Hello All - sorry for 2 in a row but better late than never!
So met with the Gap group - there were 16 of us all together mostly from Canada, 4 from the US and 1 guy from Norway. Turned out to be an amazing group of people ( bar a couple!). I have a lovely lady who I´m sharing a room with for the duration she´s very motherly and we get on very well!
We had our meeting and pretty much everyone was feeling a bit nervous about the trek - 3 of the group weren´t doing the hike but would meet us at Machu Pichu on the 4th day. We all went for dinner in the evening then an early night as we were heading off very early.
We flew to cusco in the early hours and had the afternoon to explore. Some of us went to the market and I brought a hat and gloves for the trip. Having worked out I didn´t want to spend more than 20 soles ( about 4 quid) on the gloves I asked how muich they were to be told 8 soles! It stumped me a little! Its so cheap here but with no room in the bag I´m leaving the shopping till Ecuador! I started to feel a bit tired due to the altitude so headed back to the hotel. Then it hit me!! I felt like me head was going to explode and I was going to sick - nothing I could do eased the pain!! Dad would be proud at the amount of pills I popped!! I even kept drinking the vile coco leaf tea they recommend! I know people warn you about altitude sickness but until you actually exprience it you´ll never know how horrible it is to be so short of breath when you´re lying down!! I eventually got well enough to pack the 6kg we were allowed on the trek then went to bed.
Felt much better on the sunday morning but still very breathless, a couple of the girls were suffering a bit too and the boys were on altitude pills so they weren´t even brave enough to try!! We drove from cusco up through various ruins which we had a wonder around - I think the guide was trying to work out how we were coping with the exercise aswell. We stopped at a local village which is sponsered by GAP and saw how the alpaca wool was made, dyed and used. The ladies were all so sweet and kept hugging us! We then went to a peruvian pub and learnt a drinking game but we weren´t allowed to drink so I couldn´t really see the point ( my team did win though!). We went to a local food market and saw the guinea pigs being cooked - it was a little traumatising as they don´t have the nicest expression on their faces! Tastes good though!We got to Ollytaytambo and wondered around the biggest ruins we´d seen yet and learnt a bit about how and why they built settlements on top of mountains. Was in bed by 8 as very tired, still struggling and starting the trail on Monday!!
Monday we headed off leaving the 3 who weren´t coming on the trail sleeping like babies! It was a bit of a drive to K82 which is where we started. We met the porters who would carry our stuff and after signing through the gate ( I was put down as male and recieved a very odd look off the guard before he scribbled it out!) and we were off! It was lovely weather and the first bit of the trail was really easy. Still breathless but no strain on the muscles - one big hill before lunch. As we arrived to the lunch spot we were greeting with applause from the porters - who had rushed past us at top speed carrying 25kg each! the food for the whole trip was amazing and we were waited on hand and foot! the afternoon was a bit harder and we were all getting exhausted but we stuck as a group and made it to the camp spot by 4.00 and were giving bowls of hot watwer to wash in. Played cards for a bit then dinner and to bed - back in a tent actually feels like home!
Tuesday . . . . the big one! Day 2 is the worst by all accounts and now I fully concur!! It was up hill all the way climbing 1200 meters when we were already at 2600 meters. I ended up walking the whole trail with a girl called Tia from Canada as we all went our own pace on day 2. She was my rock and I was hers. We had to stop a lot on the way up as the steps and altitude were gruelling but we did it! It took hours but we got there. The weather was a bit rainy and cloudy but so much better than sunshine! The veiws were amazing and the feeling of acheivment was awesome. We celebrated at the top with chocolate and thwen had to go back down very steep steps which by the end was a lot harder on the body than up. Tia was frightened of heights so we went slow and reached camp by 5. Exhausted!!
Day 3 was a long - 17ks to hike up and down all the way but we hit the jungle which was so beautiful too. Weather was perfect and we hiked with the 2 dads on the group that came with their sons. We stopped for lunch at the top of a mountain and you could see an Inca ruin on the hillside mills away . . . end of the day we were walking through iot - it was awesome. This campsite has a bar so i had a well deserved beer - it tasted like heaven!
