Hello everyone, sorry I have been absolutely useless at this the past few weeks. Just been really busy drinking lots of wine, eating steak and climbing Inca ruins....you know how it is!!
I left you last in Cusco, we L-O-V-E Cusco. Such a beautiful city and we ended up staying a good 10 days there not including our Jungle Inca Trek and Machu Picchu. The Jungle Trek was amazing. We were in a small group with just 4 others - Becca, Ben, Andy and our guide Juan. On the first day we did an 80km downhill bike ride. Unfortunately it rained a lot, as we were so high, but the scenery still shone through! Absolutely incredible, huge drops down the side of the road, and mountains as far as the eye could see. We were given full suspension bikes (that my family would be jealous of!) and elbow and knee pads (as many of you will have seen the gorgeous photo evidence! haha). As we were doing the jungle trek, we stayed in hostels the 3 nights which was a nice alternative to camping! This also meant we went out for nice meals. We ate alpaca, which was yum, and tasted a bit like chewy steak. Each morning we got up at around 5.30am so we could get the majority of the walking done before the sun made it too hot and uncomfortable. We walked sections of the inca trail, which was ridiculously narrow....and steep! But the views made all of it so worth while. I cannot recommend it highly enough. We also did the highest zip wire in the world, which was so much fun. It consisted of 7 different wires over a huge valley....ridiculous! On our last day we were up at 4.30am to get to Machu Picchu for 6am - when it opens. It was pretty cloudy at that time, but amazing to see it when barely anyone else is there (by midday the place is jam packed!) By 9am the clouds had lifted and you could really see the vastness and intricacy of the place. Absolute highlight of South America. We were lucky enough to climb up Waynapicchu too, the mountain next to Machu Picchu, which gave the best panoramic view out over Machu Picchu.....although ridiculously hard work, it was worth it....once we had our breath back! Later that evening we headed back to Cusco.
We were in Cusco a further couple of days then met up with some friends we had met before we did our Inca trek. All of us travelled to Huacachina together. Huacachina is basically just a gorgeous lagoon surrounded by palm trees and sand dunes and a couple of hostels. It is so so beautiful, which is why we ended up staying a little longer than planned here. We went sandboarding and sand buggying (which feels like you are on a rollercoaster!) right into the desert and watched the sunset over the giant sand dunes. It was so beautiful and so fun, worth every penny!
Then we travelled to Lima (capital of Peru) to get a bus to Santiago in Chile. This was a god awful 3 day bus trip on one bus. But we slept most of the way, and wanted to get it over and done with so we werent travelling on Sophs birthday. We met back up with Suze and Tom in Santiago, who had sorted the 4 of us an apartment for a couple of days. We went out for lunch on Sophs birthday and had the nicest meat I have ever ever had - Wild Boar and Deer sausages, steaks, burgers etc....Basically a huge bbq´d meat platter! Then we headed to a port city called Valparaiso. It was really pretty here with all the buildings painted different colours and paintings everywhere. We saw sea lions and dolphins, and even experienced a 6.8 earthquake! We ate very well here also, having pumpkin ravioli one night, and crab ravioli the next!
Our next stop was Mendoza in Argentina. Mendoza is famous for its wine and winery tours done on bicycles! We went with Hugo tours through our hostel. We arrived at Hugos at 10.30am and were immediately handed a glass of wine. This was then topped up a further 2 or 3 times, before we headed off on the bikes to the first winery! We visited 4 wineries, an absinthe and chocolate factory (where we tasted 90% and 75% absinthe) and a beer garden. We didnt arrive back at Hugos until 8pm (after having to get a police escort home to make sure we didnt have any accidents!). Where we were subsequently given more wine by Hugo and didnt get back to the hostel until 10pm. We went out for steak - there is nothing in this world like argentinian steak! Then back at the hostel the owner had bought MORE wine, eventually at midnight we collapsed into bed.
In south america they do 3 different cama levels of buses, semi cama, cama and royal suite. We decided as we had been travelling semi cama the whole way round, we would go cama for our last bus to Buenos Aires. It was lush! Our seats reclined really far back, we got a 3 course meal and CHAMPAGNE!
Buenos Aires is a party city without a doubt! In Argentina people dont eat dinner until 10pm and dont go out until 2am. ALL clubs and bars are open until 6am at the earliest! We met some really nice people and went to some weird and wonderful places. Buenos Aires is a cool city, very London-like (although I bet the argentinians would hate to be associated with that....) We visited the spooky cemetry where Evita is buried and had the biggest steak I have ever seen in my life....It was fatter than my arm!
Anyway thats about it, we fly to Bangkok today, so the next post will be from Asia. Love and miss you all xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx