Category Archives: Peru

Machu Picchu and The Inca Trek- Absolutely Fabulous!

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Completely exhausting but 100% worth it!

Well what a 4 days! After a 4.30am start on the 2nd December, a 3 hour drive we arrived at our starting point at ´km 82´for our 4 days 3 night, 49 km, Inca Trek to Machu Picchu with tour company SAS. Armed with our day bags and walking poles we ventured off across the river and to our first of many hills to climb! We were a group of 9 trekkers, with 12 porters, 1 cook and our guide called Ruben. Our route to Machu Picchu is known as the Inca trek and would take us as high as 4200 meters, over 3 mountain passes and through 9 Inca ruins. There are however many access routes to Machu Picchu- ´the lost city´- and connecting Machu Picchu with all the different Inca settlements across Peru, Bolivia and Chile, creating a network of trails which the Inca´s used as communication channels with many messengers running along them to bring news and information between settlements. The trails are laid with granite stone and follow the contours of the mountains, using stone steps up and down, tunnels and bridges. The Inca towns are all made of granite, quarried from the mountains, and are all in the Highlands- closer to their gods, the highest Mountains. In Inca mythology there are 3 worlds- the upper world (represented by the Condor), the present world (represented by the Puma) and the inner world (represented by the snake)…this was inherent in the temples within the Inca places where things came in the series of 3. Also the sun was important in Inca times with settlements angling to the East. All this history was brilliantly explained to us all over the trek by our guide Ruben and listening to Ruben also represented a welcome break from the trekking!

So Day 1:

  • Km trekked- 14km
  • Hours of trekking- 6 hours, starting at 9.30am and finishing at 5.30pm
  • Altitude at start- 2650 meters
  • Altitude at end- 3300 meters
  • Highest point reached- 3300 meters
  • % of the trail which is the original Inca stone- 30%
  • Key sights seen- First Inca Place seen was called Canabamba, second Llacdarada and third Vvilcaracau

The first ascent was hard and I couldn´t get my breathing right at all. But after a few coca candies I was on my way and soon got into a stride for the remaining of the day where the trail took us up and down gradually getting higher each time. Ooh a bit about Coca- Coca grows naturally in Peru and is a natural stimulant that speeds up your heart rate so enough blood goes to your brain to combat altitude sickness which is when the brain lacks blood and causes you headaches. If you process enough of it (50 kilos) and add a load of chemicals you can also make cocaine!. We got to the lunch stop at 1pm and felt awkwardly like royalty with individual bowls and towels laid out for us to wash our hands and faces! However when the chef Mario came out with a chefs hat on we soon realised this was the standard they were going to deliver for the entire trek. And the porter team never disappointed and always went above and beyond what you expected. Along this part of the trek there were homes dotted randomly along it- only accessible by walking the trek. The families are farmers so are pretty self-sufficient and make their living from their front yard which they turn into campsites for us trekkers as well as selling chocolate and drinks. The funniest/scariest moment of day 1 was almost being taken out by 3 charging lama´s who came tumbling around the corner….I propelled myself into a bush!

Day 2:

  • Km trekked- 18km
  • Hours of trekking- 8 hours, starting at 6.45am and finishing at 5.15pm
  • Altitude at start- 3300 meters
  • Altitude at end- 3600 meters
  • Highest point reached- 4215 meters (Dead Woman´s Pass)
  • % of the trail which is the original Inca stone- 30% before Dead Woman´s Pass and 80%  after
  • Key sights seen- Dead Woman´s Pass, Inca place called Rumkuracau, Rumjuracau Pass (3900 meters) and another Inca Place called Sauacmarca

Tough tough day! Early wake up with a cup of Coca tea at 5.30am and off trekking by 6.45am up to Dead Woman´s Pass. The trek for the morning was all up hill, with the stone trail mixed with a lot of steep stone steps. After 4 hours of solid trekking, we got to the top at 10.15am knackered! The pass is called Dead Woman´s Pass as the shape of the Mountain looks like a dead woman´s face and torso with the boob creating the peak! This story was told with much amusement by our guide Ruben! Then it was 1 1/2 hours down the other side to the lunch stop, down very steep and deep stone steps…tough on the knees I can tell you. After yet another impressive lunch it was up and over the second pass Rumjuracau. This wasn´t as bad as Dead Woman´s and there was much more to see along the route which broke up the trekking. Plus the 2 hour down hill had great views of the valley and was in the shade so was actually really pleasant. When we (fell) into camp at 5.15pm our calves and thighs were screaming but we were happy that it was ´easy´ from now on. The most shocking fact learnt on the second day was about a race that is organised every couple of years along the Inca Trail, from km82 to Machu Picchu. There are 2 categories Porter and Athletic Tourist. The current record for the athletic tourist is 3.05 hours! 3.05 HOURS! Held by 2 crazy american women, must have been hill runners. I actually don´t know how they did it that quick. The up hills are killers and the downhill sections are so steep you´d risk going arse over tit every few steps. But fair play, what we´re doing in 3 days walking, they did in just over 3 hours! Crazy!

