Well greetings all! Â Yes I know it has been a rather long tiem since I last posted but I can asure you it is due to being very busy!Â On the 7th April I arrived in Lima, Peru at around 1:25am! I was met by a Toucan travel agent who transfered me to my hotel. Once there I went to bed and got a much needed good nights sleep.Â The next morning I headed to the hotel bar to see if I could find anyone else that was on my tour. Success... I met up with a couple of Irish girls named Linda and Jean... both very cool girls. I also met several people from another Toucan tour whom would be travelling with my tour for the first week, they were Tom and Dan. Â We all had breakfast together and the lads and I headed out for a walk around Lima. We wandered for a while and then visited the Museo San Fransisco. There we went on a tour of the place and into the catacombs underneath, which was creepy and interesting at the same time! Unfortunately no photos were allowed, but got a postcard!Â Later we met the girls for lunch at a street restraunt. In the afternoon everyone who had already arrived for our tour went on an orientation walk with our guide Paul. In the evening we our whole group, now arrived, went out for dinner. Everyone in my group were as follows: Linda, Jean, Heather, Cathrine, Donnie, Michael, Martin, Cyril, David and myself.Â The next day, the 8th, we all got the bus to the airport where we caught a flight to Port Maldonardo. From there we took a tour bus to a small town with a river port. From there we boated our way down the Amazon river and to the Eco Jungle Lodge where we would spend the next couple of days!Â Well the jungle lodge was amazing, with each of us sharing jungle huts in pairs. The huts had great beds, hammocks, bathrooms and were in such an amazing location! The first afternoon we visited monkey island, where we saw many kinds of monkeys and one ven sat on my shoulder for a while! After that we headed back across the water to the lodge, and an amazingly tasty three course dinner! After dinner we had a few drink in the bar and then off to bed.Â The next day in the jungle we were up early to another session of great food. Then we went on a four hour walk of the Amazon jungle, an eye opener and no mistaking! We saw many species of birds and monkeys and many varieties of flora and fauna! Half way through the walk we went for a row on a small lake an I captained the boat haha! At the end of the walk we all took a relaxing boat ride and then walked back to the lodge. In the afternoon we visited a family that still resides in the jungle and I tried my hand at a bamboo bow and arrow! At night after another great meal we went on a night time boat cruise that enabled us to view the beautiful night sky on the silent river! Stunning!Â On the morning of the 10th we took a boat back to the mainland and returned to the airport where we were delayed for two hours! We then flew to Cusco. Once in our hotel in Cusco we went for another orientation walk and then out for dinner at a restaurant in 'Gringo Alley' called Jacks. After that we had a pre- Inca trail meeting with our trail guide Edwin, then bed.Â The morning of the 11th saw us all up early and we went on a tour of the Sacred Valley of the Incas. We visited several great Incan sites and I got some great photos. At the end of the tour we stayed in the town of Pisco, at a local family home, where I found an addictive game where you throw lead disks into a playing board to score points!Â The next day, the 12th we bagan our first day of the Inca trail. Firstly we drove to the prep site where we gave our duffel bags to the porters who would carry them for us, and then on to the control point where we had our passports and tickets checked and stamped! At last we were then on the trail. The first day we saw several Incan sites and trekked up to a hight of 3,200 meters by the end of the day, where we also played a game of football against the porters, not an easy feat at that hight! Then bed by 8:30pm!Â On the 13th we were up at 5:30am for what was to be the hardest day of the four day trek! Well in all honesty it was an utterly draining and moral sapping day indeed! Almost immediately it started to rain and we were all soaked through! Not only that but the days eight hour walk was all uphill to a hight of 3,800 meters!!! By the time we had walked up and over Dead Womans Pass and got to camp on the other side we were all a bit down and cold! A new dry set of clothes seemed to cheers people up but I was unable to get warm and felt like death warmed up... probably due to the altitude! Although once in my sleeping bag I was alright.