Finally in dry shoes!
04.10.2013 - 11.10.2013 10 °C
It's been an eventful week since Ollayantambo. The lares trek lasted three days and was exhausting. We started off at some hot spring which looked more like swimming pools and were not very clean so none of the group went in. Wile the porters cooked us our first lunch, we went for a walk in a big zig zag up a hill. Lunch was soup, omelette and coca tea before we started walking and the heavens opened. Luckily we had our trusty ponchos which made us look like human condoms with the hoods up. The walk was not easy . It was cold, high altitude walking on a smAll rocky muddy pathway on the side of a mountain, and our guide stopped to talk painfully slowly about coca leaves and various other pointless things. I found myself struggling to keep up and morale was getting low in the group as we worked our way up through the long cold track. There were no toilets and no coverage so the poncho had to double as a tent to cover me peeing in the bushes. At base camp, we were given bowls of hot water to wash with and my feet burned when they were finally submerged. We got set up in our sleeping backs with our travel pillows and headtorches, then went for dinner with the group in a big tent before using the squat toilet abut a mile away and then going to bed. That first day we had walked for four and a half hours in the cold relentless rain with no chatting, no joking and a general sense of misery.
Things looked a bit brighter in the morning when we set off for the longest day of the trek. We put on our cold wet shoes, ate breakfast and headed off in the sunshine with a forced smile fixed on all of our faces. This did not last long. The sunshine clearly had better places to be, and throughout the day the weather got worse and worse. We spent seven and a half hours trekking uphill in hail, rain, and wind with mud rushing downhill over our feet. Our walking sticks sunk into the mud, our clothes were saturated and our fingers burnt with the cold. My toes were like ice and there was nothing enjoyable about this day. It was simply miserable, and the worst part was knowing that we still had hours to go in sopping clothes. Again, we re ached base camp, set up our sleeping bags and got changed, and luckily enough the rain started to tire out as we reached camp. We met two Andean children, and gave them a recorder and some bananas which they seemed quite happy with. There was however a horrible surprise to come. Fist I have to explain that we were told we would have a working flushing normal toilet on day two. I was looking forward to that all day as I battled the elements because it was a touch of normality and a little home comfort. As we arrived at camp I was told I had to wait for the toilet as it was being set up. My hopes were dashed and I was filled with a burning rage that I had been led on all this time, and I saw two porters setting up a toilet tent which could blow over I a light breeze. The toilet was a stool with a hole in the top, over a bin liner. Words cannot describe how furious I was because by this point I think I was just cracked! So later on when dinner started fighting its way out of me, I couldn't bring myself to use the sewidge back, and instead wandered over into a sheep pen with my bin liner shoes on over my socks. It was not a great day.
Third day lucky! We woke up and it wasn't raining for a start. Then, we had pancakes at breakfast and a cake made by the chefs to celebrate the trek. We put on our damp clothes and soaking shoes with a little bit of excitement knowing at today was the last day and it was all downhill. The walk was four hours long but less strenuous, and today we went with the assistant guide so we had more time to take in the view which was very pretty. We had snow capped mountains around us and the path was surrounded by trees and a lake. We actually stopped at one point where our guide showed us a small stream and a few if us climbed trees there- that was a nice little break. It didn't take that long to reach the end, and I think we all felt relieved and proud that we had managed to finish. We ate lunch with cockerels and dogs around us, and played football with the porters. After lunch we gave our tips (which we had been advised on before). Our guide told us how to split it up but we did it our own way, giving each of the guides their own envelope and one for the porters and chefs because it was difficult to distinguish who did what, and everybody was out in the cold. We found out later that the chefs took a larger portion which we were quite annoyed about. All in all, the trek was ok, but I wouldn't do it again. It seemed a bit like walking through a loads of hills and mountains with no real destination and it was really hard work.
We took the train back to maccupiccu village where we checked into our hotel and had a nice hot shower. We instantly felt better. Then we went to a restaurant called India Feliz for dinner which was strange. I ordered a vegetable omelette with garden vegetables, and it came as an omelette with watermelon, rockmelon, cauliflower, a whole lime in wedges and a few other strange fruits and veg that typically don't go with omelette. It was good to be back with the some of group again and we had a laugh before getting an early night.
On the day of Maccu Piccu we had to get up at four for the bus. We met downstairs all looking a bit tired and some people tried to force down some breakfast (I stuck with herbal tea an a spoonful of yoghurt) and we were ready to go. We walked in the dark to the bus stop and got on a little bus which took us thirty minutes to the entrance. Our guide was very adamant that we should try to get inside before the other tourists so we raced into the line and power walked up the endless stairs to a viewing point on a big stone. She told Brad and I to stand there for a picture, and she went round the back of us with our friend. I remember thinking that he could have waited for his picture but when I looked round they were holding up a banner saying 'marry me Kirsty'. He was obviously really nervous because his voice went all wobbly as he got down on one knee and gave me a speech and asked me to marry him. I was speechless! He put the ring on my finger without waiting for me to say yes which is a good job because I couldn't get my words out anyway. I nodded and gave him the thumbs up and now we are engaged! We both were crying and hugged and luckily we have it all on video . Since then, we have not been up to much. I have been enjoying a couple of free days in Cuzco, Brad tried guinea pig for the first time and we went on a night out to celebrate which was loads of fun but ended in an awful hangover. That takes us up to now.Our group is sitting in a broken down night us waiting to be rescued on our way to our next destination. Wish me luck...