Peru adventure starts...
I have been in the absolute middle of nowhere quite a bit lately so I apologise for my lack of blogging!
My last blog was in La Paz, Bolivia and I have travelled quite a bit upwards since then; I am in the capital of Peru right now: Lima!
This keyboard is horrendous, the space key barely works so I am practicly just molesting this keyboard.
In La Paz I did something that doesnt make my mother very happy; I bought a gigantic amount of handwash alpacaclothes! They have been my warmth saviour of the past couple of days though.
I also lost the key of the safe we wear around our neck in the animal refuge after the mountainbiking and had a party night that resulted in nothing because apparently clubs arent open on saturdays in La Paz. Did go to bed after sunrise, since the other oasis truck was in La Paz as well and we had huge appartment and had our own little party.
After La Paz we crossed the border into Peru, a very interesting bordercrossing. First of all Dutch people have to get a stamp from the police, all the other nationalities dont, which was rather interesting. Second of all, when we tried to get the truck though the computers stopped working and that continued for a while. We were basicly stuck between Bolivia en Peru and therefore decided to protest. On the bridge between the two countries we pulled our big lunch out, tables out, chairs out, all our equipment and did a little roadblock eating our lunch. The guards just thought it was really funny; big group having lunch at the border like nothing was going on, and after an hour we could easily continue our journey.
First stop in Peru: Puno! One of the things Peru is famous for is the incredible Lake titikaka, which is the highest navigable lake in the world, sharing a part with Boliva. What makes this lake so special is the reed islands that lay in the water. The island are completly made out of reed, the houses are, the benches are, everything is reed and the people live on this islands. We took the boat out to these island and dressed up in their traditional clothing, which was absolutly amazing. We ate the reed as well, which was suprisingly yummie!
There are two big islands in the lake, not made out of reed, but rock and there (and so many other areas here in Peru) they speak quechua and they live (as so many other areas) in the most primitive conditions. We had a hostfamily on one of the islands for a night, our mama was the best!
Our room had a hole in the floor, you could just see the other room through it, the toilet was very interesting, they cooked on a fire, no shower, all the food from the garden, no supplies from the main land. Our mama made us wonderfull food, I dont know how she managed on a fire and at night we had a little dance in the community centre, all dressed up in traditional clothing with the local band playing. The next day we also visited the other island and after we went back. On the other island we went to a restaurant; options for food were between trout or omelet, they just didnt have anything else....
After another night in Puno we had a bushcamp and after the bushcamp we headed for the suposedly most beautiful city in south america; Cusco! Our base for Machu Picchu! While I was in Cusco, you were celebrating Queensnight and day, but dont worry; so was I! Cusco was filled with our dutchies and a bar, mythology, had their own queensnight and day. I went out with everyone from my truck at first, but at some point I took a look in the dutch bar, made new friends there and had a proper Queensnight! Next day I organised myself for the big hike; the classic Inca trail to Machu Picchu, four days.
(I apologise for the length this blog will have)
05.00 meeting up in the lobby of our hotel in Cusco to drive up to the start of the trail, the 82 km point. I had an incredible short night sleep, just a hour due to throwing up problems, awesome. The bus took us to a breakfast/toilet place first, where we had pancakes! We had our own porter who carried our 7 kg duffelbag, containing clothes, snacks, sleepbag, and tent/food for us. They have such a though job, carrying all that and doing the trail. We dropped our bags off and after some funny moments, like Jenna taking the hotelkey with her on the trail, we started our first hike. We passed our first checkpoint, where you get A STAMP IN YOUR PASSPORT, YAY, and had the porters who carry 25 kg running past us. Beautiful sights, locals on donkeys and with lamas, mountains, river, orchids. Toilets were very rare and experimental on the trail, the turkish hole in the floor idea.
After walking quite some kms we reached our lunch camp for the day and our lunch was amazing, we had our own cook with us! Every meal would turn out to be amazing, cooked on a fire in a tent, we would get soup, meat, rice, potatos, salad, fish, cake... Long hike after and a well deserved sleep at four since I still wasnt able to keep my food in.
Day two. (known as day of death)
Early rise and shine; 5:30 am wake up call, served with cocatea, getting everything in the tent ready in the mean time, 06:00 breakfast; cereals, cornmeal, bread, tead and we started the awefull hike around half six, seven. After hiking up for an hour which was tiring, they told us we were halfway through, distantwise. The next three hours would be hiking three kilometers, but climbing one km doing that, steapclimbing, walking big steps. The first two hours were half through the semi jungle on huge stairs and after every ten steps I had to regain air, since we were up 3500 kilometers, every five minutes I had a little sitdown, still feeling absolute crap and faint. I was completly knackerd when we arrived at the lunchpoint where we wouldnt have lunch; we were having lunch after the hike.
But it would be only one more hour up and two down and we would reach our camp for the night. (our porters take our tents down and put them up for us!) I could see the top, but hiking up was one of the hardest things I have ever done, especially feeling so ill. We had a little tea time around five and dinner at seven, amazing again.
Supposed to be the most fun and most beautiful, which it was, but it is also the longest. (16km) Up at half five again and since I was still unable to keep my food in, I decided to take it real easy today. Jenna and Katie were having trouble as well, so we got our own guide and we distanced ourselfs from the group a bit. First two hours walking up, even steaper than before. We werent having lunch until after the hike again, we just got a tiny sandwhich and some snacks. Eventhough it was half up, half down, none flat, it was echausting, walking on the old incasteps, on big uneven stones. We arrived at the camp around half three and because of the jumping hiking of sotnes down and up we were completly broken. It might seem we were really slow every day, but we were always way faster than the other groups, sometimes even hours and hours faster.
The day we had all been waiting for, the day that was going to pay for our hard work!
Wake up call; half three! After breakfast, (did I mention, no showers on the trail, babywhipes where my saviour) we started a little walk in the complete dark down to the 3rd checkpoint where we had to wait for an hour. The reason we got up so early was for the porters to be able to go back with the four am train and to be early in the queue for the 5:30 opening. It started raining, marvelous, when the checkpoint openend, so rainjacket on and fast hiking, an hour jungle walk from the checkpoint to the sungate; where we would watch the sunset! Completely clouded after thebig run, so after a little wait we hiked down for another hour to see what I have been wanting to see for years; Machu Picchu, absolutely breathtakin and completly worth the pain and tears. Raising up fromt he clouds between the mountains, the Inca Ruins of the old city. Another stamp in my passport, a gazillion pictures later, we actually finally entered Machu Picchu, had a tour, little nap and picknick in the grassflats (not allowed, we got an angry peruvian guard) and chilled out for a while. We had a train back at nine pm so a long day to fill, a tiring, exhausting day to fill, since we had been up from half three. We took a bus down to Calientes where we watched a movie, went for dinner (our food came from another restaurant..) and just waited for our departure time. We had to take a train, a bus, and another bus, one that didnt show up for ages, and we finally got back to our hotel around half one, a 22 hour day.
After Machu Picchu we had a restday, where a bumped into dutchies I know from Holland, very funny. The next day we had a very cold bushcamp, Nancy just kept saying that it would make a good story later; mines five at night, bottles frozen, this is where my alpaca clothes were my saviour... We reached a 5 km the next day, which was very breathtaking, so hard to breath...
I am going to post this now, and update you on the last few days later, knowning Peruvian computers I could be expecting a powercut around now.