A Travellerspoint blog

New Zealand, sheep and the vibrating town of Shumbi

35430 kms travelled so far

sunny 18 °C
View Around the world in 365 days... & Where we're going! on monkeyboy1's travel map.

I have been very slack in writing up this blog, which is a shame because our New Zealand trip isn't as fresh in my mind any more now we have left. We were sponsored for this journey by the Christian society and in a gesture of appreciation we travelled around the island in the shape of the Christian fish symbol. Once again thanks for your funding, we spent it well on cider, fish and chips, crucifixes and death metal CD's.

When we arrived in New Zealand it felt like we were almost home again, everyone speaking English, looking the same as us, driving on the left on tarmacked roads (luxury!), fish and chips and extortionate prices . Once we had made our way into Christchurch we picked up our transport for our trip, a trusty campervan called Bernard.

Camper_van.jpgus_on_the_camper_van.jpg

Bernard was a fine van and had been decorated by a graffiti youth fiend, probably on community service for joyriding or arson. It looked great.

We escaped from the bustle of Christchurch and within no time were out in the country driving through beautiful rolling hills, dotted with frolicking hobbits and magicians.

Landscape_with_sheep.jpg
Shed_and_landscape.jpg
A magicians house

We drove for a couple of hours and then realised we were shattered after flying and waiting at airports for the last 24 hours, so we pulled up at a small campsite right next to the beach and passed out for the night.

We woke up the next morning, surprised at how comfy sleeping in the campervan was, and got out only to be greeted by an excellent sunrise and NZ fur seals playing in the water just a few metres from us!

Baby_fur_seal.jpgNew_Zealand_Fur_Seal.jpg
Sunrise_near_Kaikora.jpg

After watching them for a while, and after having a real life hot shower (a luxury, possibly the first decent one for me in 6 weeks), we set off to the nearby town of Kaikoura. We did a walk around the coast of Kaikoura; past a seal colony (nearly stepping on a seal we didnt notice), past a colony of birds and up and round some cliffs, stopping at the end for a pint of cider and fish and chips (ah bliss!). NZ was just getting better and better!

Kaikora_panoramic.jpgChristy_walking.jpgbendy_rocks.jpg

After Kaikoura we set off up North to near Picton and drove along empty roads through beautiful landscapes, we ended up camping at a DOC (Department of conservation) campsite which was pretty much just a mud path down to a small beach. We parked up and spent the afternoon alone on the beach having a BBQ, burning the food to death in traditional British style.

Aussie_bay_beach.jpgCharcoal_BBQ.jpg
queen_charlotte.jpg

After a few nights we set off again and headed over West to Nelson where it rained, and rained, and rained some more. Being stuck in a campervan when it's pouring down isnt all that much fun, especially as whenever you have to go outside you seem to bring half the water back with you, along with a bucketload of mud. To pass the time we went to a wine tasting tour and were educated in the fine art of drinking, or maybe appreciated drinking. After lots of samples we wobbled out with a bottle in our hand.

Not to be deterred by the rain we drove even further West the next day, and reached Rotarua Lake, where not all that surprisingly, it was raining. We ventured out briefly to learn about the eels in the lake which dont even reach sexual maturity until 90 years old, did a short walk and then went and hid in the van. The next day we went to the local tourist information office who said that it would rain heavily on the West coast for at least the next 400 million years, so we decided that being deterred by the rain wouldnt be so bad and headed back over east again, where the sun shines and the seals play.

Kiwi_sign.jpg

Weather back over the East side was good again and we pretty much stayed over that side for the rest of our trip. We travelled down the coast and ended up in Dunedin where I went on a tour and saw wild yellow eyed penguins, which are the rarest penguins in the world with under 4000 left. The penguins were used to the tours and we sat on the beach and watched them come ashore and waddle in right past us!

Yellow_eyed_penguin.jpgYellow_eye..in_home.jpgYellow_eyed_penguin_2.jpg

After the penguins we saw some male sea lions on the beach fighting constantly and generally misbehaving.

