Friday, November 18, 2011

The Inca Trail

So the Inca Trail was amazing...a really really beautiful walk, not too difficult and well worth the effort.  The walk goes through arid grazing lands through to thick, humid jungle... On the first day though, we had to wait for 3 hours for one of the porters to turn up, he was too drunk to come to work and called in sick- but apparently if someone on the list doesn't turn up then the whole group can't walk the luckily he decided to turn up in the end or we would have missed out :(

The breakdown was 4 days of walking, 3 nights of camping, ending up at Machu Picchu.  The first day was very easy, only a couple of hours of walking before setting up camp. The second day is the most challenging as there is a very very steep hill which is steps, going up to 4,200 metres, so the altitude is the real killer- I walked up sat there for a minute and then headed back down to the camp site... Our group was apparently one of the fastest, the 3 Canadian boys did it in about 3 hours, and arrived at camp around 10.30am... Sam waited for me but we still made it down by about 11.30am.... the slowest person got in around 2pm... so basically the best thing is to go at your own pace, stop when you need to and don't let your boyfriend run away with the damn coca leaves!!!

The third day of the walk was my favourite, it was incredibly beautiful, the scenery just takes your breath away, and there are a lot of ruins along the way so it's interesting from an historical perspective as well.  We ran down the stairs at porter pace which was exhilarating, there were just sooooo many stairs!!!

Our group was super super keen to be the first people at the Sun Gate on the fourth morning, so we got up at 2.30am and went and camped down at the entrance to the park at 3.30am- the gates don't open until 5.30 so we played music and cards and the boys drank rum in anticipation!!! When we were finally let through, we all actually ran the whole way and were the first people to the sun gate- it was only about 3km but we all were pretty red-faced by the time we made it which was hilarious...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Our Tucan Adventure- Lake Titicaca

We left La Paz and joined a group tour, which we will stay on for a while now, it's called the Tucan 'Inti Express'... the rest of the group had been together for about 3 weeks since Rio, but we are getting along with everyone really well, so it's been pretty fun, except for the fact that everyone seems to be sick, getting sick or was just sick- blame it on the Bolivian water or something.... I was lucky and only had it for 24 hours, but sam was ill for at least a week so he missed out on a fair bit of the Lake Titicaca adventure because he was in bed :(

Anyway, so the Tucan tour is a bit different from the Gap one we did in patagonia, because we drive around in a big yellow bus between towns! its pretty hilarious- on our first morning driving from La Paz to Puno we stopped for lunch on the side of the road, where there were a bunch of people dressed up making either a film clip or an ad or something so we watched the action and tried out our horrible spanish chatting with them, which was funny!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

La Paz, Bolivia

After our unexpected visit to Iquique, we ended up having to buy plane tickets to La Paz, so including the replacement plane tickets we had to buy from Santiago, we had a very expensive couple of days, so it was great to finally arrive in La Paz.  Of course, the first thing that happened was that we got scammed by a taxi driver! Grrr... I had agreed to a price of 50 Bolivianos, which was the going rate, but after we got in the taxi, and he locked our bags in the trunk and started driving, he told us that it was actually going to be 50 Bolivianos each!! What a jerk... he also drove like a maniac, so it was nice to get out of the taxi and settle into our hostel.  It was really cool, with murals everywhere, and we had a huge room with a balcony and bathroom so it was perfect for our 3 nights in La Paz. As we were walking to the front door (puffing like crazy because of the altitude), our friend Mark who Sam had gone for the polar bear dip in Patagonia with, happened to stick his head out of the window- his room was right next to ours!  The next day we wandered around the city and walked up to a view point where you could see for kilometres.  The view was crazy, as La Paz is in a valley, and the houses go forever.  We really enjoyed wandering around, and taking in the atmosphere of the city, and finally eating some good food!!  On our 3rd day, we did the 'most dangerous road' bike ride with a company called Gravity Downhill, which was superb- I would recommend doing this if you ever get the chance, the scenery is incredible- the mountains are so steep its crazy to think that it was an actually highway not that long ago.  We also did a flying fox over the valley after lunch at a wildlife sanctuary (which was a bit of a disappointment, and not at all like it had been described unfortunately).