Day 3:

  • Km trekked- 10km
  • Hours of trekking- 4 hours, starting at 7.45am and finishing at 1.30pm
  • Altitude at start- 3600 meters
  • Altitude at end- 2650 meters
  • Highest point reached- 3740 meters (Puyipattmarca Pass)
  • % of the trail which is the original Inca stone- 70-80%
  • Key sights seen- Intipata Inca Place, Wianayhuayna Inca Place

So the massive Day 2 meant that day 3 was effectively a 1/2 day, starting late at 7.45am and ending at lunch at 1.30pm. The trek was much easier than day 2 too, but my calves felt like rocks so that hampered progress until they loosened up a bit. It was 1 1/2 hour trek up to the 3rd and final pass and then downhill for 3 hours, broken up with seeing Inca Places and going through original Inca tunnels which were really cool. Downhill was all stone steps and after the overnight rain still were quite slippy. I only fell on my bottom once though which was good going for accident prone me! So Ruben tells me, there are 127 micro climates in the world and 87 of them are present in Peru- pretty big number. And in this day the micro climate was high jungle. I got to see lots of really pretty and colourful butterflies which flew up at you as you walked past. Also lots of orchids grow out of the rock edges of the paths in extremely vivid colours. It was quite a delight. So we got to our final camp of the trek at 1.30pm for lunch and then had a big siesta afterwards (although this soon turned into a trumping competition between Adrian and the guys tent (Devin and Tim)…Adrian won by far!) Hedd braved the ice-cold showers whereas us girls wimped out and settled once again for our baby wipe bath! In the afternoon we checked out the Inca place right next to our camp called Wianauhuayna, which had super steep and lots of Inca terraces going down the mountain which was quite impressive to see. Then it was bed early in prep for our super early wake up call the next day for the final trek to Machu Picchu.

Day 4:

  • Km trekked- 7km
  • Hours of trekking- 3 hours, starting at 4.30am and finishing at 9.30am at Machu Picchu city
  • Altitude at start- 2650 meters
  • Altitude at end- 2400 meters
  • Highest point reached- 2720 meters (Huayna Picchu)
  • % of Machu Pichu city which is original- 60%
  • Key sights seen- In Machu Pîcchu city= Farming area, urban area, religious area (3 windows temple, temple of mother earth, temple of the sun, principal temple), the Principle square with the Intivvatana stone which is carved in a way that the shadows when the sun hits the stone show the timings of the summer and winter solstice). And of course the terraces and temples on top of Huayna Picchu.

