'For Adventures of a lifetime'

Sunday, 31 July 2011


It’s been a while since I have done a blog so white water rafting was definitely the blog to write before I leave PERU!

As it is coming to the end of the trip it was really great to do something exhilarating as a group together for the last time as from here on all we have to do is pack and then we are on our way home (Ed. Yeah but that may take a few days) .

We were all ready with our swimsuits and flip flops to go at 8am, which was considered a lie in compared to the ridiculously early starts on trek may I add. After waiting for a while the coach arrived to pick us up along with our rafting guides and we enjoyed the break that an hour and a half drive to the river spot provided us as we all sang to songs we all knew or in Avneesh and I’s case a short nap as well.

When we arrived we got dressed into the most stupid looking outfit I definitely have ever worn, and I have worn some stupid looking stuff in my time, (Ed. Ye trekking clothes wern’t that bad ;-)) with a wetsuit, shorts, jacket AND life jacket... which was very compressing for a few of us if you catch my drift! Once the embarrassing photos were taken we had a short lesson on ’how to raft’ and were shafted into the water straight away.

Being adventurous, Anya and I decided we would sit in the front of the boat... still trying to decide whether that was a smart idea :P It soon became clear we both had issues with co-ordination and soon ended up in a heated argument about who was worse... IT WAS ANYA... my reasoning for this is that she couldn’t tell left from right where as I on the other hand could not hear the command of which side we were supposed to go but anyway we still are friends and to be honest it was pretty funny ;)

The water was the coldest thing EVER but rafting was soooooo fun with lots of incidents on our boat alone as ‘jamleft’ translated to ‘jump out of the boat to the left’ for Fuzz and Sameera and ‘jump to the front’ meant in the middle of a rapid we were all drenched to the tee in ice cold water as our rafting guide continued to add weight to the front so we got even more wet -_- I’m telling you now it was even colder than the outside pool in uxbridge and that’s cold! We did it three times, our bodies were NUMB! I realise how this sounds but it was the best thing ever and I really want to do it again :D (Ed. strange girl! ;-))

After rafting for 3 hours we reached the end and had lunch, which was really tasty by the way, and got dried and dressed ready to go back to the hostel. Yet again on the journey back everyone was singing and yes, Avneesh and I fell asleep again as well which came to the result of me getting sunburnt -_- typical this whole trip I don’t get burnt and on the last few days I do, oh well!

For dinner we went out to a nice cafe where the food was amazing and we all got pancakes for dessert! ;-) (Ed. yes I was very happy too but we must not forget that little voice on our shoulder ;-)) After dinner some of us went out but the majority of us, me included, went to bed excited for our lie in the next day.

So that was today pretty much and tomorrow is filled with packing and probably the excitement of going home!

See you all soon, only a few more days ;-)

Written by: Roisin

Just another day visiting a Wonder of the World

Well today was the day I have to say I was most looking forward to on the whole trip so to be told last night that someone had made a mistake and booked the train tickets for 10:55 this morning instead of 2ish this afternoon and that because of this we would only have 3 hours maximum at Machu Picchu without being able to go up Wayna Picchu was absolutely crushing for everyone and after a bitter night’s sleep and a 4:30 wake up the still grumpy team set off for the experience of a life time. Agua Calientes was bustling even in the blackness of the morning and it was a good 15 minute queue for the bus ride to the 'Lost city of the Incas'. The bus journey itself was 20 minutes of staggering views (closely resembling scenes from the film Avatar). As the bus made its final accent, hairs on the backs of necks stood on end and the energy levels rose to bursting point so much so that hands had to be held and bottle lids chewed so as to release the energy in smaller quantities and not have 13 teenage girls flapping and squawking around the confined area in the bus.