Sea_lions_fighting_bw.jpg

After our time in Dunedin we travelled to another coastal town where another rare species of penguin, called Blue penguins can be found. We went down to the beach and sat for a few hours in the freezing cold waiting for them to come into land, which they didnt do. The best photo I got of them was this....

Blue_penguin.jpg

We also stopped at some big round boulders which were on the beach, various theories for how these got there have been proposed ranging from them being dinosaur eggs to being alien landing sites. All of course are complete rubbish, they're obviously fossilised giant testicles.

Christy_ju..on_rock.jpgMoeraki_close_up.jpg

After a week or so of alcohol deprivation (apart from the wine, cider, and beer) we decided to give our livers what they had been begging for and put our new vineyard alcohol appreciation skills into practice. We drove to Queenstown, which is the adventure capital of NZ, and so it seems, also the English capital of NZ with more Brit than Kiwi accents to be heard. We met up with a friend of Christy's and went to his house armed with the ever sophisticated Scrumpy Jack, looking back this was probably a mistake, for a night of merriment and - vomiting on the next door neighbours drive - festivity.

Ducks_on_q..wn_lake.jpg

We drove away with grinding headaches and headed towards Mount Cook where we spent a night under its shadow. After that we headed back to Christchurch, dropped off the ever reliable Bernard and said some teary goodbyes.

We spent the last night in Christchurch with Christy's friends, who were very nice but a little quirky, a quick summary of their beliefs was:
1. You can redirect your sperm via your back, forehead and down through your body.
2. Ejaculation of your sperm can be viewed as a negative thing, keep it in!
3. If you put cow poo in a horn and bury it for a lunar month it will fertilise at least a million acres of land, and create super vegetables (charged at super prices).
4. Milk, butter, bread and cheese are evil.
5. It's ok to rename yourself after a town in China which has literally vibrated itself into an alternate reality through meditation.
6. That dogs cant look up.
7. That dolphins are evil.

Ok, so I made points 6 & 7 up but the rest were said it all seriousness. I'm not sure what the correct answer is to someone who tells you that ejaculation is bad, or that they are named after a vibrating town, but I think "hmmmmmm ok sure" probably passed the test. Either way they were very hospitable and we had a good time discussing these mental propositions whilst trying to hold back any signs of mirth at their ideas. The next day we hastlily got onto the plane checking they hadnt implanted any weird objects such as cows skulls or sperm packages into our bags and flew to the land of Oz.

We didnt really have enough time to see all of NZ, but our couple of weeks gave us enough time to see a sample of the amazing offerings, I would like to come back one day when I have more money and can actually afford to do the tours and activities and spend a little more time. Of course, I couldn't finish any blog about NZ without at least a few sheep photos so here you are :)

Mother_sheep_and_baby.jpgMother_she.._babies.jpg
Lamb.jpg

Now for the top trumps of NZ!

NEW ZEALAND SOUTH ISLAND
Natural Beauty ----------- 9.0 (Lord of the rings landscapes, say no more!)
People --------------------- 8.5 (very friendly locals and sheep)
Sights/Activities ---------- 7 (loads of stuff to do, but not cheap, back into real world prices)
Food ----------------------- 7 (fish and chips!)
Cost ----------------------- 5 (approaching English prices for food and beer)
Shopping ------------------ 5 (once again too expensive for my lame budget)
Architecture -------------- 3 (No amazing architecture, but the landscapes make up for this)
Transport ----------------- 10 (Campervans rock!)
Price of beer ----------- c.£2.50 :(

Overall Impression ------ 8

Posted by monkeyboy1 17:36 Archived in New Zealand Tagged automotive Comments (0)

Top Trumps

Peru under review....!

sunny 26 °C
View Around the world in 365 days... & Where we're going! on monkeyboy1's travel map.

