A Travellerspoint blog

my legs hurt!!

sunny

i knew the inca trail wouldn´t be easy... but i had no idea it would be sooooo tough!!

they say day 1 is easy, day 2 a challenge, day 3 unforgettable and day 4 unique. and every day was a challenge. margaret and i were worried after the first day as it certainly wasn´t "easy". the second day was the toughest. it was about 6 hours of constant uphill in the roasting hot weather and high altitude. it was sooo hard to breathe after every couple of steps. i feel like i´m constantly going on about the altitude and breathing but you have no idea how difficult it is... especially when we reached "dead womans pass"... the highest point of the inca trail at 13,776 feet.

they say if you make it to dead womans pass then you´ve pretty much done the inca trail. getting to that pass was the hardest part of the trek. actually, the hardest trek i have ever done in my life. but we done it !! we completed the inca trail and made it machu picchu!! :)

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it´s the toughest walk i´ve ever done... but it sure was the best walk as well. the scenery was amazing... i had no idea just how beautiful it would be. i thought we would be hiking mainly through forests with a few inca ruins on the way... but we were constantly surrounded by the ande mountains. we were so high up and the views were stunning. i couldn´t stop taking photos. surprisingly!

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everyone in our group made it which was brilliant. but we were also very very lucky. only 7 days of the year do you get clear views of the snow on the mountains. 7 days!! and for 4 days we had clear blue skies and could see all the snow capped mountains. my photos really don´t do it justice (i´ve uploaded them to my flickr). it was really hard and exhausting but despite all that, i would do it again. although i´d probably not be as lucky the next time with the weather.

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william, our guide, told us that last year he had only seen the snowy mountains 3 times. how cooel is that. so so lucky. we were all complaining at times about the heat but really we knew we had it good.

4 days it took us. most of us with our wee rucksacks. now, the porters carry 18kg of luggage for us. sleeping bags, mats, camping equipment, cooking equipment etc. 18kg! they put us to shame because they all make it to camp before us. but get this, the record time of a porter finishing the inca trail is 3 hours and 45 mins!!! i couldn´t believe it. how fit must this guy be!

the porters really are amazing. if it wasn´t for them our trip would´ve been tougher. not only do they carry all our stuff for us, but they set up camp for us arriving, cook and serve us our 3 meals a day, clean and tidy up, wake us up the following morning, cook and serve us breakfast, take all the camping stuff down... then start hiking to do it all again... for 3 more days!

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a porter carrying way too much stuff!

our other guide, marcello, told us that some porters on other tour companies can be badly treated. some of them had hand made backpacks made from sacks and plastic bags. looked really sore for their shoulders... especially with the weight. some have to sleep in bad conditions, lack of food, badly paid etc.
our company, peru treks, comes on top for treating porters well. i done a bit of research before booking the inca trail... and that´s why i chose them. marcello mentioned that most porters want to work for them. there were 22 porters in total on our trek. marcello used to be a porter when he was younger and back then they were carrying up to 55kg of equiptment !! ouch !!

we´re now in aguas calientes, we leave tonight to go back to cusco. not much here but the usual touristy shops and cafes surrounded by the machu picchu mountains.
looking forward to getting back to cusco... for our last 3 days in south america! can´t believe it´s nearly coming to an end. we´ll be ending it with the inti raymi festival. we´re hopefully meeting up with 2 girls from our trek for some tapas and drinks to celebrate our achievement.

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then it´s the long flight back to london for 2 nights to see paul before leaving for africa. i can´t wait for london! i hate the place... but i´ve missed paul soooo much! it´ll be tough leaving again for 4 weeks... but then we´ve got just under 3 months travelling together... and i can´t wait :)

Posted by mico82 14:29 Archived in Peru Comments (3)

photos

sunny

to view all my photos check out my flickr site.

Posted by mico82 16:23 Archived in Peru Tagged photography Comments (0)

our final destination

semi-overcast

we are now in cusco... and i love it. definitely my favourite place from this trip. it´s a lot bigger than i thought... and a lot busier than anywhere else we´ve been to... but it´s beautiful. everywhere we go we´re in awe with the scenery.

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before cusco, we got the bus from copacabana to puno. our first place in peru and we weren´t that keen on the place. it was the first time i was verrrrry aware of my bag... and the people around me. we turned back at one point because we felt like we were walking on a dodgy street. didn´t like the place at all. luckily we were only there for one night.
we did get to see a small street parade which was pretty cool. full of kids dressed up singing and playing instruments.

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the following day was the orient express train to cusco. what a luxury it was. it was a 10 hour journey and it flew in. the scenery was stunning as it went through the andes and small towns. we loved it. and tanned a bottle of wine with our 3 course lunch which was yummeeee.

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in typical margaret and mico style... the first 24 hours of cusco involved finding a new place to stay! the hostel was nice... for a hostel. but we´re just wanting our own bathroom and a hot room. so we lasted a couple of hours in the hostel, checked out and found a new hostel. the following day we checked out of that hostel and we are now in a lovely hotel lol. the second hostel was noisy, stunk of cement as they were doing building work right near our room, water was like milk, hole in the wall where we showered and it was frrrreezing. but now we´re all happy and settled. i´m being a backpacker snob for 3 weeks. it´ll all change come july. but then it will be so so different. getting nervous at the thought of africa.

previously i mentioned i was gettting a flight to the orphanage... but i´m now meeting another volunteer in nairobi and we´re going to get the bus together. the bus put me off after the bolivian bus... but the bus back wasn´t as bad... i think it was the thought of doing it on my own. so now, i´m not so worried. it´ll be good to be with someone.

anyhoo... our days in cusco have been good. the festival of the sun has started (inti raymi) so lotsa street performances, dances, markets etc. great atmosphere. the official date of the festival is the 24th june but there´s lotsa stuff in the lead up to it. we´ll finish the inca trail (hopefully!!!) and celebrate our achievement at the festival on the 24th.