On arrival, a further 15 minute queue was necessary and the popularity of the site became apparent. When we were finally all in, our guide Freddy took us to the starting place of our tour which was right next to the line dividing the urban half of Machu Picchu from the agricultural half (slap bang in the middle). As we walked to this spot, the enormity of what we were experiencing really hit home. For many of the party, this was our first wonder of the world and I tell you now, it did not fail to impress. The white granite walls were massive although the stones used were not as large as they had been at Saqsaywaman and the knowledge that the last Incan activity to be carried out here was probably over 500 years ago didn't diminish the feeling of vitality or the energy flow from the ancient constructions.

Freddy's knowledge of the area was outstanding and we were so blown over by the amount of information that we failed to ask enough questions (it got to the point where Freddy even said that he'd pay the next person to ask a question!). What really shocked me personally was how clever and modern the Incas seemed to be. They wore very similar clothes to what we do now: shirts, trousers, jackets etc. and their architectural and engineering abilities far exceeded anything known at the same time. The question has even been raised if the Incas and pre-Incas were able to fly as many of the cities and sites (e.g. the Nasca lines) are only truly visible from the air. Freddy continued the tour through the temples of the city explaining that in its day, the city which was home to around 500 noble Incans, was probably a huge pilgrimage site.

After the tour was finished we rushed to the lone building at the highest point in the city to take the famous postcard picture. By this time, we were already running late for the train and so (far too soon) we had to make our way back to the bus where we were split up into two groups on different buses. At this point in time, we were meant to be boarding the train to Ollantaytambo. So we were very late. When we got to the hostel to collect our bags, the train was due to leave and after a speedy walk/run to the train station, we just about caught the train.

The train itself had glass windows in the roof so we could see everything as it went by. The views were truly stunning and the scenery swiftly changed from the deep jungle to the more arid Peru we are so used to. After a 1 hour 45 minute bus journey from Ollantaytambo back to Cusco, we were given some free time to further explore Cusco. An Italian dinner filled us up far sooner than expected and now we are back at the beloved Wayki trek hostel.

Sorry I couldn't write more about it but Cliff is complaining that he is falling asleep waiting for me to finish. grrrrrrr. (Ed. I WAS ASLEEP!!!!!  )

Happy Birthdays for Anya's dad and Mrs D's husband!! (Ed. sorry for the delay getting this to you guys )

Written by Lucy

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Salkantay Trek Day 4

We did it!!!! 

We're in Agua's Caliente (Hot Water)....a small touristy town near Machu Picchu.  Todays trek was realitively short but in the sun was quite demanding.

Our first task was crossing the river via a manual cable car...ok it was a simple box that the locals use to bring thier shopping over in...but VERY effective....The girls loved it!...A brief stop made next to an idyllic waterfall and then the slog up the hill in the mid-day sun to the Hydro electric plant where we were to get the train to Agua's Caliente.

At the hostel everyone enjoyed their first shower in 4 days....might have been even longer for some
 ;-)....even if the water was only tepid!!!  Then out for Evening meal and to make plans for...what we've all been waiting for....MACHU PICCHU!!!!!!!

The photos below show the journey taken today ....

Cliff :-)....Not long now parents!!!! 

Salkantay Trek Day 3

Today we woke up bright and early again at 6 to an amazing breakfast. Most of us have never eaten cake in the morning so it was a real treat when a yummy Victoria sponge cake with sweet creamy icing and chocolate icing was brought to the food tent :D We also had chocolate porridge!!!!

Afterwards we set off from Sawayaco down the mountain and Freddie kindly took pictures of us on this wooden bridge with a beautiful river in the background. The views were, as always incredible but what I loved the most was how the sun slowly lights up all the exotic plants and trees. It felt like we were in the jungle because of all the greenery and the birds singing.

