A Travellerspoint blog

Nazca

Flying above the Nazca lines

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We arrived in Nazca this morning after spending the night on the nicest night bus we have been on. It was a 9 hr drive through the night from Arequipa to Nazca so we arrived just after 6am. We were all pretty tired but as we are only here for one day we had no choice other than to just get on with it.

We took a tour to see the Nazca mummies in the dessert...not very nice to see really. There were a lot of holes dug out of the sand showing mummies and bones placed in them. Apparently the place is full of burial sites.

After that we went to a gold place and a pottery place to see how they make jewellery and pottery. That was quite interesting.

Then we headed to the tiny air strip to get on a very small plane to fly over the dessert to see the famous Nazca lines. The plane was tiny, it only held 5 people plus the pilot! It was soo bumpy and he kept tilting the plane to each side so we could all get a good look at the nazca lines. By the time we had finished I felt soo ill, I thought I was going to be sick! Not good. But the Nazca lines were quite interesting. There are about 500 in the dessert but we just got shown the more popular onces like the monkey, condor, spider and an astronought which I thought looked like one of the telly tubbies!

Tomorrow we are off again, heading for Pisco. On the way we are stopping to try some sand surfing, lying on a big board and flying down the dunes. We cant wait, it will bring back memories of doing it in Kuwait :)

Posted by Wayward83 15:17 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

The feast

Kev eats a poor wee guinea pig

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Forgot to mention that we went to a local restaurant yesterday for a feast and for Kev to try guinea pig!! The portions were absolutly massive, I couldnt even eat half of mine...but mind you I did end up with stomach and hoofs on my plate!!! I had no idea what I had ordered, thought it was just meat (normal meat) so I just picked at the bits I knew were normal food. Kev ordered the local dish of fried guinea pig. Its a bit like a sunday roast over here.
The poor wee thing came out whole and was staring at me the whole time!! I did try a bit...tasted just like chicken but the thought of what I was eating made me feel ill...poor wee Fudge (my guniea pig when I was younger) Kev of course really enjoyed it.

Posted by Wayward83 09:07 Archived in Peru Comments (1)

Arequipa

Colca Canyon and the condors

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After the Inka treck we spent the night back in Cuzco...it was so good to have a hot shower and a decent bed and not to walk anymore!!

The next day we took a flight to Arequipa, the second largest city in Peru, Lima being the first. Arequipa is a city situated in a valley below a chain of volcanoes...the last one was active 500 years ago. Still, I wouldnt choose to live under a volcano!! It is a really pretty place though. When we arrived we were shown to our rooms, we got the room on the roof! It was lovely and we had a great view over the city, just in time to see the sun set.

Friday morning we left early heading for Colca Canyon, the deepest canyon in the world, reaching 4,000 meters deep at one point. The Grand Canyon is only 1,900 meters deep.
We drove for miles along a bumpy road surrounded by volcanoes. That afternoon Kev went on a walk with everyone up a hill to some tombs full of skulls and bones. Some of the skulls were elongated as a result of tieing bits of wood to the side of there heads when they were babies to distort the skull. They did this because they believed it was a sign of the higher class and intelligance. I stayed at the hotel to chillax and read my book as I had had enough of walking up hills and the thought of seeing skeletons just freaked me out.
That night we went to hot termal springs for a soak. It was lovely, like a really hot bath. They were heated by the volcanoes and were around 35 to 40 degrees. We didnt want to get out.

This morning we got up at 5am to leave at 6am to drive 2 hours to the canyon to a place where you could see the condors flying. I didnt realise how big those birds were, they were massive. There wing span is 3 meters. We saw loads of them gliding on the termal updrafts, some of them getting really close we could almost touch them. It was mesmorising to watch. They are really ugly birds tough, they look like a cross between a turkey and a vulture.

After that it was a 4 hour drive back along the bumpy road to Arequipa. Not good, it felt like forever.

Tomorrow we are off to Nazca to visit the famous nazca lines.

Posted by Wayward83 17:37 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

The Inka Treck

4 day hike to Machu Picchu....hard but amazing

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We left Cuzco on saturday 12th and headed for Ollantaytambo, a small village just before the Inka treck starting point, Km82. We visited a couple of Inka ruins that day, the first one in Pisco and the other one in Ollantaytambo. The Inkas really liked their hills!! It was some hike up to both ruins, its amazing how they built the houses and temples. They moved stones from miles away to the sites just like the Egyptians did for the pyramids.

We spent the night in Ollantaytambo and rested before getting up early for the start of the Inka Trail the next day.