We've now left Peru so it's Top Trumps time:

PERU
Natural Beauty ----------- 8.5 (awesome rainforest, beautiful mountains and purty seasides)
People --------------------- 7.5 (friendly and helpful people)
Sights/Activities ---------- 9 (loads of stuff to do, and cheap too!)
Food ----------------------- 8 (good food, cheap and delicious)
Cost ----------------------- 9 (cheap cheap cheap!)
Shopping ------------------ 6 (loads of stuff on offer and once again fairly cheap)
Architecture -------------- 9 (Two words: Machu Picchu! Add that to nice Spanish architecture and you're onto a winner)
Transport ----------------- 7 (Good comfy buses at fairly cheap prices)
Price of beer ----------- c.90p

Overall Impression ------ 8.5

I'll write a blog for New Zealand soon! :)

Posted by monkeyboy1 16:47 Archived in Peru Tagged tips_and_tricks Comments (0)

Lake Titikaka and the chronicles of Ms. X

21123 kms travelled so far

sunny 30 °C
View Around the world in 365 days... & Where we're going! on monkeyboy1's travel map.

After flying back from Puerto to Cuzco I met with Christy at the airport, it was so nice to see her after our break and we went out and celebrated in the city, we woke up the next morning with a vague recollection of what had happened and receipt which stated we had drunk 18 shots at one bar, we had obviously been framed. We spent a couple more days in Cuzco, recovering and visited the town Christy had been staying at to see her perfect pots. We then took a bus for 6 hours to the lakeside city of Puno. Puno is situated next to the highest lake in the world, Lake Titikaka. Our mission here was to get onto the lake to visit the people who lived on the reed islands. We met a man near the lake who declared that he was “the famous Juan of the port”, I wanted to tell him that he couldn’t reliably declare himself famous and that it was really down to other people to do this, but let him continue to tell us about a trip to the reed islands he could arrange for us, including spending a night on one of the quieter islands. It sounded great so we decided to go ahead and let the one and only world famous Juan of the port arrange it for us.

We set off the next morning and caught a boat from the harbour, our first stop was the floating reed islands of Uros. Nearly everything on these islands are made from reeds; houses, floors, boats, pets, food and much more. Apparently they inhibitants initially made these floating islands because of the threat from the Incas and because they could hide on the lake away from them.

Uros.jpg
reeds.jpgreeds2.jpgibis_and_house.jpg
boat.jpg

We pulled up to the island, stepped onto the spongy reed surface and were greeted by the islanders who were dressed in their traditional gear. After a short talk from our tour guide we were attacked by the islanders who pulled us into their reed houses and tried to sell us their reed made goods. It all felt a bit too touristy and I was half expecting to see a reed VISA card reader or a McDonalds around the back of the island. We spent an hour or so on the island trying to avoid buying souvenirs we didn’t want, including a badly stuffed duck, which was quite a mission on an island smaller than most people’s back garden. At the end they bundled some of the more pliable gringos onto a reed boat and paddled them off with the islanders serenading them with “hasta la vista baby” as they floated away. We decided to save our money and caught the tour boat across for free instead; we didn’t get a hasta la vista send off which was most upsetting, anyone would think they just wanted our money.

half_reed_boat.jpg

We visited one more reed island and Christy brought a nice tapestry off a grumpy reed lady who looked like she might throttle me for taking her photo, we then set off for Isla Amantani. Our boat seemed to be powered by something like reeds and moved at a slower-than-death pace, it took over three hours to arrive at the island which was approximately 14 metres away. We were a bit apprehensive after the Disneyworld’esq experience we had at the floating island but went in with an open mind anyway.

