Immersed in Hot Waters (Agua Calientes)

August 27, 2016

MIMG_1730achu Picchu Diary 10 July 2016
Our day has ended with dinner together. Trout again. The group split up today. Many climbed Huayan Picchu (that tall spike which is the familiar backdrop to the Machu Picchu site), but five of us begged off for various reasons. Kavitha and I woke early and got out into the town at 0700 after a brief breakfast and awful coffee downstairs. It was a very cool 7 degrees around town so we settled for a café in the main street until the day warmed up. We had an omelette while we waited, and a very welcome latte. Read more

First Stuff Your Llama

August 19, 2016

IMG_1411Machu Picchu Diary

9 July 16

The stuffed llama standing on the terrace above me is a disappointment. “How does a UNESCO World heritage site stoop so low?” I wonder. Its stiff silhouette stares down at me for what seems ages as I make my way to the highest point we can find. Then the damn thing blinks and stalks off in that high stepping, insouciant way the llama does. Not so stuffed after all. Maybe it heard my uncomplimentary thoughts and has moved off in a huff.    Read more

Zip Line

August 13, 2016

IMG_1303Machu Picchu Diary
8 July 201

The rain pattered on our tent through the night in that lullaby that nylon and water so often put together. I thought it might herald another wet day but I was awake at 0600 to a clear morning, a droplet decorated tent, the sound of roosters crowing and an agitated dog barking so much he had clearly forgotten what was up his fur. Many of our crew had joined the crowd around the fire last night so were slower off the mark than Henry desired but despite that we got through our breakfast mostly on time. The cheap and abundant tequila had been tempered by the hostel hosts switching everything off at 11pm (much to the relief off those attempting to sleep and, I am sure, the neighbours as well). Despite that restriction on the intake there are clearly some slightly sore heads this morning, and I watch some of them ease out of their tents slowly and carefully, as if deliberate actions somehow make the pain go away. Despite the tequila the clear morning seems to galvanise even the most reluctant starters and one by one they emerge from their nylon caves – though Hamish was early, has his tent packed and is ready to go before most had even woken. Maybe he is the reason the dog is barking! Read more

Pig Under a Mango

August 2, 2016

IMG_0983Machu Picchu Diary

7 July 16

I am conscious next of the sounds of wings flapping and a rooster crowing. It seems like a pretty energetic bird until I realise that it’s Henry prowling our tents clapping his hands and crowing. It is a very good imitation and I can picture a rooster standing on tip-toes, at full stretch, wings beating and at full throttle. I laugh despite the fact that it’s 0530. The day lightens quickly to reveal what was not so clear last evening as we arrived in camp. We are tucked up on a grassy terrace above a deepish gorge, with tall timber all around. Chickens scratch around geraniums and a small tin shed, in which we had our meals (dinner and breakfast). As we have breakfast mules are driven and prepped for other trekkers who are camped elsewhere around the base of this ridge. There are hostels scattered about but we are in our tents, doing it cheap and adventurous. Or so we assure ourselves. But today we are no longer using mules, but are having our gear picked up by a small bus. Either today or tomorrow we have to farewell our mules as they are not allowed near Machu Picchu. So I guess it might as well be today. Read more