Up early on the thursday as we had to cue to get through the gate in the morning to do the final trek up to the sungate. 5.30am we were off - the track was much easier on the legs but we´re all pretty knackered from the 1200 meter down we had to do on day 3. At one point we had to scale a nearly vertical wall with our hands before we hit the last lot of stps and the sungate! It was very misty in the morning so we couldn´t see much from the top but it gave it a magically mysterious feeling and the tocken llama on the terrace was good too! We had a rest then all headed down to machu pichu which was another half hour away. We checked in then were treated to a . . . .WALKING TOUR of the site! Not really what we felt like but we all went up more steps and were reunited with the other 3. The weather cleared an it was awesome. None of the pictures do the trail or Machu Pichu justice but it was breath taking. A few of us hiked back to the top to get clearer pictures then got the bus to town for lunch. I was so happy to be reunited wuith my flip flops! I have a blister the size of a toe on my toe! NICE!
Our guide had told us that we should take on the 24 hour challenge and stay awake until 3.50 which is when we got up to finish the trail - me being me can´t turn down a bet so me and Tom, one of the sons decided to give it a go - I can´ty think why no one else would! After a 2 hour train ride and a 2 hour bus ride we were back in cusco. We all went for dinner then a few of us went to a local club with our guides - Don Deablo mega disco! It was aweful! We quickly downed our drinks and headed to a really lovley place with a nice bar and a dance floor. Before we knew it it was just me and Tom dancing with the locals! It was so fun and 4.00am came round quickly although watching the sunrise wasn´t even discussed!
Was up at 9.00 for breakfast and to say goodbye to some of the people leaving from the group. I wasn´t feeling great but when I saw Tom I felt better! Managed to stay awake all day though, phoned home, and did laundry not at a fast pace though! We had another meeting to discuss the next part of the trip but no new people were joining us so it was 8 from the origanal team. We went for dinner then finally I was reunited with my bed! Hurrah!!
Saturday we flew to the jungle. We got a boat down the river which took about 3 hours and saw a lot of parrots ( from a distance), camin and Cappybarras ( the largest rodant on the planet). It was so idylic. We had a bit of a hike to the lodge and arrived at dusk - it was lit with gas lamps and was so pretty. I thought we´d be roughing it but this place was luxuary! The was no hot water or electricty in our rooms and the 3rd wall was just jungle! It was fabulous! We went for a night walk through the jungle then on the river to look for camin. We saw alot of spiders and poisonous ants and I began to feel more and more girly! George ( one of the dads) threw something at Gordon ( the other dad) he jumped and I screamed like a girl! Not amused!! Wasn´t tired when I went to bed so tried to read but a bat came in and was flapping everywhere soI turned the light out put my earplugs in and tried to ignor it!
Sunday we were up early and hiking through the jungle - lots of interesting plants and bugs. We went up a tower to veiw the canapy and then on a boat in a lake full of piranahs! We were back before lunch so chilled for a bit. I feel asleep in a hamock with the boys but woke myslef up by slapping myself in the face coz a bug landed on me! They thought it was hilarious - I wasn´t so convinced! I´ve been eaten alive again but I guess it saves everyone else being bitten - taking one for the team! In the afternoon we went to a fruit farm and tried a lot of different things, some lovely and some that made my face turn inside out! Attractive thought I know! In the evening we sat and played poker - I came second against all boys! Looking after the girls!
Up early and heading back down the river to the airport to fly back to lima. It was a long travel day but we went for a few drinks in the evening and said goodbye to the Norweigan Jorgan. Today we all flew seperalty to Quito. Kept getting serched at every point in the airport so it wasn´t the most relaxing flight but arrived at lunch and had a wonder round. Found a nice cafe and was asked out by the manager . . .don´t think I´ll go though! Meeting tonight for the next part of the adventure. 7 from our original group and I think 7 new ones. We leave early tomorrow morning for the Galapagus - excited is an understatement!I´m worried I won´t be able to control the urge to steal the wildlife but so hopefully the next post won´t be from the local prison!!
Much love as always!!
R x x