Two blogs in less than two weeks - anyone would think that I have nothing else to do. Since leaving Mancoro we have travelled south for too may hours to mention with a few hours break in Lima and then straight back out and south to Nazca.
Not ever hearing of Nazca before - I was surprised to find out about the world listed Nazca Lines which have baffled astonomers, archeologists and scientists alike for many many moons. These are the lines that shape massive animals in the dessert and can only be seen from aeroplanes, space or by God and were created around 1400 BC. Other than been able to carbon date the lines - to this day not very much is known about them and their purpose has even been attributed to martians. This was too much mystery for us to ignore so we jumped on the tiniest plane ever built (the pilots and bernie and I - that was it... the plane was full) and we headed out on a very (very very ) turbulent ride over the Peruvian desserts. Our expedition was not in vain as there below us looking up was one gigantice monkey - how this was created with such accuracy and before the days of tape measures let alone GPS I have no idea. The monkey was shortly followed by a hummingbird, a spider and then a whole meriad of creatures - some of which are not even native to this area.... rumour has it that they were drawn by Shamen during thier drug induced, outer-body flights.... who knows.
After coming to terms with the sandstrous wonders we hit the road again on another very long bus ride to the seemingly mis-placed city of Cusco - the start point for Machu Picchu. The town itself looks more like a very cosmopolitan european town that is completely out of place considering all the other south american cities that we have visitted so far. After a few days sampling the tasty cuisines of the area and getting lost in typical alpacca, woven poncho, inca jewelry laiden shops we set out on an epic journey through the Andean mountains that would finish several days later at probably the most infamous inca religeous sites of the all... Machu Picchu (note - my spelling of this changes every time).
The first day we travelled hours and hours by mini bus to the peak of the snow capped Andean mountains at which point we were donned with safety helmets, state of the art mountain-bikes and directed to the start of 50kms of PURE DOWNHILL undescribable road/track/pathways which took us from 4200 meters above sea level to a mere 2000 meters (still struggle-breathing, nose bleed altitude right). The serpentined track seemed to drip down the sides of the snow-capped mountains and miander round the sides of lush green valleys as we splashed through waterfalls all the way down. Pedals were an un-needed extra on the bikes, however, the brakes got a thourough work-out. Having completed this injury free we stayed the night in a concrete box in the middle of nowhere chosing to retire at about 20:00 in prep for the next day....
....A 35Km treck !!!! which to me sounded pretty grim to begin with but no - not whilst in Peru... if you haven´t risked your life during the day you´re simply just not trying hard enough. To combat my wimpyness the trecker dude decided to take us up the side of a mountain on a path no wider than one of my trouser legs with a shear drop of several thousand meters. Without joking - my legs were shaking and at times I just had to look up and run to the next point of safety. Even Bernie who is fortunate enough not to suffer from the dreaded curse they call vertigo as I do was uncomfortable at times with the hieghts. Having said this - the scenery in such places were phenominal and could not have been experienced in any lesser scarey , pansier, namby-pamby safe locations that I had initially hoped for. So with achey limbs, the thirst of 10 men and a sense of achievment bigger than my own body I retired again in a tiny town ready for the next day.
The next day was a lot shorter than the first hike day (only 18km) so the Peruvians compensated for the distance with more scareyness. We set off along another path towering above the mighty, fast flowing, white water rapids until the path stopped. Not by choice of the builder/designer.... not becuase we had reached our destination.... not even for a rest... the road finished here because the rest of it... which used to be here but due to mass flooding and landslides had been washed along with half a mountain side down into the angry river leaving... yes, you guessed it - more shear drops to certain death. At this point most of the people who reside on this planet would turn back and find an alternate route but looking slightly downhill to my right I can see the resulting evidence of when one Peruvian said to another.... "What we need here is some rope and one of them cagelike supermarket baskets - I reckon that´d do the job" and so they did... built the thing. And so we did.... ride in it. With all the power that one man pulling on a rope can muster - we trickeld across a rope several hundred feet above the roaring waters in a open-air, no walled steel basket. This helped my vertigo no end and if I were to be completely honest - did little for my confidence in the local safety standards. With this behind us we continued to walk the rest of the journey and caught the first glimpse of Machu Piccu mountain from ground level - it towering above us. When it hurts your neck just to look up at the top of a structure you know it´s really really high and tomorrow - we would be up there.
That brings us to today, this moment just hours after completing the main event. I feel limitted in what I can write here and I´m probably still buzzing of adrenalin and emotion so I´ll keep it short and factual... we met a lot of adventurous looking travellers along the way who had already climbed Machu Pichu all of which described it as been one of the most moving and spiritual moments of thier lives... at the time I thought "you need to get out more mate" but having been there personally I´m not going to do the injustice of describing this place. I went to the main site of Macha Picchu, Bernie pioneered further and climbed the mountain on top of a mountain being Wyna Pichu (spelling???) which is something that my vertigo would simply not permit - I can only imagine what wonders were up there. All I can say is the rumours and stories are no exageration, no words would do this experience justice.... you simply HAVE to do this yourself at some point in your life....
Now I rest and drink