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The View from 4,000 Meters above sea level

Lake Titicaca & Inca Trail

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View Gary & Vicki Ponder-Payne tour 2008 on GPonder76's travel map.

Hola!

We are proud to say that we have successfully completed the 45 KM section of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. We arrived back in Cuzco last night and we were both thoroughly shattered and could harldy walk another step. The trail was tough in places (especially day 2 - a four hour steep climb from 2,700m to 4,200m to a place called Dead Woman´s Pass) but amazing views of snow capped mountains, valleys and Inca ruins. On our last day of hiking we had to get up at 3:50am to run the last 5km to Machu Picchu which was stunning!
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The journey through Peru has been an experience!!! When we first landed in Lima we jumped in a taxi to go to our hotel. As we drove through the streets of Lima it looked like a very rough place, the taxi driver then took a turn down a very dark and narrow side street and I was sure we were about to be robbed (but don´t worry, he was just taking a short cut). We did get to our hotel safely without any problems, but when we checked in we were less than impressed with the standard. We had a hole in the wall which was covered by a thin sheet of hard board and the bathroom stank of ciggarettes and bleach. We spent one night there in our sleeping bags and were glad to leave early the next day. The flight from Lima to Juliacas was also eventful as we had an aborted landing right at the very last second (no idea why - they didn´t tell us anything, or even say sorry!).

Once we go to Puno the standard of the hotel had greatly improved. However the altitude took a bit of getting used to, we felt like a pair of 80 year olds as we were out of breath walking up one flight of stairs. We had a good time in Puno and had some nice meals with our new group before we headed off to Lake Titicaca (Which if you pronounce wrong the locals will interpret as ´lake Puma Poo´.

On Lake Puma Poo we visited Taquille island where we climed to the top for a fresh trout lunch and a cup of coca tea, all for 3GBP. Then decended down the 500 steps back to our boat, form here we had a very rough crossing to Amanti island where we and the rest of our group split up and each spent the night with a local Peruvian family. Our Mama (Rebecca) and Papa (David) cooked us dinner and then dressed us up in traditional costume and took us dancing (very energetic, for a couple of 80 year olds!).

We retuned to Puno and then took a local bus from Puno to Cuzco. This was also an experience. Vicki & I were pleased at first when we got the front seats but quickly learned that ignorance is bliss. It was a white knuckle ride through the towns of Puno & Juliacas, then on the long straight road to Cuzco we managed to run over a sheep and and had vey near misses with cows, stray dogs, lorries, tuk tuks, and even some local farmers. Our guide had some harsh words for the driver in Spanish and although I didn´t understand what he was saying, I knew what he was saying!

Cuzco is a great city, We spent one night here and went to a lovely restaurant where Gary ordered Cuy (Guinea Pig) which was quite disgusting. Vicki had chicken, the safe option.

The next day we set off to the Sacred Valley and Ollantaytambo, two fantastic Inca stites which marked the start of our Inca Trail.

We are back in Cuzco today and we have a free day to have a wander around the city. Tonight we have a BBQ (but Gary won´t be digging on any more Cuy) and tomorrow we fly back down to sea level to spend a few days canoeing and trekking along the Amazon.

Hope all is well back home. We miss you all and we would love to hear from you.

Gary & Vicki
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Posted by GPonder76 08:41 Archived in Peru Tagged foot

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