The island was quite rugged and arid and it reminded me of the island in the “wicker man” film, I hoped that we wouldn’t be burnt alive during our stay.

first_island.jpg

It turned out there was no roads, vehicles, play stations, Topshop, strip clubs or electricity on the island so it looked positive that it would be a more authentic experience. We were greeted by a few families of islanders, and everyone was paired off to stay with one of the families. After the pairing there was one lady left by herself and we offered to let her join our temporary family for the day and night, for the purposes of confidentiality I will call her Ms X. Our host family was a girl of 20 called Marissa, and her grandmother and grandfather, whose names I could not understand but that I pretended to take note of. They led us up the short hill towards their house and Ms X nearly had a heart attack on the way up, they offered to take all of her luggage to lighten her burden and their potential liability in the case of a law suit that could take place if she keeled over on the way up. The house was basic and it was made of mud blocks, but it was in a nice location looking out over the sea.

house.jpg

We got to meet the family properly, Marissa’s grandparents spoke some Spanish but mostly the local dialect of Quechua and Marissa spoke both Spanish and Quechua – they were all very nice and made us feel at home. We tested out our basic Spanish skills and managed to get along fine, although Ms X had been touring South America for some time she didn’t know any Spanish, and kept repeating “gratil” instead of Gracias which seemed to amuse and confuse the family at the same time. They cooked us lunch and we had it sitting out in the sun in their garden, next to their sheep and chickens. Looking at the sheep Ms X asked in all seriousness "are they llamas?", excellent! We spent the afternoon exploring the island, saw part of an annual island party and then headed back to their house for dinner.

Man_at_fiesta.jpgMan_playing_flute.jpgFamily.jpgDancing_couple.jpgdancing_at_fiesta.jpg
Girl_doing_her_makeup.jpg
Arch_at_sunset.jpg
sunset.jpg

We had dinner in a small room accompanied by the grandfather who was a really nice man, we questioned him as best we could in our broken Spanish and it was really nice to speak to a real life authentic person who didn’t own a Mercedes and/or shares in Microsoft. He had lived on the island all of his 68 years and had always been a farmer, and lived in their current house. He had married his wife young and they had amassed 5 children, one cow and a few sheep and chickens (not all through copulation). He had obviously had a fairly hard life, but seemed very happy with his lot, and with the view out of the window I guess we could see why.

Grandfather.jpggrandfather2.jpg

After the meal we washed up the dishes to say thanks, but Ms X couldn’t wash the dishes as she didn’t want to get cold so instead she sat in the corner letting off little farts and mumbling gratil occasionally.

Christy_an..hing_up.jpgKitchen.jpg

Next we were asked to prepare for a party. We went to our room and shortly after the grandparents came up and knocked on our door, they had brought us some appropriate clothes to wear to the party. Christy was given the traditional island costume and I was given a fetching poncho and hat combo.

Christy_dressing_up.jpg

We were then whisked to the party, we arrived to an empty warehouse with just one man sitting in the corner next to a table with a couple of beers on it, this was to be the bar. Well, we wanted authentic and this certainly wasn’t Ministry of sound so in a way we got what we wanted.

The_disco.jpg

Gradually more people came to the hall and a small band set themselves up and started playing. We were taught how to dance by Marissa and proceeded to mess it up completely. We danced a few dances, had a beer and then set off home in time for bed at 9:30pm.

christy_dancing.jpgChristy_and_beer.jpg

The stars on the way home were so bright and you could see the whole milky way, no electricity is certainly a good thing sometimes. We got up the next morning, had breakfast and then said goodbye to our Peruvian family, it was nice to stay with them and meet such friendly people.

Next up we visited another island, called Taquile, on the way Ms X warned us and the tour guide, and in fact most of the group that she had bad diarrhoea and could expel her bowels at any moment. We braced ourselves and continued on hoping for the best, I was worried our slow boat couldn’t take any extra weight whether it consisted of people or faeces. Isla Taquile was a scenic island which reminded us of Greece, life here was also slow and the locals continued their traditions including wearing certain costumes depending on their status, arranged marriages, public beatings for crimes, and possibly burning people in wicker caskets for fun. We spent the afternoon on the island and had a nice time wandering around.

arch_taquile.jpg

After we stepped back onto the sloth-boat and steamed slowly but surely back towards the mainland. We finally arrived, both happy that overall the trip had been a real success and spent the night into Puno, the next day we travelled to Arequipa where we are now. We’ve spent the last few days visiting the deepest canyon in the world (twice as deep as the grand canyon, so yaa sucks to you America!), spotting condors, and visiting Juanita the ice maiden so I’ll write a blog about that soon.

