We met our group at 7.30, they seemed really nice a couple from Ireland, 2 girls from Ireland and a girl from New Zealand. We also had with us 2 guys from Scotland and England they wouldn't be doing the walk with us as only 500 people at a time can do the walk and unfortunately they didn't get a space but they would be spending today and the day of Machu Pichu with us and doing a slightly different walk in the meantime. We met our guide, a perivian called Alex. We got into the mini bus and went up a hill, that looked over the whole of Cusco. There was a Jesus Christ looking over the city, apparently it's less than 1/5 the size of Christ the Redeemer in Rio. We stopped and took some photos the guide gave us some history of Cusco. He is really good at telling stories!
Afterwards we went to the sacred valley and stopped at a Village where we met some local ladies. It was the Ccaccaccollo community, where the local ladies weave and dye wool into souvenirs and garments for travellers. We were shown around by Dolly, a little lady who was just 25 years old she looked like she was 40. First we met the animals (Llamas, Alpacas ans Sheep) and fed them, I even get a selfie with a baby llama. The llamas are scary and I was scared to get too close so just basically chucked the grass at them. We then saw how they washed the wool and dyed it using a potato for the shampoo and then all natural plants and insects to dye the wool. Afterwards we watched the ladies make wool balls and then weave and sew/knit it into things such as scarfs, hats, gloves and socks. It was amazing to see the whole process and how these woman work without the use of any modern technology. As I still had a dogey tummy they gave me some herbal
Tea called 'Muna' apparently it's good for fighting stomach illnesses, cramps and stomach acidity. It tasted disgusting like I was just sucking on some plant and didn't clear up my stomach but I politely drank it and 'accidently' spilt a little when no one was watching.
It was such a great experience and amazing that people still live like this.
We had some lunch in a village that is home to only 65 families. It is sponsored by G adventures tour company, it was really yummy lots of fresh food and we learnt how they make food from the farm to the table.
In the afternoon we went to see our first inca site 'Pisac Ruins' it was so big, I can't imagine what Machu Piccu is going to be like. It is sitting in sweeping green valleys and mountain peaks. Alex gave us lots of information and we went for a little hike. It was an inca site on a hilltop in the citadel of Pisac. Climbing up was a small taste of the inca trail to come. So many people were out of breath and we bumped into the two annoying Americans with bright pink jackets, headbands on and had hired walking poles even though neither on them had them on the ground,
Obviously still unsure how to use them.
We headed to our hotel in Ollantayambo, it was a cute little village and we were put up on a nice hotel. It was lovely and it sounds so sad but I was thrilled there was wifi as I would be able to skype my sister tomorrow as it is her 21st. The room was lovely and now I would be sharing with Hannah. It was a lovely town and full of tourists about to embark on their treks and home to another inca site, and it was here we learn how the Incas made these sites to protect themselves from the Spanish. In the evening we went to a restaurant with the two guys from our group and met the rest of the group there. An Irish girl called Maive came and she is absolutely lovely, unfortunately her friend has a sickness bug and has had to pull out inca trail too. We had some dinner and a few beers and watched Cope America.
One of the guys was a GP so we had a bit of medical chat and chatted about Sophie agreeing she was now in the best place recovering even though it was annoying for her. At 9pm we were exhausted it had been a long first day so Hannah and I took
Advantage of the early night and comfy beds and went to sleep.
We at woke at 7, I had a quick breakfast so I could skype my sister as it was her 21st. I felt a bit homesick as it was pouring outside and damp and I was missing her birthday. My family was having some drinks for her birthdays, in fact the prosecco bottle popped whilst I was skyping. But before I had too long to dwell we were about to start the trek. It's such an amazing opportunity that I wanted to make the most of every second. We had to get our waterproofs on and ponchos as it was chucking it down. First time in 3 weeks we have had bad weather and not a nice blue sky. We met out porters, I find it so embarrassing as there is like 14 porters to us 6 doing the trek carrying all our food, tents and sleeping stuff. Tomorrow afternoon we get a chance to get to know them all and them us - which will be fun and cute.
We then set off, within about 5 minutes I was like why o why did I put myself through this again was Everest Basecamp and the London Marathon not enough? but at least this time there is an amazing ending rather than it just being over. Well that's what I keep telling myself. So there first 3 hours was Perivian Flat, which means up and down but it wasn't too hard. We were given a snack bag but you had to ration yourself as it was for all the 4 days so I had a banana and a biscuit at break time - lucky me. We continued for another 2 hours before it was lunch time when we got to stop. The porters who carry 25kg each clapped us in and then had set up a tent like a dining room and were cooking. It was truly amazing with the backdrop of the scared valley and the rainforest. The weather had cleared up and now the sun was shining. We had asparagus soup followed by Rainbow Trout (which I was dreading as I hate fishy fish) but it came in a lime/parsley sauce and I have to say it was delicious!
After lunch, I was dreading the next bit as it was 2 hours up but I chatted to the other members and the time passed it was hard work though. Kate the girl from New Zealand is ever so loud, has a story for everything sometimes you just need some thinking time. Tomorrow we have a 1200m elevation and I am already dreading it and maybe it is best we keep talking.
We finally reached camp at 16.30, I was grateful as I was damp from the rain and sweat yummy! It was the cope america final, we were literally on the Middle of a field and about ten minutes before we passed a shack or 'shop' as the locals call it with a pig and donkey outside, our guide took us back here to watch the final. It was so funny, we with all the porters gathered inside with a beer to watch on the TV which was so fuzzy as we are miles away from civilisation. It was all a bit surreal watching Chile win in a shack up the inca trail.
Afterwards we headed back to camp where all our tents had been put up with thin mattress and tea was on the table. The porter men work extremely hard, it's like being at a restaurant. We had chicken rice soup followed by chicken and a roast potato - it was yummy and the carrots were even cut into flowers. Some of the porters are trained at catering school in Cusco and the porter aspect is just a side job.
We went to bed at 8pm, everyone was shattered. Today we walked 11km. The toilet was a tiny hut in the middle of the field, it was pitch black so we went with our torches as a team. We call ourselves team banos, Spanish for toilet. The toilet was a squat apparently this is it from now on, you have to really concentrate not to get it on your leg!
We washed out teeth in the field and the snuggled into the sleeping bag. I had to put my ear plugs in as all I could hear was several stories from Kate, I hope Maeve manages to get some sleep.