well its been a very busy tour so far and one that has left me without internet for a while!
after arriving in cusco the next day we went to a lodge in the tambopata river that forms part of the amazon basin and jungle! we arrived to torrential rain and got a long narrow jungle boat fown the river. it was quite surreal being on a brown river with dense vegatation on each side at the top of the flanking mud banks - felt like stepping into a tv programme!
on our first night we went for a jungle walk in the darkness that was incredible! every time we moved our torches you could see an insect, bug or animal and we were only a metre into the jungle! we walked for around an hour seeing monkeys, giant spiders abd everytype of wierd creepy crawly you can imagine! as we reached the deepest point of our jungle walk we turned off all our torches and appreciated the sounds and darkness! we hear a whole manner of noises creating a constant level of background sound as well as a rather worrying growl! as we stood there i could see small dots of flashing light which turned out to be fireflies!
the next day we went on a near by ox bow lake where we fed piranha's, saw a wide range of wierd and wonderful plants from walking trees (true!) to plants that make your hands purple and a lot of wildlife! that night we went cayman spotting - even seeing one catch its prey and we saw a tarantula on the walk back!
the jungle was an amazing experience and after we got back the next day we went to sacred valley for the start of the inca trail!
sacred valley was pretty impressive as we began to learn about the incas! they used terraces in valleys to create a greenhouse effect so they could grow crops from all over the country with each level of the terraces having a different temperature! they carved stones the size of cars to create complex walls and temples as well as creating aquaduct systems to water their crops! rather intelligently they also used the sun to create sun temples where they could tell the time of the year!
the inca trail itself was also spectacular! we walked 45km in four days with the second day being all up a steep hill called dead wonans pass where i had to wait 2 and a half hours before the rest of the group caught up having being told we could go at our own pace! the third day was very long walking around 20kn but the terrain was flat and we walked next to a cloud forest!
needless to say the last day was breathtakibg (not from the walk!) as we left at 5am to reach the sungate overlooking machu pichu before arriving at the spectacular city itself! set on top of huge mountains and resembling a smart looking old english village (with the exception if good weather!) due to the lawns and old buildings! its hard to describe its beauty and ingenious structural creation - best to go or google!
we then returned to cusco for one last night before heading to arequipa and the colca canyon. we saw tens of condors, inca tombs and the large canyon itself!
currently back in arequipa where we're relaxing today with a massage later and then tonight we have a night bus to nazca to see the nazca lines tomorrow!
love to all - miss you!