his crotch by the waiter, Jungle style music kicked in and a strange masked guy jumped up and down the train stroking his cuddly toy Llama,,, then the same (spill it) waiter started a fashion show, strutting up and down the carriage in local Alpaca wool sweaters and tank tops looking for us all to buy. Just shows where British Rail is going wrong!
Back in Cusco the whole tour group and guides met up for dinner and that´s where Kev finally got to eat Guinea Pig. Bit like chicken really, but with a thicker skin and much bigger teeth. Also a yum Alpaca steak. Maria was working her way through the wine and pizza. After dinner we all went to a local bar with live music and dancing which was cool then did a bit dancing ourselves at a local nightclub. Big goodbyes to the group the next day, and hopefully we´ll meet some again in Brazil.
Next day was off to Arequipa
town, which was a 10 hour luxury (plus Bingo
Wall at Saqsaywaman
High above Cusco a ruins site with cool walls
games) bus ride toward the coast. The town is surrounded by 3 Volcanoes that look fantasic as a back drop. We wanted to explore the nearby Colca Canyon
so booked a 2 day tour that would include a visit to a Condor lookout point. We expected to see 1 or even 2 birds, but by the time the 11th one turned up in the 2nd steepest Canyon in the world it was simply amazing. A huge 3 metre wingspan made them look like planes circling around us. We were so close to them you could see them looking at us, although trying to get a decent picture was another thing. Later that evening we went to a local restaurant with the group for dinner and to watch the ´Witti´ dancing (aka the ´Love Dance´). They had other ideas though, and soon Kev was being whipped, danced over by a local woman and had the crowd worried when he had to spin her around on his shoulders, after a large Beer.
From Arequipa the long 15 hour trip to Lima
. Some of the most changeable scenery we´ve seen the whole trip. From rolling hills, to mountainous twirling coastal roads to
Topshop in Peru
At the GAP Community with locals and their hand made wool and stuff
driving through beaches and finally the casinos´ of Lima. All the way haunted by hundreds of massive Hawks watching our progress. Leading to Maria wowing at them all, and waking Kev up alot to show him as we went along (Note:Kev asleep, Maria awake on Transport!). The following 10 hour wait at Lima International Airport was not fun, comparing how people wrap suitcases in plastic and how porters arrange barriers for most efficient queuing wasn´t the highlight of the trip.
There was the end of Peru. The flight out was really nice, we could see the Andes, and even got to watch High School Musical 3,,, fantastic! All didn´t seem so great though as we tried to land in Buenos Aires. The pilot had casually mentioned a bit of wind at the airport, but we didn´t expect the 2 failed attempts to land, powering off to gain altitude, the plane at a 45 degree angle to the runway and for it to be bucking like a bull. Anyway, 3rd time lucky and huge cheers for the pilot who will be getting a wedding invite.
So here we are, now in Argentina. Looking forward to Steak, Eva Peron songs,
The start of the Inka Trail
The Crazy Llama crew ready to disembark
Tango´s in the street and no Hand of God (Maradona).
See you all soon!
Kevin and Maria
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