Entry 4 - The Journey of 42km Starts With a Single Step…..
Aug 2, 2012
|Hola From La Paz, Bolivia
It's felt like some time has passed without an update, due to time restraints. Today is our first day on our own as we said our goodbyes to our tour group last night. It’s been a great start to the day with a lazy breakfast and stroll through the streets of La Paz and now here I sit with a few hours to spare to share the amazing sights and experiences of the last 2 weeks. I will do my best to be brief!
Pisac – Peru
The day before we tackled the mighty Inca Trail we stopped via the town of Pisac. Whilst it was basic preparation with all the walking and the stairs, it was yet another fascinating glimpse into Inca times with multitudes of archaeological ruins to take in. This town can only be described as a fusion of Inca traditions and modern bohemian culture. This place really left an impression on us with its array of market stalls and beautiful silver jewellery as far as the eye could see against a backdrop of ruins, dreadlocks and piercings.
The Inca Trail - The Journey of 42km Starts With a Single Step…..
And one sleeping bag, one clean shirt, one pair of clean socks, NO SHOWERS for 4 days, a truckload of baby wipes, filthy greasy hair, dirty fingernails, dry skin and cracked lips. However, in saying all of that, we can say that it is by far the most physically and mentally challenging yet rewarding thing we have ever done. A few highlights from the 4 day trek were;
•Day 1 we saw a woman walking her donkeys down the trail whilst breastfeeding. Now how´s that for multitasking!
•The breathtaking views, it didn’t matter which direction we turned there was always a stunning snow capped mountain in the distance.
•The meeting of two local boys Christian and Wakin, we met them at our campsite day two. The friendship started with me asking Wakin who was about 5 if I could take his picture. This was of course with sign language as he didn’t speak English and my Spanish leaves a lot to be desired. Wakin agreed to a picture. I gave him my Aussie flag to hold for the picture and then he wouldn’t give it back! I then taught him to wave the flag frantically and chant Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi – which he did! It was the sweetest thing, a little boy who speaks no English to chant like an Aussie. We also taught him our names and upon leaving the following day he called out, Adios Lauren, Adios Judy, he remembered our names!
•The AMAZING FOOD AND PORTERS – Every day we would wonder what was for breakfast, lunch or dinner as each day they seemed to out-do the effort from the day before. We were never left hungry and were beside ourselves with the type of food they offered at a CAMPSITE! We even had a cake baked for our group at our last dinner! The porters get special mention for the simple fact that they carry 20kg on their backs and RUN IN THONGS – the oldest porter being 67, ahead of us to our next campsite, meanwhile all we had to do was walk with 3kg on our backs & that in itself was an effort.
•NO SICKNESS or Muscle Pain - Everyone in our group was at some point stricken with diarrhea or vomiting. As I mentioned in the last post we only experienced mild headaches, the odd nosebleed and breathlessness.
•I have saved the best for last – Machu Pichu. After 4 days of walking, to see an ancient city built with all its intricacies literally in the middle of no-where is mind blowing and worth any pain one may have experienced to witness this wonder of the world with one’s own eyes….Now we must think of a new holiday itinerary for our next big trip…. to see the remaining wonders of the world.
Lastly, everyone in our trekking group knows the name Ann Kalapge. We were asked by various people along the way ´¨What made you decide to do this?¨ And each person heard the story of how our friend Ann suggested we do it and after little thought we went ahead and booked it. Thank YOU again Ann, we are exactly where we should be in the world thanks to you xo
The Amazon Basin
After 4 days of sleeping in tents we had one day to clean up in our hotel, sleep soundly in a real bed and then take off for some relaxation time in the Rainforest. We left the chill of Cusco and after a short flight arrived in Puerto Maldonado to heat and humidity we could only expect in Thailand which was a welcome relief from the cold. After a bumpy ride down a dirt road and 3 hours by boat up the river we arrived at our Eco Lodge. A few highlights from our short stay in the Amazon were;
•Seeing Monkeys, Vultures, Turtles, Macaw´s, Tarantulas, Lizards and Stick Insects in their natural habitat and seeing animals we had never heard of like the world’s largest rodent, Capibara´s and also Caimains which are from the same family as Alligators.
•Feeding the friendly Piranhas
•Having our faces painted with henna, only to then have difficulty washing it off
•Swinging from vines like Tarzan
•Lazy lunches followed by a few coffees and enjoying the wildlife surrounding our lodge
•The night walk looking for creepy crawlies
•Eating freshly shelled Brazil Nuts followed by an afternoon snooze in our hammock
•No electricity and only candlelight in our room and bathroom
•An unwelcomed visitor scurrying across Laurens head during the night, it was probably a bamboo rat but will forever remain a mystery.
The lifelong dream of venturing into the Amazon is now complete.