Â The morning of the 14th didn't start much better for me as soon after breakfast I found myself sicking up everywhere lol! Fortunately I believe it was due to my Malaria tablets! We continued our trek at an easier pace, although it was still uphill it was a little easier going and we visited some more Incan sites. The day was long, nine and a half hours to be exact, but by the end of the day we had the hills surrounding Machu Pichu in sight! That night there was a bar and shower block on site. Unfortunatley as soon as I got in the shower the heating element blew and my shower was ice cold, a total waste of 5 soles!!!Â Myself and three of the Irish boys went out for a few drinks in the eve and then took some back to camp to share with Linda and Jean. Then a good nights sleep to prepare for reaching Machu Pichu the next day!Â Well on hte 15th we awoke for breakfast at 3:45am and had our breakfast. Then we prepared for the long mornings walk. Unfortunately as we were heading off Martin, one of the Irish lads fell ill and couldn't carry on! Both Cyril and Michael decided that they would remain with him as they were all travellign together and it was hard for us all to say goodbye to them as the last few days had been an emotional time we had all shared! Â But we had to continue and so we did. It took us several hours to reach the Sun Gate but when we did it was breathe taking! From the Sun Gate we got our first glimps of the majesty of Machu Pichu, the sacred city of the Incas! So we continued for another hour until we reached the city itself! Once there Edwin took us on a two hour tour of the important parts of the city and then we had a couple of hours to wander on our own... which is exaclty what I did! It was amazing to walk through Machu Pichu on my own and imagine what it was like in it's hayday! I took many photos and nearly missed my bus from the sacred city haha! Â Our group met for lunch in the town below Machu Pichu and we then caught a train back to Cusco, arriving around 9pm! It had been a very long day but Jean, Heather and I went our for chocolate cake that we had promised ourselves once the trail was completed! Then bed!!!Â On the 16th we had a free day to explore Cusco and I spent it chilling out in Plaza De Armas people watching (wow that will earn me lots of backpacker points!). Also I got my Peru stint tattoo... and Incan Sun symbol, it looks good! In the evening our group went out for dinner at Jacks and Edwin joined us. Also a local boy selling finger puppets sat with us and he was very entertaining... I am now the owner of a fish finger puppet named Edwin!!! After dinner we all went to an Irish pub (yes in PERU!) and had a few drinks before returning back to the hotel!Â On the 17th we said goodbye to Cusco and took a seven hour bus ride to Puno! The journey was relieved by reading my book and listening to my I-pod, thank god for small pleasures! Half way we stopped at a roadside market that was colourful and interesting!When we arrived in Puno we found that we had been upgraded to a better hotel, which was nice! We all went out for dinner but it was a bit dissapointing. Then we had soem drinks in our hotel bar before bed.Â On the 18th we took a boat ride to Taquile Island where we walked around it, visiting the market square and having lunch at a local home posing as a restaurant! Then we left and boated over to Amantani Island where we were to stay the night with the local Indians. David and I stayed with a woman named Julia's family and they were very hospitable. Once settled in we played football at 3,800 meters and that nearly killed me (in fact I still have a wheezing chest!) but it was good fun! After dinner with our local family we were dressed in local garb and everyone went to the community hall for a dance, which was also good fun! After that Dave and I got a very good nights sleep, one of the first of the tour!Â This morning we were up at 7am and we took a boat to the floating reed islands where I bought a few bits and pieces for home. We then went on a reed boat cruise and I tried my hand at rowing the reed boat, good fun. We returned to Puno this afternoon ans I spent the day chilling in the hotel. Tonight our group is going out for it's final meal together as everyone bar Dave and I are finishing their trip tomorrow and flying back to Lima. It has to be said that I shall miss everyone dearly as we have had a great time together and been through alot with each other over the past couple of weeks!Â And so we are now up to date and I have a meal to go to! There will be photos on the site when I can find a card reader... or I get to America! Until then please be patient.Â Until next time, ta ta.Â John aka Baity aka Jersey.