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July 3rd 2011
Published: July 4th 2011EDIT THIS ENTRY

Hi all,

we are writing this blog from the ancient inca city of cusco in peru where we arrived at 1600 local after two flights from santiago, the latter of which was a bit too close to the mountains for our liking!

we will pick up from Carlos Paz in Argentina (where we last blogged from!) on our final day in carlos paz we visited a nacional park roughly 55km away. we got the bus early in the morning and got dropped off in (literally) the middle of nowhere! no bus stop signs and no people or noise, just rolling countryside and sand. we managed to find what looked like the entrance and after walking for about half an hour we finally entered the park! we followed the marked path which was expected to last around 6 hours round trip, and took in some condor nesting/flying sites in the mountains. after about twenty minutes of walking carly saw a snake at the side of the path! we knew there were snakes in the park (venomous pit vipers to be precise) but we didnt think we'd see any let alone walk past one!! we continued our walk and the sun was warm, then we passed a sign. it was a warning sign about snakes and pumas! apparently the reserve not only has vulture like birds, venomus snakes but also wild pumas roaming the hills! luckily we only saw the condors for the rest of the day although we did have a few close encounters with rustling near the path!

the bus journey home was a little more difficult than the outward journey, in fact after sitting for over an hour (in the imaginary bus stop where we were left earlier on) and seeing zero buses in either direction we decided that we would walk to a resturant/information point approximately a ''five minute drive'' (bus drivers words) from the entrance of the park. however it must have been some kind of super bus as it took us roughly an hour and a half to walk it, around mountain roads with very little traffic! in what was nearly complete darkness in the end! the plan was to call a taxi and be on our merry way, however that was soon scuppered when the owner of the resturant told us that taxis did not come here! but there were buses every hour. although the buses did indeed stop there, it was only if they were flagged down! after trying (unsuccsefully) to flag down one bus in pitch black darkness we pretty much ran out in front of the next one which kindly decided to stop! and we were very relieved to say the least.

the nest day we chilled in our room untill six o'clock ready for our ''16'' hour bus ride to santiago, chile. we arrived at the bus station at 1930 for a 2200 departure. however on checking in we were informed it was now a 0130 departure! so we went into cordoba for some dinner then wasted some time on the internet! then finally the bus arrived at 0200 and left at 0230 - poor start. the bus itself was comfortable and had some films on later in the day, after some problems with traffic and closed bridges through the andes we finally arrived in chile where it took roughly two hours to get through customs! everything off the bus, through the scanners, passports stamped, bus reloaded we then set off for the downhill part of the andean stretch! this was a little more scary than the uphill with very high passes and seemingly nothing to stop the bus going over the edge but a pile of snow! we arrive in santiago at 2200 (only 8 hours late) and checked into our hostel. santiago itself was nice and you could see the andes poking out from behined various buildings. next day and we did a whistle stop tour of the city and taking in a museum with 5000 year old artifacts followed by an early night ready for our flights to peru.

eary start (0430) and two flights later we arrived in rainy cusco at 1600 local time (now 6 hours behind he uk!) we checked into our hostel (more of a hotel it seems) our room is lovely, the hostal is very rustic and right next door to an ancient monastry. today we finalised details for our visit to macu picchu on thursday, we will be taking the posh train there at 0650 and we have booked lunch at a hotel which is right at the site and run by the orient express!! we will then take the backpackers train home at 1700. it was a bit of a hassle getting hold of the tickets as they no longer sell them on the door, we managed to get a reservation online then we had to take that to a particiluar bank and pay for the tickets! but hopefully it will be worth it.

buenos dias amigos

craig and carly xxx

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