Day 1 of the treck - The easy day
We had packed a duffle bag the night before with the clothes we would need for the treck, it had to weigh no more than 6 kg as the porters would be carrying these bags. All we had to carry was our day bags containing water and cameras.
We drove to Km82, the starting point of the treck. It was busy with people eager to start and porters getting ready to carry 25kg each!! (they used to have to carry 70kg each until new regulations came in a couple of years ago) I dont know how they did it, my back pack was enough!!
There were 13 people in our group doing the treck, 19 porters to carry everything, 2 chefs, 1 tour leader and 1 assistant tour leader.
We waited in line to get our passsports stamped and to be granted entry to the national park then had a group photo taken under the Km82 sign. After that we were off....the scenery was stunning, we were surrounded by beautiful moutains some of which were snow capped, a large river flowing alongside the path and only a few local houses spread out. It felt good to be there and walking on the path that would lead us to a place we have wanted to see for so long.
We walked 12km that first day, stopping for lunch by the river after a few hours of walking. It was easy going, quite flat to start with which was good. When we arrived for lunch all the porters clapped which was quite embarrasing, especially considering they had practically ran up the path to the lunch spot and set up for lunch.
After lunch the treck was a little more touch, some big uphill parts but nothing that put me off.
I saw my first ever tarantula along the way....it was dead and being carried off by some huge flying insect. It wasnt that big...big enough though!! Im just glad it was already dead and not running around.
We arrived at our campsite at around 4pm (again more clapping) got washed up and had afternoon tea then dinner an hour later. The tent was quite cosy and we had some view...mountains every way we looked. The sky lite up when it got dark, I have never seen so many stars in my life and they were so clear, it was beautiful.

Day 2 of the treck - Dead womans pass (the day everyone dreaded)
We got up early, around 6am for breakfast and then off. I hadnt slept to well, my tummy had been a little sore and iffy plus as we were on a slight hill I kept slidding down the tent and ending up in a ball at the bottom!
This was the day everyone warned about, saying it was really tough. 4 hours solid uphill then 2 hours down steep steps. We only walked 9km this day but it was literally straight up a mountain. We climbed about 1,200 meters in those 4 hours...it was absolute hell!! It started off ok then got really steep. At one point we were looking at a wall of giant steps, I just about gave in saying there is no way I will make it up there. I so wanted to hijack a donkey! I couldnt believe that the porters just plodded along at their usual fast pace, the sweat was lashing off them as they carried there huge bags on their backs, but one by one they just kept passing us.
Finally after hours of pain, sweat and stoppigng every 10mins to catch your breath, we made it to the top of dead womans pass. I have never been more relieved to get somewhere in my life. Dad, Uncle Bill and Fraser...you aint climbed anything!! :p I kept thinking of all of you while I was walking and thought you guys would have loved it. It was hard going but the views were amazing and the sense of achievement when we reached the top was great.
We rested for a while before heading straight down the other side!! I was a bit annoyed at having suffered that just to head back down again! I thought going down would be a breeze...nope....it was steep stairs all the way. Our legs were shaking by the end of it and our knees were killing. I was so happy to reach the camp site and lie down. I didnt even bother having dinner that night, I just washed, rubbed deep heat into my legs which were agony and went to sleep. Best nights sleep Ive ever had!!ยด

Day 3 of the treck - Supposed to be easy, mainly down hill and through the cloud forrest.
My legs were so stiff in the morning and another full day of trecking was the last thing I felt like doing but I had no choice. Today was supposed to be easy, a little bit of up with a little bit of down. Nope...they took us straight up another moutain!! Not as steep as the day before and not for as long but it was no walk in the park. It was beautiful when we reach the top though, we could now see the cloud forrest below (part of the Amazon, its called a cloud forrest because its always cloudy) At the top we saw a humming bird fliting in and out of a tree, I tried to get a photo but it was a bit too far away.
From the top we had the dreaded steep stairs down into the forrest. We visited another Inka ruin along the way then headed up again to the meeting point for lunch.
After lunch we walked through the cloud forrest up over the moutains, at one point we were walking at the top looking down on the forrest. It was amazing, really pretty. We walked up 2 more high passes (not that bad, more my kind of walking) and came out on what seemed like the top of the world. It was absolutly stunning, we could see moutains for miles around us. It was the prettiest spot I have ever been to and it felt so good to have walked there.
Then it was all down hill again!! Never ending steep steps...some that were really close to the edge of the mountain. One wrong move and you would have been a gonner! I was terrified of slipping or falling but the porters didnt seem to care, they ran down the steps...I couldnt watch, I was sure one of them were going to go over.
As we approached the last campsite it started to thunder, we made it just in time before it started to rain.
At this site there was a lodge (wooden hut) where you could have a shower, a beer or a massage if you wanted. We all opted for the shower as we hadnt had one in 3 days!!
Then more deep heat, dinner and off to bed. We had walked about 16km this day.

Day 4 of the treck - the day we had all been waiting for.
We got up at 3am that morning to make sure we were first in line to get trough the gate and onto the last part of the treck to the sun gate and Machu Picchu. The gates opened at 5.30am but people got there really early to be first in. We were first,closley followed by another group. By 5.30 it was really busy with people eager to get on the path to Machu Picchu.
The last part of the treck was about an hour long (4km) to the sun gate. When we arrived and looked down we could see Machu Picchu far below sitting between the mountains, it looked tiny from where we were but I was still amazed that we had made it. We were amongst the first 20 people of 500 to arrive at the sun gate and get our first glimps of the famous site. We were finally there, after 3 days of hard work and a lot of pain,and years of wanting to see it face to face. I felt quite emotionally and really proud that we had done it. We took some photos and waited on the rest of the group before heading down to get a better look. The closer we got the more excited we felt, it was massive and really breathtaking. It felt amazing to be there and even more so because we had walked all that way to get there, not just turn up on the bus like some lazy people. We felt like we had earnt it more than them. It just felt really powerful.
We took lots of photos then had a guided tour around the site taking it all in. Machu Picchu was built by the Inkas in the 1500s and was only discovered in 1911 by an American man. The site was thought to be a city for around 700 people, different parts for different classes. Most of the remains found in the site were female, around 60%. There were many sacrafices made using females.