So very very early start on day 4 with the wake up call at 3.40am and setting off at 4.30am to the check point. We walked 10 minutes and then hit the que for the check point which opened at 5.30am. The people at the front of the que had got up at 2.30am apparently- crazy! The waiting was pain staking but we saw the sun come up and there were 2 english women doing a finger puppet show of jack in the beanstalk, which was completely random but quite humourous at that time of the morning with little sleep! Once the gate was opened the que went through quite fast and we were off on the 2 hour walk to the Gate of the Sun. It was an okay walk, gentle (ish) up and down until the last bit which was 52 incredible steep steps which you basically scrabbled up. We got to the sun gate at 7.30am and it was still pretty cloudy over the city at this time. But the wind blew the cloud to and from the city so we got to see a good view with it being quite mysterious at the same time. We stayed there admiring the view for about 40 minutes and then took the last hour walk down to the city. So the city is between 2 mountains- Machu Picchu mountain (where the sun gate is) and Huayna Picchu mountain and was the principal city of the Incas. It is large with different areas and farming terraces to the front of the city going down the mountain side. All the buildings and paths and walls are made from granite. The ruins were discovered by Hiron Bingham in 1911 and have since been restored. But 60 % of Machu Picchu city is still original. The city is so well-preserved as it was abandoned when the Spanish first conquered Peru so they never found it to destroy it like they did with all the their Inca places. When Bingham found it it was covered by hundreds of years of jungle vegetation. Must have been quite a discovery! After a pit stop at the loo´s (first sit down toilet in 3 days- hoorah!) Ruben took us on a tour of the city. He showed us the different areas of the city and the various temples and the intivvatana stone which acts like a sun-dial showing the seasons. He also showed us the principle square which used to have a obolysk in the middle of it. However in the 1990´s it was temporarily removed so the King and Queen of Spain could helicopter into Machu Picchu and when the workers went to put the stone back it broke! So that was final rubbish thing the Spanish did to the Inca´s 500 years after the first colonisation! We left the tour and the rest of the group 30 minutes early to catch our 10am slot to climb Huayna Picchu. When we were waiting in the que for the check point I was honestly thinking I must be absolutely nuts to climb this mountain after 3 days of trekking. My calves and thighs were so tight….I was pretty worried. But as soon as we started the trek the adrenaline kicked in and we absolutely stormed the ascent in just 40 minutes (meant to take 1 hour). The climb is crazy steep in places and you have to haul yourself up the stone steps using the rope on the side with a sheer drop on the other side! But we made it and the view from the top is amazing- truly spectacular and much better than the view from the sun gate. Plus its super fun at the top too. Plenty of ruins to explore, crazy steep steps which you have to shimmy down, plus a tunnel which you have to crawl on your front to get through. We spent a good half hour at the top of Huayna Picchu and it was actually the highlight of the trek for me. Well worth that extra bit of effort, even after 3 days of trekking. After a slightly precarious slide down the mountain (!) we strolled through the city again to the exit and had a well deserved (but ridiculously expensive) cup of coca cola. And then it was a short 30 minute bus journey down windy roads to Agua Callenatis, arriving for lunch at 1.30pm. I was straight in the shower and on the Pisco Sours for the rest of the afternoon and enjoyed a spot of shopping in the amazing market they have there. Although during this trip around the market I did get poo-ed on by a bird, much to the local stall holders amusement! I burst out laughing too (after being horrified!) and after a quick change back at the hostel I was out again having a pisco sour to recover from the ´trauma´(of course!)

So this morning we caught the 8.50am Peru Rail train to Ollantaytambo and then it was a 15 sole taxi collective back to Cusco. And after a couple of loads of laundry later, the sense of accomplishment that I made it to Machu Picchu by my own steam, walking, hasn´t died down. For me it is definitely the highlight of our trip around South America so far and will be quite hard to beat I think. But we´re still yet to arrive at some amazing places on our 5 1/2 month trip, so who knows Machu Picchu and the Inca Trek might still have competition for their current top spot. Can´t wait to see what the rest of the trip has in store…

Machu Picchu and The Inca Trek in a snapshot:

  • Weather= Sunny by day, raining and storms at night (luckily when safely tucked up in our tent!)
  • Food= Oh my goodness, a feast for breakfast, lunch and dinner…our chef Mario is a miracle worker to produce such food in a campsite in the middle of nowhere!
  • Drink= Milo! (Hot chocolate with lots of vitamins in it- brought back fond memories of drinking copious amounts of it up Mt Kilimanjaro)
  • One thing I will not miss= Long drop toilets
  • One thing I will miss= Mario´s 3 course dinners
  • One thing that is truly unforgettable= The sense of achievement felt and the view of Machu Picchu- the lost city- after reaching the top of Huayna Picchu

Hedd´s words of wisdom:

So, we´ve just got back from the Inca Trek, Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu and it was amazing. Bloody hard at times, but amazing. I have been worried about this trek for the past few months ever since I hurt my back playing football and ended up with a prolapsed disk and the fact that i´ve been having a few problems with my left knee recently (I know, I´m getting old!!). So having completed the trek, I would like to thank the following for helping me through it:-

  • My back support belt;
  • My newly purchased knee support;
  • Clare and Ger for pointing me in the direction of Diclofenac drugs to help with my Sciatica;
  • Farmacies in South America for providing Diclofenac “no questions asked”;
  • My rented trekking poles;
  • The porters that carries the majority of my stuff;
  • All our fellow trekkers for providing such good company and banter;
  • and of course, not least, my wonderful Helen for being by my side throughout our adventure.

I read somewhere that people who suffer from back injuries fall into two categories, mopers and copers. Well I certainly coped and I suppose the point I´m trying to get to is that there are always ways to overcome setbacks and that if you really want to do something, you will find a way.

