See ya Peru.
See ya Pariwana.
See ya Picchu.
In what has really been quite a pleasant stay on our final west coast country of South America. Having come from 30 degrees in Mancora we are staring with trembling knees at the height and associated cold of Bolivia, thus I have adopted the look of the locals... So I thought until I left the shop, looked around and saw not a single poncho for miles around.
Leaving George behind to sort out Nells delayed flight we jumped on a 11 hour but to Copacobana with some Canadians we met on our Machu trek.
Here goes the leap into the time portal.
5 July 2016
Every single element was perfectly executed. All of the drainage perfectly lines up so that there was never any excess or lack of water. The surrounding mountains had ruins and burial tombs on them that all lined up on the 21sts with the sun to signify the Incan God, nature. The lower level terraces were built purely to support that which was above and every single rock brick was placed and cut exactly so that the force of earthquakes dissipated through them and meant the whole place was sturdy.
Machu Picchu had around 500 residence... 75% of which were effectively hotel staff as it was a religion pilgrimage site bringing people from all over the continent.
Very late on in a long day we worked out that South America does actually have trains... Even if they don't want you to know they do.
Day 4. Machu Picchu
Out of the door at 4 we walked half an hour along a track to the entrance to the Machu Picchu "botanical ground" and started the hike up to the ruins.
An hour, a lot of sweat and some light later we got to the entrance. Our guide showed us around the ruins and explained how the National Geographic first funded the excavation and has the ownership of the 300+ original photographs.
After passing the smallest rock in Machu Picchu we got to the sun temple which everyone gets very excited about on the 21st June and December. As the sun raised over the mountains the guide explained that the old park manager had decided to clean the sun temple with metal brushes, thus worsening the erosion he was trying to fix... He is currently on trail in the Peru court (they take this s**t seriously).
Post guide we had loads and loads of time on our hands to explore and I can honestly say that the lads, the uncultured louts that we are were absolutely amazed by it all.
4 July 2016
We woke up feeling pretty worse for wear after being caught out by an impromptu drinking session by the group the night before.
Jumping in a bus for 5 minutes we went to a canyon and went across 5 zip lines that zigzagged down at around 200m a pop. Unfortunately no pictures because by worse for wear I mean on our death beds.
After eating the one food stuff of Peru for lunch, chicken, rice and chips we set off hiking for 5 hours along the railway track with massive sides to the valley either side of us.
Aguas calientes was our stop for the night and we went all guns blazing into a pizza each only to find out that as we finished another supper was being prepared for us. With an alarm for 3:45 we dodged the drinking and went to hit the hay early.
3 July 2016
Hiking from Santa Maria to Santa Teresa was advertised as a 9 hour hike but actually ended up being surprisingly pleasant.
We set off at 7 and went along a dirt track for 2 hours which was a good break in as our guide, Daniel,told us it was Peru flat (actual flat). All of a sudden we started climbing and then hiked Inca flat (v.steep) until lunch along the original Inca trail through coca, cocoa ,coffee ,avocado ,banana,mango and papaya plantations. A well welcomed break came at a tiny shack where we got dressed up as sun gods (they seem to love it) tried snake tequila and pure cocoa mixed with honey... Which is like a super rich gooey brownie on steroids.
Finally going Europe flat (downhill) we reached a river and followed it until it we got to a pulley trolley on a wire that the locals used to cross the gorge. Finally we reached some hot springs that were the other end of the scale to Baños. They were natural and hot water came directly out of the rock underneath.
2 July 2016
Jungle trek day 1.
We set off from the hostel at 8 in a pretty shoddy van and went 3 hours out of Cusco to Arba Malaga.
From here we could see that we were pretty much at glacier level at 4400m. Then we cycled down hill, only down hill, for a long time. There were a couple of people in the group joking around and having fun. We went hard and adopted a full blown peloton whizzing around the hair pins and crossing fjords as we went.
After a lunch in our base for the night, Santa Maria, we went white water rafting on the Urubamba river which we expected to be pretty cool and have patches of white water. What followed was an hour and a half of pure white water with a crazy Peruvian man guiding us whilst sneakily flirting with Nell.
The nights accommodation is however slightly more basic with us all in a spider infested room, with a thin piece of ply wood as a ceiling (full blown dorm above), a resident cat and a door that only locks you in or out. Never when you want it to lock.
29 June 2016
Arriving in Cusco pretty battered after the 18 hour bus we quickly tracked a trip advisor restaurant called 'Mr Soup' which perfectly breached the void between filling and nutritional, thus getting us right on track.
At 3400m Cusco isn't exactly easy. On the second day we took a free walking tour around the city which was a great introduction to Cusco and Incan civilisation. We learned that a mere 200 Spanish soldiers killed over 20 million Incans. George and Tom even became sun gods for a while.
The photo of me is in plaza de Armas, a place Charlie and Ewa visited on their honeymoon. Then one of the many crazy smoothie makers in the San Pedro market... A seriously hearty fresh smoothie for no more than a pound.
Finally... Our stupidly big home made spag bol for 5 Soles each and my 11 litre rucksack that will see my through the 4 day 'Jungle trek' to Machu Picchu.
28 June 2016
Tom and George went sand skiing in the afternoon which left the rest of us to climb up a sand dune. This is no waxham beach sand dune. As steep as any black run I've ever skiied, you take 2 steps forward and 5 back for about an hour until you reach the top, here you get to see the silhouetted dunes and then finally the sun set way off in the distance. After the sun set the temperature plummets which literally means a race back to base, down the dune... Taking no more that a minute.
27 June 2016
Lima was fairly insignificant but a great place to have a few nothing days, see Francis and Issy and pick up Nell.
We then got a Cruz del Sur bus (v. Nice) to Ica and then a 15 minute taxi on to Huacachina where we stayed at the Banana adventure hostel for the night, which included breakfast and a sand boarding tour in the morning.
Huacachina is an unbelievable place as it is an oasis in the middle of a sand ocean. It looks exactly like the high Alps but opposed to snow and rocks there is sand. A lot of sand.
Sand boarding was really fun as the instructor took us in a weird monster truck hybrid to a small slope to start with. As I finally got the hang of it I came off the board and sliced the side of my foot open which was unfortunately me out for the season.
24 June 2016
Another nice bus. The 18 hour bus from Mancora to Lima was quite steep at 110 soles... But when you effectively get a bed and two meals included it isn't too bad.
Oh, and it's also pretty scenic.