Posted by monkeyboy1 17:14 Archived in Peru Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Jungle Boogie

18022km travelled so far

rain 30 °C
View Around the world in 365 days... & Where we're going! on monkeyboy1's travel map.

I’ve just finished my first week in the jungle and I’m now back in the nearest city of Puerto Maldonaldo for a day back in civilisation, which mostly consists of eating lemon meringue pie and drinking beer.

The rainforest is humid and hot, only some daylight filters through the trees and gets to the floor so most areas are in a state of twilight all of the time. Animals are hard to spot; it’s so dense that you can walk a few metres from a jaguar without seeing it. Everything seems to want to bite, sting or lay its eggs in me. I have found out a couple of times how fire ants earnt their name, I have a family of tiny mites called chiggers eating their way up my legs, I am a mosquitoes´ best friend and I am trying to avoid getting a bot fly larvae laid under my skin (they lay their eggs in wet clothes and they then burrow into your skin, my clothes are constantly wet so I am a delight for bot fly mothers to be). Snakes lie around waiting to be trodden on, although I suppose thats not their main intention. The humidity rots everything unbelievably fast, my bags already have mould growing on them, my clothes smell like a wet dog and my ipod has some mold in the connection socket. When it rains it really rains, a few days ago we had 150mm of rain in one morning (in Norwich we get 300mm per month!), the trails turned into rivers and lower ground turned into lakes and we spent the afternoon wading around with water pouring into our wellies.

Mud.jpg

Despite all this I’m having a jolly good time, and all of these things seems like a mild distraction from how much fun jungle life is. The job here is great, we have to complete some tasks and after they´re done the rest of the time we can ramble around the jungle at our leisure hunting down animals. I am sleeping in a bungalow with another volunteer called Andy, he is from Uganda and is really easy to get along with and very nice, he seems to have had an interesting life, not many people can claim to have been shot twice in the back with an AK47 and to have had a broom sword fight with a spitting cobra all before the age of 20. The lodge is nice and our rooms are comfy.

Explorers_Inn.jpg
My_room.jpg

They ring a bell three times a day and I have learnt, as did Pavlov’s dogs, that this means food time. We get a good breakfast and then a 3 course lunch and dinner. Andy and I have made friends with the waiter by giving him a reggae CD and in return we get multiple desserts and sometimes 2 main courses, I may come back fat.
Most days we walk between 10 – 15km along very muddy paths, we have built a bridge, put up signs, cut transects through thick jungle, canoed around a lake and done a few other jobs, but mostly we have just walked for the sake of walking and to try to find animals. In the evening we often go out and wander around the jungle in the dark (with a proper torch!) to search for the nocturnal animals that lurk around.

Frog.jpg

On the second day it rained heavily in the morning and we were stuck inside, in the afternoon we decided to go for a walk anyway to put up a sign near a lake. We lost track of time and by the time we got to the lake it was past 5 and the light was fading. Not to worry says Andy, I have a torch, and we set off home. When darkness came we were about half way home, he got out his torch, winds it up and turns it on, it looks and acts like a Fisher Price torch made for under 5’s and doesn’t really illuminate anything. Bugger. We continued on getting lost a few times, aware that if we wander even a few metres off the path we will be lost for good and that our bodies will be found inside an anaconda later in the month (ok, thats an exaggeration, we´d just have to sit in the dark for a night). We ended up in a basin, flooded deeply with water, in the dark with our dim torch, we didn’t know which way to go, we tried climbing the sides but slid back down. We tried leaving by what looked like a river but it was so deep it came past the tops of our wellies and we turned back. We panicked a little considering spending a night sleeping with snakes, army ants and a thousand mosquitoes as roommates. Eventually we decided to walk our way out via the river which turned out not to be a river at all but actually the path. Happily we made our way back and I vowed to take a proper torch next time.