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Peru: A Country of Colour- Ariquipa and Cusco

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Our 3rd country visited, and my favourite so far…

So first up, the Chile- Peru border. It was very efficient actually for what is a bit of a bitty journey. First from Arica we took what they call a ´taxi collective´ to Tacna, i.e. a 5 person car which has to be filled before it heads off across the border. Bus´s can´t cross the border Chile to Peru so that’s why you need to catch a taxi. You get them from the international terminal right next door to the bus terminal in Arica. So in ours we had 3 locals and all the drivers know exactly what to do so we felt quite looked after. So after 20 minutes travelling we arrived at the first immigration point and got our passports stamped out of Chile. Then it was back in the taxi for 2 minutes before getting out again to get stamped into Peru (I still wonder who that strip of land in-between belongs too!). And also to have our bags scanned. Then back in the taxi again for 40 mins or so until we arrived in the first city across the border in Peru called Tacna. In Tacna, its similar to Arica- the bus terminal is just next door to where you get dropped off across a small road. We had already bought our onward bus ticket which we had in our hands leaving the taxi and soon got swept up from a rep from the bus company who took us to a waited room and then onto the bus. The bus company we went with was called Transportes Ariquipa…not 1 of the companies recommended for travellers we later discovered and we can vouch for that! It was an incredibly uncomfortable 6 1/2 hour journey with no air con and stopping in very random places to pick up very random looking people! But it was an experience and we got to our final destination, Ariquipa, in one piece so no harm done! There´s quite dodgy taxi´s in Ariquipa and there´s lots of signs in the bus terminal to get a taxi from those inside the terminal not on the street so we took heed to the advice and caught a 5 sol taxi to our hostel- La Casa de los Pinguinos. Phew what a day!

I have nothing but good things to say about La Casa de los Pinguinos, and the owner, from Amsterdam originally, called Alex can´t do enough for you. Plus she used to live in Princetown for 3 years (right near where I grew up in Plymouth) so we reminisced about the various night spots (Union street!) and tors on Dartmoor which was a nice bit of familiarity. Ariquipa has a lovely feel to it. The main plaza is surrounded by colonial building with cover walk ways, on one side a massive Cathedral and in the middle gardens and a fountain. It wouldn´t have looked out-of-place in a European Capital City. That evening after the border crossing we pretty much found food and hit the sack. However Peru is 2 hours behind Chile which I really discovered the next morning when I was wide awake at 6am- my body thinking it was 8am. To my delight (Hedd´s horror!) I found the film Ratatouille on the Disney channel and watched that until it was a more godly hour! That Saturday was filled with seeing the sights of the city. First stop, Museo Santuarios Andinos (15 soles entry). The museum is all about the Inca children sacrifices that were made on the highest mountain surrounding Ariquipa called Ampato.  It started out with a 20 mins National Geographic film about the discovery of the graves on top of the mountain (by accident by a group of geologists!) and then a guided tour of the exhibitions  and ended with seeing the actual frozen body of one of the 4 children they found on Ampato. So the story goes that the Inca´s 500 years ago saw the mountains as their gods. And whenever there was a natural disaster or volcanic eruption the Inca people took the 3 to 4 month journey by foot from Cusco to Mount Ampata to make a child sacrifice to the gods so to appease their anger and didn´t bring natural disasters to the area again. The children were chosen at birth and were all sacrificed by the time they were 16. There is a really famous one called the íce maiden´which when found was perfectly preserved due to the low temperatures at the top of the mountain, only a lot smaller as she had shrunk over the 500 years 6288 meters up. Kind of freaky looking! We then took a taxi (5 soles) up to Mirador de Yanahuara to get a great view of Mount Mismi- the active volcano that Ariquipa wraps itself around. And then strolled back down to the main Plaza, stopping off for lunch at a traditional Peruvian restaurant called Sol de Mayo where you sit in a lovely garden and eat whilst listening to a live band playing Peruvian folk tunes. Very lovely and not super expensive either. We had the infamous Recodo Rellero- a hot pepper stuffed with meat and topped with cheese. We stopped short of trying the other infamous dish- roasted guinea pig! After a siesta we headed back out to the Plaza to check out the big cathedral (open 7am-11am and 17.00-19.30). Although it occupies one whole side of the square, its surprising small inside but it was worth a peek in. And then it was an early night in prep for the early rise the next day to start our tour of Canon del Colca.