It was an amazing experience, one I will ever forget. It truely was a once in a lifetime opportunity. The treck was hard going but worth every bit of pain and soo rewarding in the end.

Posted by Wayward83 15:59 Archived in Peru Tagged foot Comments (1)

Cusco

a relaxing few days before the Inca trail (well almost!)

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Cusco is a beautiful place, the main square is so pretty and everyone is really friendly. Its been really good spending 3 days here, a good chance to relax and see the place propely.

The first day we arrived in the afternoon and we had a quick guided tour from our tour leader Bruno then out for dinner. The first full day we had we spent the entire time shopping!! There are loads of outdoor shops here so we have been buying things we may need on the Inca trail, its pretty cold at night so we will need to wrap up warm.

Yesterday was 5 years since Kev and I got together. It really doesnt feel that long, its flown by.
What seems like a good way to mark that.... we went white water rafting!!
We went with the rest of our original group on a tour that took us up to a place near Sacred Valley. We got into our wetsuits and had the safety talk while the guys pumped up the rafts (looked like hard work to me). Then we got into our rafts and headed down the Apurimac river. I was so nervous, I was terrified of falling out the raft.
The scenery was stunning, we were surrounded by huge hills, farm land and a few wee houses. As its the dry season the river wasnt that big and not that ruff, we only reached a grade of 3 on the rapids (which was enough for me) We started of quite gentle and had a practice of controlling the raft, it was hard trying to row at the same time as everyone else, i kept hiting my orr of the person in front. Kev was at the front of the raft and me at the back, someone had said that the safest place was at the back so that suited me fine. How wrong was I!!!!
It started getting more choppy as we went down the river which was fine, it was good fun bouncing about a bit. Then we came up to the first rapid, I felt sick when I saw it (and it wasnt even that big!) we made it through fine, my heart was pounding and I was shaking like mad but it had been good fun. Of course Kev was loving it :)
We contiuned on down the river through more smaller rapids, getting stuck on a few rocks as we went. That was fun trying to get ourselves moving again, we all had to dive over to one side of the raft and bounce off. It was hard work rowing and trying to control the raft, I dont know how the guy at the back knew what to do when. He was shouting instructions to us the whole time....row forwards, backwards, left side forward, right back, etc. He was really good.
Then we came up to another rapid, this one was a little bigger and rougher. I have no idea what happened, all I know is that one point I was in the raft and the next I was in the water!! I just bounced right out. I saw the raft moving away and I just lunged myself for the handle cause I knew I would be worse off if I didnt get a hold of the raft. It happened so quickly, I had no time to think, I just did it. I couldnt pull myself up onto the raft cause my legs were getting pulled under the raft and the guy couldnt get a proper grip of me. The whole time I was just trying to keep my feet as high as possible because the guy said you could get your feet caught in a rock and it would either brake your leg or you could go under. Eventually the guy and Rebecca managed to get me in the raft. He pulled so hard on my life jacket that my tooth went through my bottom lip, sore and bleeding I thought I was going to end up with a fat lip but I was so glad to be back in the raft. I was shaking like a leaf then and didnt know whether to laugh or cry. I dont remember the water being that cold but i think i was concentrating to much on trying to keep hold of the raft and keep my feet up to notice anything else.
I actually felt a lot calmer after that. I guess I just thought, Ive been in once and know what to expect now.

Further on down the river we headed for another rapid, we hit a big bit and all bounced to the right side of the raft. Thankfully I landed in the raft this time but I did manage to wack myself in the eye with the handle of my orr. I just thought... great, Im going to end up with a fat lip and a black eye now.

It was good fun and at least I can say I have been a real white water rafter but I dont think I could ever do anything rougher than that. That was enough excitment for me. Kev on the other hand wants to do another one that gets to a level 5.....I wont be on that one.

Today is our last day in Cusco, we are just chilling out and taking it easy after yesterday. My whole body aches from rowing and trying to stay in the raft. I also have scratches on the backs of my arms where I must have hit rocks when I went in. My lip and eye are sore but not come up thank God, that would have been some sight.

Tommorrow we head for Ollantaytambo before starting the Inca treck on sunday. 4 days of trecking ahead of us, ahhh. Im determind to do it but I know its going to be really hard, especially day 2 as that is mostly uphill to reach the highest point of the treck. It will all be worth it though and I know I will feel I have achieved something when I reach Machu Picchu. I have wanted to see Machu Picchu for years, ever since I first saw a picture of it and thought I want to be there taking that photo.

So next time we update will be with stories from the treck (hopefully no horror ones) and a load of photos for you to see.

Posted by Wayward83 13:23 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

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