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our inca trail starts on wed, at 5:20am!! so you might not hear from me for a while. it´s a 4 day hike. wish me luck for it... as i´ll be soooo gutted if i can´t complete it. i think the only thing that will stop me is altitude sickness. i so hope i don´t get it.

Posted by mico82 15:15 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

bu bi bolivia

sunny

our last day in bolivia. we leave at 1pm for the bus to peru. we're staying overnight in puno then we're getting the orient express train to cusco. a bit of luxury transport for a change.

copacabana has been brilliant. really enjoyed our time here. we've been chilling out in the sun, pedalling boats in lake titicaca, eating out at some yummy restuarants and drinking 70p beers.

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yesterday we got a boat at 1:30pm to isla del sol. it took 2 hours to get there. then found out that the last boat back to copacabana was in 30 mins !!! it was such a waste of time. so we didn't really get to see much of isla del sol. we thought how stupid... but then noticed familiar faces on the boat back as well. so we weren't the only ones.
the guy told us 6:30 last boat... but i think he meant it gets us back in copacabana for 6:30.

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isla del sol

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mico on isla del sol

i've really enjoyed bolivia. the first week was a bit tiring but some of the places we've been to have been stunning.
i was a bit nervous about bolivia because we got sooo many warnings about the place... but we've not had one bit of bother. you just need a bit of common sense to travel about here... and if i can do it, anyone can!!

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will be in touch in peroooooooooooo :)

Posted by mico82 09:38 Archived in Bolivia Comments (2)

highs n lows

sunny

it's been nearly a week in south america and i have to say... it's been a struggle. i forgot how tough backpacking can be. we have not spent one night in the same place, and 2 of those nights have been spent on a bus.

we travelled some distance to see the salt flats... and it was definetly worth it but we were tooo knackered to enjoy it properly. on our second day of the tour margaret fell ill with altitude sickness, my head was pounding and we were both really really tired so we just stayed at the hostel with another couple whilst the others climbed a volcanoe.
no regrets at all... we'd only have made ourselves worse.
we also had a crap sleep that night because it was soooo cold there. we had about 6 layers on and 4 blankets over us... and also gloves and a wooly hat lol. even then we were still waking up cold. it's been a while since we've had a descent nights sleep.

despite all that we really did enjoy the tour. just felt we could have enjoyed it a lot better if we weren't so tired. or ill. salar de uyuni is a must for anyone in bolivia. jus take your time coming to see it... unlike us.

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the salt hotel was great despite there being no electricity, no heating and no toilet that flushed. it was unique and decorated in true bolivian style.

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there were 7 of us in our group and we were the only ones on the island. it was sooo peaceful. walked about the island, had some dinner, chilled out, exchanged travel stories... then margaret and i were the first party poopers to hit the sack!

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after the climb of the volcanoe we then drove to another island for a while and then said our bu bi's as most were doing a 4 day tour and we were only on a 2.

some more pics from our tour:

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me ready for bed!

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after the tour we had a few hours in uyuni before getting our bus back to la paz. we showed up 15 mins before it was due to leave. we had booked this bus in november. and also re-confirmed the booking in la paz days ago. turned up with our tickets to find the bus fully booked?! trying to communicate with them was useless. we were not getting on this bus.
eventually they offered to pay our ticket for another bus company leaving at the same time. it was due to leave any second so i had to run to this other bus company and make sure there was space for us, explain to them what had happened and make sure the bus wouldn't leave without us.
i so wish i learned some spanish because i was getting nowhere. eventually the girl from the crap bus company turned up and explained the situation and was getting our tickets sorted for us.
we dumped our backpacks in the boot and was about to get on the bus but the girl then told us we were getting a $60 refund for the inconvenience. so she ran back to her office to get the cash... and then the bus takes off without us. and with our bags!
i was chasing the bus down the road, banging on the window, shouting that our bags are in the boot. the guy just looked at me as though he couldn't care less.
the girl then comes out of the office with the $60 and at this point i couldn't care less about the cash. i was sooo annoyed and worried about our bags. she eventually managed to explain to me that the bus was just turning round on to the other road. i didn't know whether to laugh or greet lol.

we eventually got on the bus to find it full. were we feck standing for 11 hours! turns out we had seat numbers and the locals have to give up their seats for us. luckily they were only on the bus for about an hour so i didn't feel so bad. the bus was crap compared to our last one but i was just so relieved to be on one. there were no toilets either so i was bursting for a piss for 11 hours.

we arrived in la paz about 7am this morning. had a couple of hours at the bus station and then it was another bus to copacabana. thankfully this one was only 3 hours. and a short boat trip.

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our bus getting transported across the lake... with our luggage!

we originally planned on staying overnight in la paz but with the constant travelling all the time with odd nights here and there... we thought it would be best to just get to copacabana and have more time there to chill out. and we sure did make the right decision.

copacabana is beautiful. today is the first day where we actually feel like we're on holiday. the sun is scorching. no more layers and blankets. had our first drink (!!!!) at the lake and walked about in the baking sun getting a tan. our hotel looks on to lake titicaca and we have some view from our window.

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we have 3 nights here before making our way to peru. from now on it's much more relaxed and we are so thankful for it. and for the first time in 6 days we don't have a sore head... yey! la paz and uyuni must be much higher than copacabana. altitude is getting the blame for everything lol.

okay, finally getting to upload some photos. check out my last post for photos of la paz. hopefully i'll get all my pics uploaded to my flickr site soon.

Posted by mico82 21:00 Archived in Bolivia Comments (1)

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