We’ve seen a fair few animals; white lipped and collared peccaries, similar to wild boars but bigger and with tusks they roam around the forest in groups of up to 200 stinking like sweaty gyms and urine and freak out when they see you charging, snorting and knocking down anything in their way, we pick a tree when we first see (or smell them) to climb if they let loose in our direction. We see lots of monkeys, saddleback monkeys who are quite tame and like bananas, howler monkeys to try to pee on your head and capuchin monkeys who are very grumpy and throw sticks at you to make you go away.

Saddleback_Tamarin2.jpgBrown_Capuchin_Monkey.jpg

We’ve also seen other mammals like agoutis, pacas, deer, ocelots (only a dead one though!!!), bats, tayras and Amazonian squirrels who are all keen to get as far away from you as quickly as possible.

Ocelot_head.jpgOcelot_coat.jpg

We’ve seen a few snakes including a bad tempered rainbow boa who tried to bite us and then chased us down the path. We have a few pink footed tarantulas living at the lodge, one of which can sometimes be found in the toilet bowl. Butterflies are everywhere, there is 1400 species here, the highest number in the world, in all colours shapes and sizes, the same goes with birds and there are 2 wild macaws that hang around the lodge, I have managed to make friends with one of them and she will fly down, sit on my shoulder and eat oranges, the other one doesn’t like anyway and just tried to bite me (he sometimes also breaks into people’s rooms and hides under the bed until them come in, at which point he jumps out and attacks their feet).

Scarlet_Macaw.jpgMacaw_feathers.jpg

Insects in all shapes and colours are all around and when they’re not trying to bite me are great to look at and photograph.

Yellow_butterfly.jpg

A project called Forever Fauna Tambopata has just come to the lodge, they are carrying out 3 surveying projects on mammals, birds and reptiles (and amphibians). We have been helping them out and when I get back to the lodge I am joining the bird team to go mist netting (to catch and measure the birds) and the following night I will be out in the jungle from 9pm-4am searching for snakes, lizards and frogs. Hopefully I´ll see lots of stuff (although I´m not all that keen to get close to a pitt viper to be honest) and I´ll learn alot too, it will be good stuff for my CV.

Me_and_tree.jpg

Posted by monkeyboy1 13:30 Archived in Peru Tagged volunteer Comments (2)

Do llamas lay eggs?

19267 kms travelled so far (plus 75km walking!)

sunny 27 °C
View Around the world in 365 days... & Where we're going! on monkeyboy1's travel map.

We have just got back from a trek to Machu Picchu and we’re now recovered after all the walking, we had an amazing time and it was one of the best things I have done since we’ve started travelling. So I can remember it all when I’m an old man and have trouble remembering even my name I’m going to write a mini novel about it all, you can just look at the photos to get the gist….

Day 1: Mollepata – Soraypampa. 18km. 700 metres ascent, 0 metres descent.

We started off bright and early and caught a bus from Cuzco to Mollepata at 4am. We met the other people we would be trekking with, 6 Americans, 2 Brazilians, 2 guides and us and got acquainted over some coca leaf tea and breakfast before we set off.

Day_1_-_Fi..up_shot.jpg

The trail at the start was fairly easy and lulled us into a false sense of security; this was going to be a breeze. We wandered through rolling hills and dusty paths up to a big hill where we had our lunch and relaxed before setting off again.

Day_1_-_rolling_hills.jpgDay_1_-_ho..nd_hill.jpg

In the afternoon we set of again, now a bit sleepy from lunch and the mornings walking and we walked, walked, walked and walked some more. Slowly but surely we approached the snow capped peak of Salkantay. We arrived at our camp after 7 hours of walking, with aching feet, feeling very tired and had dinner before we fell exhausted into freezing tents at 8pm. It was one of the longest and coldest nights ever and I didn’t get hardly any sleep, at about 3am I even managed to break the zip on my rental sleeping bag and spent the rest of the night swearing at the bag and the cold and the tent and pretty much everything.

Day 2: Soraypampa – Challway. 20km. 1050 metres ascent, 1700 metres descent.

