The magical Sacred Valley: tourism is alive and thumping in Peru
13.10.2009 - 23.10.2009 16 °C
Well, it's been a while since I wrote a blog entry and you'll realize why by the end of this chapter.
We picked up Chris in Lima and I was so excited to see him. I had really been missing him in the last few months and the anticipation for his arrival long. We headed straight to amazing Cuzco on a hour flight.
It was nice to avoid a 22 hour hellish bus ride and Cuzco was not as cold as I had expected. We spent 4 days at a homestay getting to know Cuzco, acclimatizing, preparing for our monumental trek and of course seeing the sights. Cuzco is the tourist capital and rightly so, although it's pretty, the vendors are relentless and everywhere. The Sacred Valley near Cuzco was amazing with Incan ruins that cascaded down hillsides such as Ollantaytambo and Pisac.
Preparing for the Salkantay hike seemed unending as we had already shopped in Lima and were now still buying odds and ends. I would later find out that it was not nearly as cold as we had imagined although you have to be prepared for the most unexpected weather.
Five thirty am on the day of our trek and we are loaded into a bus for the first leg of the trip. Although it was suppose to be one of the hardest days of trekking we had some extra time on the bus due to pack horse issues. Our first day would be fun but not arduous. The group of 14 where from NZ, England,Netherlands, States, Austria and Canada. They were all lots of fun and easy to get along with. Our guides Edwin and Agosto were also really awesome and I was glad to have signed up with a reputable company. The kids were doing fantastic considering the long days and altitude. The pack horses carried most of our gear except for day packs with change of season clothes, water and any items needed during the day. Unfortunately I had to carry all of the kids gear as well which left me with a rather heavy pack.
Chris was unusually self involved and had no room to help me as he lugged his new expensive lightweight gear.
The views on the trek were incredible and we all enjoyed the company of fellow trekkers and the staff that cooked, cleaned, and set up camp. I want to go back to Canada and camp this way. Just hike and be served!
At the end of day three we spent a couple of hours in a beautiful hot pool in the mountains. It was just what our tired feet needed. And Ariel and Jordan appreciated being let loose to play rather than focus on hiking and staying calm in the adult environment of the trek.
Day four was grueling but ended early as we had lunch and waited for a train to the tourist town of Aguas Calientes. There we would all have our last super, sleep in a hotel, then wake up exceptionally early to be the first in line at Machu Picchu. We had a couple of drinks at the restaurant and did not get in bed until 10pm. Big mistake when you have to be up at 3:30am for breakfast and a rainy hike to the top.
We watched the clouds dissipate over Machu Picchu and it was extraordinary, breathtaking really. It was a peak into a mysterious past. Ariel said this was the highlight of her trip so far. I wished we hadn't been so tired or I would have investigated each building a little more closely. Our train for Cuzco didn't leave until late and was also rerouted, what tired weiry souls we were.
Although it was nice to be back in Cuzco we had major laundry and reorganizing to do for our next trip to Arequipa where El Misti, a very high massive extinct volcano waited for Chris. He was increasingly moody and when pressed decided this was a good time to break up with me. He also disclosed that he had help from someone in Canada with this decision. Apparently, he was sick and tired of Little Miss Independence and her travels and prefers another who doesn't have money for travels, the responsibility of children, house or career.
Unfortunately for me, I was truly crushed having finally decided I would make some sort of commitment upon returning home. Then again it's better to find out who you are dealing with before selling or buying a house. Adios Dude. Funny I always seem to manage well without men.
I was quite melancholy for a while and it was difficult to write this blog. I kept hoping for an email saying "I temporarily lost my mind, please forgive me".
But of course that won't happen and I would not forgive anyway.
I picked up the kids and headed to fascinating Bolivia with it's very traditional people especially woman. I have included pictures with this segment because of a weak internet connection. I will try to post the wonderful pictures of Peru in the next week.