After we had been trekking for some time we stopped for a nice long break. Rox told us more about the Incas and then we went round the group and everyone asked Freddie a question about the Incas. I think everyone found that really interesting :-)

We kept going and going and everyone was soooo happy when we made it to lunch because that was all the walking we would have to do for the day. Yay! Then when all our stomachs were content we hopped onto a bus to St. Teresa where we set up camp.  (Ed. You forgot to mention some of the interesting creatures, plants and people we met on the way Jess :-))

When all the tents were up we went to the hot springs in Cocalmayo which was very different to the last springs we went to, the water was surrounded by the mountain and lots of rocks instead of being swimming pool like. It was great after a long hard days work. (Ed. I would just like to point out at this stage my job is very demanding....putting up with that hot water while looking up at the stars and spotting the odd bat flying around was very strenuous ;-), look some one has to do it!!!! ) 

Right now it’s only 9:30 yet most people are ready for bed. However, the camp is alive with music and I think drifting off to the beat is going to be difficult!

Good night!


Salkantay Trek Day 2

As I have been volunteered (Ed. Tell the truth Mrs D I made you :-)) for todays blog it is most definitely being done earlier in the evening.

After a very cold night we were woken at 6 o’clock,imagine our surprise that it was with a cup of “tea”,mind you they had to do something to get us moving as we were to packed ready to go before breakfast at 6.45!!!!

Again an amazing meal (omelette and cheese, bread and jam,”sugar puffs” and yoghurt)

So it was a well stoked up team heading off to make our challenging ascent to 4625m we all made it even if it was at well spaced out timings. After many photos showing the amazing scenery we continued across the pass and our descent it seemed a long way to lunch time !!!! We had this at a small “homestead” so there were chickens and small dogs wandering around (which freaked one challenger when she realised 1 small dog had been sitting under the table)

As you can imagine there are no toilets on the trail so it has times been amusing watching the girls disappearing off behind the rocks others on guard.

ROXCOOL Pose from the Group :-)

After a delicious lunch (during the trek we are being cooked for which is a real treat) we continued our descent to tonight’s campsite. Some of us found this quite challenging as the terrain can be loose and rocky but we all completed it without incident.

I have determined that Cliff is the hare and I am the tortoise. His role is to keep an eye on the speedy ones and mine is to encourage those in the “back pack”.

Happy Hour soon , last night this consisted of popcorn/crackers and jam/hot drinks all this before dinner!!!!!!!

The first 2 days of the trek were supposed to be the toughest(I hope so today was a long day) but you will all be pleased to know no adverse reactions to altitude .

Mrs Douglas

Salkantay trek day 1

Well here I am lying in my tent at 4,300m having completed day one of the trek. The time is 2100.

We have just finished our evening meal, returned to our tents and there is not a sound coming from the girls tents, including Mrs Douglas’s.

The day has not gone without incident as you are about to read.

It all started first thing......well actually it started through the night with one of the girls having a bout of throwing up and diarrhoea due to a dodgy burger the evening before. This was exasperated when she (you will find out later who this person is) collapsed in the toilet when trying to get ready.....doubt immediately entered my head as to whether she would be able to go on the trek...the next thing I know she is up, ready and definitely not going to miss out on this wonderful experience.

The journey to the start of our trek took approximately 4 hours stopping in a small village for refreshments and use of a toilet....Following this stop we then began the off-road section along a very winding road with extreme drops until we reached the start where our mule’s and mule men were waiting.

Shortly after leaving on the trek (5 mins) we noticed that one of the girls was missing when along she came on our emergency Mules, suffering with chronic stomach cramps...later I find out she had not been to the toilet for 3 days hence the stomach cramps....probably helped along by the previous nights Indian curry. The girl who had been ill earlier also rode a mule for some of the day but was determined to walk the majority....a valiant effort!

The actual trek today wasn’t too bad ascending approximately 500m total. However, the views today of Salkantay mountain (we’re camped here at the foot of it) were breathtaking.

Food today has been excellent and worthy of a chicken with mash potatoes and veg for lunch and trout followed by hot strawberries and cream for dinner!!! Mmmmmmm yummy!

Our two guides Freddy and Rox have also been good today showing genuine concern for the girls and a sense of humour to boot!

Lets hope the girls are all ok tomorrow....more ascent followed by Inca flat (up and down)

Written by Me!
Like me new hat???  :-)