The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, Day 3 & 4

Day 3.

Lovely pancake in the morning!!!

Lovely pancake in the morning!!! Perfect start of the day :)


Lovely breakfast once again – a sort of moisty pancake filled with apple and chocolate sause… woooooow. Good start of our third day – the longest trekking day!

We all trekked together in a group, starting with 1 hour of uphill trekking where we visited an archaeological site, Pacaymayo, believed to have been an Inca military fortress used to overlook the valley or a place where the running messengers swapped places.

Pacaymayo - maybe an Inca military fortress .. day 3

Pacaymayo – maybe an Inca military fortress .. day 3

On our way to the top..

On our way to the top of this day..

Finally at the highest point of this day..  just have to walk downstairs now.. day 3

Finally at the highest point of this day.. :) A little chilly!

Matilda, Mia and me above the clouds!

Matilda, Mia and me above the clouds!

Walking down the last big hill!

Walking down the last big hill!

Group picture day 3 :)

Group picture day 3 :)

It was a beautiful day where we passed by a few mountain lakes and archeological sites, Sayacmarca and Phuyupatamarca.

We had lunch on the top of a mountain that was surrounded by clouds, so we couldn’t see what was expecting next.. But walking into the other valley we noticed a change in the climate – more humid and also warmer like a jungle.

Phuyupatamarca, meaning "place of the clouds", because most of the year is surround by big and thick clouds (not so much this day though)

Phuyupatamarca, meaning ”place of the clouds”, because most of the year is surround by big and thick clouds (not so much this day though)

Phuyupatamarca on the other side

Phuyupatamarca on the other side

Our guide is telling us about Sayacmarca, meaning "Inaccessible Town", a name that describes the position of the ruins perfectly as they are protected on three sides by a precipice.

Our guide is telling us about Sayacmarca, meaning ”Inaccessible Town”, a name that describes the position of the ruins perfectly as they are protected on three sides by a precipice.

We have reached the urubamba river that passes by Aguas calientes.. Meaning that we are really close to machu picchu now!

We have reached the urubamba river that passes by Aguas calientes.. Meaning that we are really close to machu picchu now!

Having a break, soon reaching our last camping place just a couple of hours from Machu Picchu :)

Having a break, soon reaching our last camping place just a couple of hours from Machu Picchu :)

We reached our last camping place, “Wiñayhuayna High Jungle camp” above a river valley in late noon and had a small nap before dinner. A couple of hours after sunset we heard the last group arrive, it must be hard to trek in the dark! So glad that we are quite fast ;)

We had our last dinner together, and still as good quality as before – and they even baked a CAKE for us for desert!! I really don’t know how they can do that with this portable gas kitchen thing… so impressed. After dinner we had a small celebration with our portiers, the cook and the guide,  they presented themselves with name and age (the youngest was 36 I think and the oldest 58!).. so cute.. one of them even shed a few tears as we said goodbye. We tipped them and said thank you.

All our portiers, the guide and the cook! So sweet!

All our portiers, the guide and the cook! So sweet!

They have really been amazing… I feel so bad that they work so hard for us, they carry so much on their backs, and don’t even have good backpacks. They are not supposed to carry more then 20 kg, but I think some of them carries a lot more! And they are so quick! They always pass us by running on the trek, because we leave before them, they pack up all the camping equipment, then catch us up, reaches the camp long ahead of us to raise the tents and prepare the food for our arrival… And they have so bad shoes too, and bad backpacks. So impressed.

Also I feel bad that we barely talk to them, they are sort of afraid of us and treat us as we were king and queens.. I wonder how much they earn. I don’t think it’s that much.. I hope it’s more then our tipping! In our pre-meeting the woman from Bamba Experience (the agency) told us that the average tipping is 50 soles total per person but it turned out to be around 140 soles.. Every porter got about a total of 80 soles (30USD), the cook a total of160 soles (60 USD) and 50 soles (20 USD) each to the guide..

Then we had an early night – next morning we were going to wake up 2.50!!