So Canon del Colca. It’s still within the Ariquipa district but around a 3 hour drive from Ariquipa city and much higher so its worth if you have time, to take the tour over 2 or more days so you can acclimatize to the altitude. We went on a 2 day 1 night tour, starting off at 7.30am from our hostel. Our tour guide was called Nancy and we were a small group of 12 so didn´t feel so touristy and impersonal. So it was a 3 hour drive to Chivay which was our overnight stop but the drive was separated out with stops at nice view points and to see the Vicona´s (long-necked lamas), Lama´s and Alpacas…all extremely cute looking, especially the babies. At most of the stops there were ladies dressed up in the colourful traditional costume selling all sorts of souvenirs (clothing made from alpaca wool, bright patterned fabrics, figurines) but they looked so so fantastic.  They wear highly embroided skirts and waistcoats, with silk blouses underneath and  colourful shawls over the top. And all topped off with a great hat. Peruvian ladies know how to wear their hats…i´m quite jealous! There is a story about these hats too. There are 2 different types. 1- flat-topped and wide and highly embroided, and the second a white taller hat with sequins on it. They represent the 2 different ethnic groups from the Inca times 500 years ago and the hats back in the day were a way of discretely saying which group the lady belonged too after the Spanish had invaded and conquered the Incas and band most of their traditions. History or not, both hats are stunning. After lunch and a siesta (getting used to these afternoon naps now!) we got picked up from our hostel in Chivay and headed to the near by natural hot springs. It cost 15 soles to get in but it was well worth it. The pools are in the open air with mountains as their backdrop. The one we were in was 38 degrees with natural minerals in it and so so relaxing. It is recommended you only stay in the pools for a maximum of 40 minutes because of the effect of the minerals, heat and altitude. And its was true that when we came out we felt content but completely wiped out! So it was back to the hostel for a shower and an early dinner.

The next day we had our wake up call of a bang on the door at 5am, for breakfast at 5.30 and back on the mini bus for 6am….one word, ouch! The reason for the crazy early start was to get to the Cruz del Condor viewpoint within Colca Canyon for around 9am when it was more likely to see Condors. On the way to the Canyon we passed through Colca Valley and stopped off at various valley towns on the way. This included Yanque where at 6.30am there were Peruvian dancers in traditional costume in the square dancing round and round to remarkably loud music which left us quite stunned and we took sanctuary in the church. The Peruvian´s love gold leaf in their churches, and the backdrop of the alters are floor to ceiling gold leaf in most of the churches I´ve been in…very elaborate. Then it was onto Achoma, and then onto Maca which is apparently sliding gradually into the river due to tectonic plate activity underneath it…bad times. All through the drive we got a great view of the Inca terraces- the tiered agricultural system following the contours of the mountains. They made them by removing the soil, then putting a layer of rock, then small stones, then sand, then soil with irrigation channels weaving throughout the tiers. It’s a really impressive sight to see. The Inca´s were the engineers of their time and they carved terrace prototypes in stone before starting on the mountain for real. These prototypes are still dotted around the valley today and if you pour water in the pool at the top then the water will run down the carved prototype as it does on the actual terraces which are still being farmed today. Very clever and very cool! So we got to the Canyon at around 9.30am and went on a bit of a trek to the viewing platforms instead of driving so we could get a better look at the Canyon. Colca Canyon is the deepest canyon in the world…even deeper than the Gran Canyon in the states. But instead of a U shape at the bottom like the Gran Canyon its in the shape of a V. Around 60 condors live in the canyon but we only saw 4 during our 60 minutes at Cruz del Condor. We didn´t see many because it is the start of the rainy season and condors don´t fly, they glide using the thermal currents. In the rainy season the thermal currents aren´t so prevalent as it’s not so hot, therefore not as many condors. But we got to see 4 so not so bad. And then it was onto Chivay again for lunch before making the 3 hour drive back to Ariquipa city. The roads are incredibly windy but I still managed to sleep even if Hedd and I bashed heads a couple of times from the bends!