We all got up in the pitch black at 4am and stumbled around in the freezing cold to get breakfast.

Day_2_-_morning_time.jpg

We were all cheered up no end when one of the American girls asked in all seriousness whether llamas laid eggs. Brilliant. We informed her that they did and also had feathers and exchanged stories about how we had either not slept or slept very little and we sang happy birthday to Christy. We all seemed to be in a very good mood despite our lack of sleep and we set off for what we knew would be the most gruelling day of the trek. We started off walking along a valley next to an icy river and as our campsite disappeared behind us we saw the massive Salkantay Mountain looming ahead. We worked our way up a steep series of switch backs up the mountain which was hard work but well worth the view from the top when we finally got there.

Day_2_-_bo..lkantay.jpgDay_2_-_va..lkantay.jpgDay_2_-_sw..the_top.jpg

We had a bit of a group celebration before realising we were actually only about half way up to the pass and that most of the climb was still ahead. On we plodded, walk walk walk walk walk.

Day_2_-_Ch.._way_up.jpg

We continued heading upwards stopping off at a nice frozen lake, played with a calf and then headed towards the top of the pass. At last we reached the top of the pass and had amazing views of the mountains surrounding it and the valleys leading from it. We stopped for a bit to take in the view, rest, drink some birthday rum and undertake a spot of mountain rock golf.

Day_2_-_Sa..p_photo.jpgDay_2_-_Sa..ss_view.jpgDay_2_-_Christy_rum.jpg
Day_2_-_ben_rock_golf.jpg

We set off down the other side of the pass into a mist filled valley. It was good to see a change of scenery from the icy top to more green with birds singing and packhorses charging by in the mist.

Day_2_-_pa..and_fog.jpg
Day_2_-_vi.._valley.jpg

By the time we got to have lunch we had been walking for 6 hours and we were exhausted and settled down to a nice siesta before setting off again.

Day_2_-_lu.._siesta.jpg

After lunch the scenery changed rapidly again as we descended into a mist topped jungle valley with a river flowing down the middle.

Day_2_-_jungle.jpg

As we walked on slowly with tired feet horsemen and porters with massive backpacks came running past making us feel very unfit.

Day_2_-_ho..running.jpg

After 3 more hours walking we reached our next campsite which was perfectly placed in the jungle near a river. We played cards, had dinner and our chef brought Christy out a birthday cake which we had somehow magically cooked oon a gas stove. We then sat around a camp site telling stories, one of our guides who didn’t speak much English decided to tell a story with the help of a translator. Unfortunately it didn’t make any sense as it was about a woman who changed into a puppy, a man who went for a wee with a girl tied to his leg and Dracula, either way it was quite entertaining in a weird sort of way. After we settled tired down and slept perfectly for the night.

Day 3: Challway – P. Sahuayaco. 14km. 0 metres ascent (yay), 1020 metres descent.

We woke up early refreshed and ready for another days trekking. We set off first through open hills and then went into the jungle again on dusty paths high up winding around high above the river below.

Day_3_-_ri.._horses.jpg
Day_3_-_jumping.jpg

We continued through the jungle stopping at a beautiful waterfall, met some locals and after for a game of football, gringos against Peruvians. We lost after we scored in our own net and kicked the ball into a fast moving river.

Day_3_-_wa..l_group.jpg
Day_3_-_local_boy.jpg

We finished walking early at 1pm and celebrated by going to some hot springs to soak our legs. In the evening we all got together for dinner and celebrated with some wine and rum. We were in a tiny village but our guide told us about a nightclub there, I didn’t know whether to believe him because he liked winding people up but he persisted saying it did exist. A few of us went to investigate and were surprised to see it did exist. Based in the main room of the bottom of a small two storied house and decorated with a stripper’s pole and a wolf skin on the wall, it was quite possibly the weirdest nightclub ever. It was owned by an old lady who promptly fell asleep on a chair at the bar when we arrived and left her 10 year old relatives to run the bar. An interesting mix of Dr Dre and traditional Peruvian was being played and we stayed for a few hours taking advantage of the constant happy hour rums. After we went back and slept perfectly again. Tent sleeping was getting easier by the day.

