Hola chicos y chicas hope everyone is well...
So I left off last time at Araquipa where I was set to travel to the Colca Canyon. We set off v early on Sunday morning on a 4 hour bus ride to the canyon - to say I was in a bit of a grup was an understatement - a mix of no sleep / hangover / missing the last day of the premiership and spurs not making it to europe did not help! Oh and the altitude wasn´t doing wonders for the hangover either - I didn´t feel too bad from it but a couple of the tour felt really ill! We arrived at our hotel which was beautiful (but freezing) where I retreated for an afternoon nap while some if the group wenyt on a hike (madness). When they got back we took a short bus ride to some natural hot springs! I actually think I had died and gone straight to heaven when we arrived! the springs were set in a surrounding of the volcanos and the water was about 35º so it was like being in a bath. While we were there we saw the sun set and the stars come out. Peru has the most amazing night sky I have ever seen - there are so many stars (and no light pollution so you can actually see them!) and they are so twinkly - we even saw a shooting star! Getting out was pretty horrible tho - bearing in mind we were at about 4000 metres altitude it was pretty cold! But we got back to the hotel and had the nicest soup I´ve ever had before going to bed!
The next day we had to be up at 5 am so we could go and visit the canyon and see the condors! When we arrived at the best spot to see the birds we were told we were to stay for an hour but iof we still hadn`t seen any we would wait for another hour - within 5 mins of stepping off the bus we had seen about 10. They were absolutley huge there talons were longer than my fingers and they have a wing span of about 3m - it was amazing! After the birds a few of the group went mountain biking while the rest of us took a short hike (Im not sure 2 hours up hill walking counts as a short hike but anyway!) We then went into the main town of the canyon where a load of school kids were on a protest. Peruvian kids are sooo sooo sweet (mummy i think you may be recieving on in the post anyday soon so if you could look after it til I get back that would be great! - one that I have stolen rather than created with a Peruvian man, as lovely as I¨m suret hey are having a man click at you like you are a cat does not really do it for me). I also made friends with an alpaca (I´m soo getting one when I get home) but then felt a bit guilty eating his brother for lunch oops (tasted good tho) It was then back to Araquipa for one night followed by another early start!
THe next morning we took a flight to Cusco which seems to be the party town of PEru - the nightlife here is incredible! The town is again at altitide and surrounded bythe mountains. The day we arrived a few of us decided to go horse riding through the mountains to visit a few of the inca sites. Everyone in Peru seems to own a horse and they all seem to be a bit flea bitten. On the way to the stables (if you can call them that) we passed a potato farm - it was like looking in a mirror at all my relatives (Roo / Tibs you nose it made me giggle). When we got there I went up to the first horse to give it a pat which apparently meant that was the one I was going to be riding. As soon as I mounted I found out it was the horse usually saved for the guide cos he was a complete nutter! perfect. The horse had to be at the front all the way to the top of the mountain and I had to keep it on a very short rein cos the thing wanted to bolt the entire time (and it had the most uncomfortable canter in the world). It was great tho - why walk over a ditch wehen you can leap it haha!) With the horses we visited 4 inca sites - the most ompressive was the one called Sexy Woman (tha´`s how it`s pronounced but don´t think it`s spelt that way). when the incas built there buildings they never used cement or anything to hold the bricks together - instead they carved each brick to fit exactly onto the ones next to it. Our guide was saying when he was younger he was at the site when there was an earthequake. He could see the buildings shaking and wobbling but because of the way they wre built not one brick fell - compared to the town where most of the modern buildings were destroyed!
The next day was a bit of a write off as we had all been out the night before so we went to the pub to watch the Champions League final. Very disappointing how rubbish were man united - I can just imagine the headline in the sun the next day - Messi night for Bland United -am I right am I right?? That night we headed up to a little town in prepertaion t start the inca trek the next day! I was soooo nervous that I did not get any sleep!!
So... onto the inca trek... Day one was pretty straight forward - we started the walk around 10 o clock and for the majority of the day it was flat with only a couple of short up hills! Lunch time was amazing (each groupl has a load of porters to carry all your stuff and your tents and a couple of cooks) we arrived at the spot and a big tent had been put up where we were served a three course meal of really amazing food (the start of things to come I have never eaten so well) the afternoon walk was pretty easy and very pretty. when we arrived at camp we there was a football pitch so we took on the porters and actually did quite well. I played in goal and I think from the shock on all the porters faces I may be the only girl to ever have played footie there - everytime I bumped into any of them for the rest of the trail they called me miss goalkeeper! We then went back to the food tent wheresnacks served before about 10 of us bundled into a 2 person tent to keep warm! We then had another 3 course meal and then just sat watching the stars before it got too cold and we had to get in the tents again! The whole tent situation was pretty bad - I´m not into camping but the worst thing was the toilets - horrible dirty squat loos - who need immodium when you hve those! gross!
