As we sit having a celebratory glass of fizz at heathrow awaiting our 4th and final flight in 36 hours we are all reflecting on what has been a truly memorable experience. You can only experience it by signing up for the next challenge. We look forward to your company! Graeme Strawhorn Aileen Anderson Ellen Alexander Carole McVicar Graham Kirkwood Chris McMail
The day we have all been waiting for has final arrived. We arise at 4.30 and then make our way to Machu Picchu. The weather could not have been better for our visit and we were not disappointed with some absolutely breathtaking scenery. We now know why it is recognised as one the modern wonders of the world. As we are all preparing this blog we have all agreed that it would be virtually impossible to describe in detail the incredible buildings which are over 500 years old. The ony way to really appreciate thesis to visit it! Then the piece de resistance, we had all signed up to climb waynapicchu, which overlooks the ruins. This was a very difficult climb, very steep and extremely narrow in places. Ropes were required in certain parts and the top was covered in perilous boulders, not for the feint hearted. There was some very narrow passages through caves to deal with, another challenge for Graeme who once again stepped up herioically (not!) We were all very tired when we got back down but also very elated and emotional. A fantastic end to our exciting adventure and a fabulous week with some old and new friends.
Was an Incan fort overlooking the sacred valley with magnificent views and lots of original stonework. Our guide explained the implications of the Incan cross. It turns out that our guide, Efrain Valles, is a true Peruvian celebrity and one of the most respected guides in Peru. It was only during the journey home that we realised that he was mentioned extensively in the book "Turn right at Machu Picchu" by Mark Adams. We then proceeded along the sacred in valley into the town of Ollayantambo which follows the route of an ancient Incan aquaduct still in use today. We had lunch in town before boarding the train to Aguascalientes and then headed out for an fantastic dinner.
4.30 alarm call and 5.30 start. One of the group took this mornings warm up and it was heart warming to see the young Peruvian school children joining these entertaining strangers prancing around.
Before we start the walk we are privileged to be invited into the home of a local farmer. The tiny thatched roof house comprising of 1 room split into bedroom and living and even more bizarrely the kitchen area was in the corner of the bedroom. The family consisted mum, dad and three children, the bed accommodated as many as could fit, with the remainder having to sleep on the mucky floor. There were guinea pigs running around the room and nesting under the bed. Guinea Pigs are a locally delicacy eaten on special occasions. The farmer showed off the tools of his trade and Chris had a valiant attempt at using the hand plough and failed miserably. We had a tough ridge walk away from the village into the sacred valley to wake us up. After a few hours trekking we stopped beside a local farm house and our guide took us through some local history and the ethos that Peruvians live their lives by. Three plays a significant part in all aspects of their way of live. Guiding principals:
don't be lazy
For a full life:
Peruvians perform the following in their lifetime:
Plant a tree
Have a baby
Write a book (although most Peruvians cannot actually write, they express their life story in a shawl that they wear an their backs. Girls weave there own and mothers /wives weave for the men.)
We continued up the hills and educated our fellow trekkers to Scottish local delicacies including haggis, pakora, deep fried and with neeps and tattles. Lunch was besides a beautiful picturesque lake, akin to a Scottish lochen. Another long 3.5 hour trek after lunch traversing along the side of the Sacred Valley. Arrived at camp. The guides had built a camp fire and we had pre dinner beers and marshmallows with hilarious games. Late than usual a to bed as had a latish start next morning (6.30!)