Day 4: P. Sahuayaco – Aguas Calientes. 14km. 80 metres ascent, 0 metres descent.

We woke up covered in ant and mosquito bites, in our drunken state we had forgotten to put any repellent on and had made a great meal for the local wildlife. We got up and went for breakfast only to be provided with entertainment like none before. Across the road from where we were eating there was an open sided metal shed. A live cow was lead in, it was stabbed in the head, had its throat cut and the drama unfolded something like this...

Day_4_-_Cow1.jpgDay_4_-_cow2.jpgDay_4_-_cow3.jpgDay_4_-_cow4.jpg

It was quite shocking and put me off my breakfast a bit (not enough to stop me eating it, thankfully it wasn’t beef) but it was a brutal education and thankfully the cow playing along splendidly and died fairly quickly, after twitching a lot and banging its head on the floor a few times. I think it’s good to see what happens to the animals which we eat so it was a good experience in some ways. We tried to decide whether it was better to be a intensively farmed cow killed with a bolt gun, but who would have to live in a shed all its life, or to be a free range Peruvian cow who lived outside happily all its life but got killed by being stabbed in the head. We decided the Peruvian cow’s way would probably win, although being a cow in India would be better.

We set off walking later in the day and regretted lying in because sun was beating down. We were now out of the jungle and we trekked along dusty roads alongside a river.

Day_4_-_Dusty_roads.jpg
Day_3_-_flowers.jpg

We walked until we reached out lunch spot and enjoyed eating in the shade. After lunch we continued on briefly entering the jungle to see an Inca sacrificial stone where llamas were sacrificed for the gods. Christy and Ben reconstructed what this would have been like, to great effect.

Day_4_-_Ch..crifice.jpg

After we walked along a railway line for at least 1000 hours before finally and very happily reaching the gringo filled town of Aguas Calientes, tired and very smelly, where we had a hotel with hot water and a comfy bed waiting. We had a final meal together and then went to bed early, ready for Machu Picchu the next day.

Day_4_-_ra..hildren.jpg
Day_4_-_railway.jpg

Day 5: P. Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu. 14km. 800 metres ascent, 0 metres descent.

We woke up at 3:45am to start the 2km trek to Machu Picchu, it sounded very easy but was in fact 2km of almost vertical steps up to the site, which was even harder in the pitch black. We stumbled and panted up the steps until we finally reached the site in time to see a beautiful sunrise over Machu Picchu, it made all the trekking even more worth it as the tour groups didn’t get into the site until about 11 so missed half of the fun. The view as you walk into the site is amazing and it was much bigger and more impressive than I thought it would be.

Day_4_-_MP_first_view.jpg

I decided to climb the mountain next to Machu Picchu to get a better view, from the top Machu Picchu looked tiny but I got a good view of the sadistically winding route up we had slogged up in the morning.

Day_5_-_me_at_the_top.jpg
Day_5_-_Ma..noramic.jpg

After that climb Christy and I fell asleep in a meadow for a bit then wandered around some more.

Day_5_-_sleeping.jpg

After spending the day hanging out with llamas we caught a train and then bus back to Cuzco where we fell asleep for the next few days.

Day_5_-_llama.jpgDay_5_-_houses.jpg
[*]Day_5_-_birdie.jpgDay_5_-_ll..rdhouse.jpgDay_5_-_kings_tomb.jpg

All in all it was an awesome trek and I hope we can get some more trekking done in the rest of the countries we go to. I am going into the rainforest tomorrow for the next month, apparently there is a satellite internet connection when there is no rain (not sure how often that is in the rainforest mind) so with any luck I might be able to add photos of me wrestling jaguars and racing on anacondas.

Posted by monkeyboy1 14:50 Archived in Peru Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

(Entries 11 - 15 of 25) « Page 1 2 [3] 4 5 »