Day two was soooo hard - the entir day was up a really steep mountain! The morning was hard but very pretty as we were walking through the jungle, but it was after lunch that was the killer! We had to climb up to the top of a mountain called dead woman`s pass (apparently the shape of the mountains looks like a dead wom,an but the only bit I could work out was the boob and very pointy nipple). The climb after lunch is meant to ake an average of 2 hours - now I´m not sur how I did it but I pushed myself really hard (bearing in mind that this would be a hard climb at sea level but we were 4000-4600 meters altitude) I managed it in 1 hr 8 mins and was the first girl in the group!! I have never felt such pain in my legs ever - my breathing was fine but the lactic acid build up was hell! it was the hardest thing I have ever done!! but I was sooo happy when I got to the top! Excpet for then we had to climb down the other side which was soooo steep and absloute agony on the joints! there was a lot of deep heat going round that night!! The evning was freezing cis we were so high up. to keep warm all of us were stood in a circle linking arms (happy) penguin style!
Day 3 was all down hill which sounds easy but was really apinful on my ankles. It was also the most beautiful day as the scenery was amaaing. At one point a guy in my group fell offt he trail - he was so lucky as he landed on a tinmy ledge about 6 feet down and got stuck on a log - if he hadn´t he would have fallen hundreds of metres! the walk took us past lakes, valleys, mountains, inca ruins and everything. But the best part was getting to the campsite - this one had hot showers (the only time I¨ve ever enjoyed a shower more was after glastonbury) and a bar. We each had about 3 beers and were all quite drunk! It also had proper toilets which was amazing!! and they were clean (well realtively)
Day 4 wast he last day - we got up at 3.30 so we would get to macchu pitchu for sunrise. The walk was pretty easy but the climb to the sungate was hard! CLimbing up that last step and seeing Maccu Pitchu made it all worth while tho - it was absolutely stunning. We got down to the ruins in time to see the sun come up over the mountain and it was beautiful! I would definately recommend it to anyone! THe site itself was incredible - a whole little town still in really good condition with a convent, sun dial, houses, and ampitheatre and everything (and even a cafe wirge very tasty but overpriced Quiche! We spent he morning exploring the ruins before getting the bus to the town and having lunch before taking the train back to Cusco!
On the train I was planning to have a little nap but 10 minutes in I thought I was hallucinating. DOwn the aisle of a train a man in a wooly face mask - complete with coloured lips, eyes etc was dancing to very loud music )the masks are sold at all the markets in Cusco and I think they will one day feature in a horror film) after the man had done his dance there was then a fashion show! yes a fashion show on the train. the two models (train conductors) were showing an aray of truley hideous llama wool clothing - it was hilarious! We git back and gotr straight onto the drinking ganmes (well we deserved it after all that walking) you can buy a litre of really goood vodka for less than 4 quid so needless to say it was messy! got in at about 4 am (the music in the cluns are awesome and they all give you the frist drink free meaning you just go from bar to bar without spending any money (I wasn´t that drunk mummy). Needless to say the next day was a complete write off ut never mind.
That brings me to yesterday where we spent the day white water rafting down the Orayabamba river. Wasn´t quite as exciting as I thought it would be and our guide was like hitler - yelling at us if we didn´t row properly and at one point he got so angry at us cos we missed a drop that he tipped us all into the river and rowed off. The river is made up from glacier water so it was absolutely freezing! He was a horrible man!! We found an english bar last night that sells baked beans, pie and mash and cider so I was v v happy!!
Today is the last full day in Cusco so I¨m about to hit the black market and then have a kip before one last night of carnage!!
Hope I haven´t bored you too much! Photos on facebook as always
Lots of love
PS I wrote this about a week and a half ago but the site kept crashing which is why I¨m only putting it up now... I´m in bolivia now so more to follow in a couple of days
PPS Big Bum I have been listening to Taylor lots and everytime I hear bleachers I think of you cheer captain!! hehehe