Although we´d already been up 12 hours by the time we got back to Ariqupa that Monday, our day wasn´t over! That night we caught the overnight bus to Cusco. This time going with a recommended bus company called Cruz del Sur! And it was a much more pleasant journey, with yet another Jennifer Anniston rom com movie for entertainment, this one called ´Rumour´. The bus journey took 10 hours and we arrived into Cusco at 7.30am and after a 4 sole taxi, we got to our hostel in time to catch free breakfast. Our hostel is called Ecopackers and is just 2 blocks from the main square- Plaza de Armas. Amazing location. The hostel is the biggest we´ve stayed in and has 18 person dorms! Must be a nightmare trying to get to sleep in those! They also have a Christmas tree with fairy lights up in the foyer which has  made me very happy over our 3 days here! Cusco is a great city, has lots of pretty squares with restaurants with balconies overlooking them. Lots of places to just sit and chill and watch the world go by. Our 3 days here in Cusco have really been to get acclimatised for our Inca trek and buy any last-minute bits for it. For me this was socks! Gotta look after your feet when walking, first rule of D of E! But yesterday we did go on a free walking tour of Cusco which runs each day from Ecopackers at 11.30am. Its well worth the 3 hours, and the guide (sense of humour comes free also!) takes you to the old town, the tourist centre and the bohemian part of the city. As well as into the Chocolate Museum (where we got a free chocolate tea- looks like tea, tastes like hot chocolate), stopping for a free frapichino at Cusco Coffee Bar and ending at a really cool bar called Fallen Angel. Everywhere you go you get a 10% off voucher so you can go back on the cheap later on. It was during the tour I had my first peculiar altitude sickness moment where I almost fainted but don´t worry after a bit of water and a sit down I was fine. The guide also showed us the hotel where Mick Jagger and his family had stayed 4 weeks ago to see the city and go up Machu Pichu. Apparently he bought all the Machu Pichu tickets for the morning he went up so him and his family could be the only ones in the national park for sun rise! Must have been amazing but he´s a bit of a sod because that meant that the everyone who was on the Inca Trek couldn´t get in for sun rise there wasn´t any permits left! I would have been so annoyed! Thankfully Mick Jagger and anyone else famous have now left Cusco so fingers crossed our permits will still be valid for our sun rise ascent into Machu Pichu on M0nday!

So we´re off on our trek tomorrow morning, being picked up between 5 and 5.30am so another ridiculously early start but it will be well worth it. I am so excited! We´ve got a pre-briefing with our lead porter this evening where we get to meet the rest of our group. There are 9 of us, all english speaking either from UK, US or Australia, so i´m sure there will be some good banter over the 4 days. I´ll let you know how we get on…Machu Pichu here I come!

(Sorry guys…major issues with uploading some pics to accompany the post. Will give you a bumper picture edition when I´m back off the Inca Trek!)

Ariquipa in a snapshot:

  • Weather= Hot but really cold at night
  • Food= Alpaca steaks (looks like lamb but tastes like bacon!)
  • Drink= Inca Kola (the locals fizzy drink of choice- it is bright yellow, tastes like bubble gum and you fear what it does to your insides…we only had 1 bottle!)
  • Number of Bride and Groom´s seen in 1 day= 5! (The churches acted like a conveyor belt with one wedding party entering the church as one is just leaving! The latest ceremony we saw was at 8.30pm! Great fun looking at all the dresses…didn´t care for them much though- either too shiny or too many pleats!)
  • Top tip= Don´t eat in buffet restaurants on the Colco Canyon tour…they leave the food out too long and travellers get poorly. Instead head for a local restaurant which sells meals of the day (soup, drink, meat with rice) for around 5 soles. Best to go with someone who speaks spanish though as there is no menu and the restaurant owners don´t speak any engligh (thanks Ana from Belgium…our translator for the day!)

Cusco in a snapshot:

  • Weather= Hot (really strong sun…where a hat!) but short sharp showers/ thunderstorms in the afternoon or evenings
  • Food= Afternoon cake at the lovely Chocolate Museum.
  • Drink= Pisco Sour (pisco alcohol, sours and egg whites)- yum!
  • Seen so many I´ve lost count= Vintage VW Beetles in all the different colours of a smarties packet!
  • Well worth the 3 hours= Free walking tour of Cusco ( every place you visit you get a 10% off voucher which you can use at a later time, including the chocolate museum)
  • Big smile moment= Receiving a phone call from Mum and Dad for the first time and hearing I got awarded a distinction for my Masters- woop!

Hedd´s words of wisdom:

I´ve really enjoyed Peru to date, especially after the desert that was Northern Chile. However, I am starting to grow very wary of all the touts that constantly harass you around the main squares to enter their establishments. To date, the most common words I´ve hear since being in Cusco are:

“Massage, no, maybe later?”

“Information, Machu Picchu”

“Restaurant, Tourist Menu”

So come to Peru, enjoy Arequipa, enjoy Cusco but be prepared for the hassle. I try to tell myself that they are only trying to make a living, and that´s fine, but it doesn´t make it any less annoying!!