Day 4

We woke up and directly packed our bags and left the camp at 3am to get to the checkpoint-gate before the other groups. The gate reach the Sun Gate with a view over Machu Picchu opens at 5.30 and we were there like 3.15 – the first group in line. There are only seats (benches) for the first three groups, the rest have to stand. Our guide is ALWAYS the first there with his group, haha. When the second group arrives he applauses and says “congratulations to the second place!” haha.

Waiting in line (the first ones) for the last check point to reach Machu Picchu

Waiting in line (the first ones) for the last check point to reach Machu Picchu

Morning day 4, walking the last hour in the dark before reaching the sun gate at sunrise..

Morning day 4, walking the last hour in the dark before reaching the sun gate at sunrise..

After a couple of cold waiting hours in the dark, we finally got our passports and passes checked and we started to trek in the dark. About one hour later, after the gringo-killer-steps, we reached Inti-Punku, the sun gate, just when the sun had gotten up, and we gout our first view over the amazing inca city Machu Picchu. It is situated on a mountain ridge above the Urubamba Valley. Then we had about one more hour before actually reaching Machu Picchu. On our way we passed by a  few other day-trekkers – really fresh with really nice hair and clothes like boots and jeans.. haha.. and all out of breath.. they had only been walking for like 30 minutes, and we have actually been doing it for 4 days… felt quite good actually. Totally worth it.

I mean, the goal was to reach Machu Picchu of course, but I noticed that that itself didn’t matter “that” much anymore– the thing itself was the trek, all the amazing things I’ve experienced along the way.

Our group hiking :) Lucys picture

Our group hiking :) Lucys picture

On the inka trail - reaching Machu Picchu in a couple of minutes!

On the inka trail – reaching Machu Picchu in a couple of minutes!

When we reached Machu Picchu we had to leave our bags in the baggage storage and we also finally had normal bathrooms with a regular toilet instead of a whole in the floor :) Then we entered again and had a guided tour in this enormous and magnificent archeological city. But we were all tired, we had been awake since before 3am and while having the tour we almost fall asleep haha.

Machu Picchu was built around 1450 but abandoned about a century later. Most archeologist belive that it was built as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti. Also they think that it’s a sacred religious site because it’s built on and around mountains that hold high religious importance in the Inca culture.

What’s important with this site is that it wasn’t found by the Spanish conquistors, so it has remained intact. It was rediscovered at 1911 by an American historian (Hiram Bingham). It is often referred as the “Lost City of the Incas”. It has been reconstructed and restored to give an idea about how it originally looked liked. It was declared an UNESCO world heritage site in 1983 and in 2007 Machu Picchu was voted in a worldwide internet poll to become one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

Another classical picture of Machu Picchu

The classical picture of Machu Picchu

Lamas going for a walk in Machu Picchu.

Lamas going for a walk in Machu Picchu.

The house of gards on the top there

The house of gards on the top there


After the guided tour we had a few hours to walk around by ourselves. I picked a big stone with a great view over Machu Picchu and
I sat there meditating for one hour, before it started to get to hot.

I took a few more walks around Machu Picchu. The site is roughly divided into an urban sector and an agricultural sector, as well as the upper town and the lower town. The temples are part of the upper town, the warehouses the lower. There are about 200 buildings on wide pararell terraces.

Meditating with this wonderful view in front of me... breath taking

Meditating with this wonderful view in front of me… breath taking

Sweet lama at Machu Picchu

Sweet lama at Machu Picchu

The residential part of Macchu Picchu

The residential part of Macchu Picchu

Extensive terraces were used for agriculture , and there are stone stairways set in the walls allowed access to the different levels across the site.

Extensive terraces were used for agriculture , and there are stone stairways set in the walls allowed access to the different levels across the site. Also view over the nobel houses.

Let's say I shouted "I'm the queen of the world" when I jumped.

Let’s say I shouted ”I’m the queen of the world” when I jumped.

Around 12.30 I met up with the group at 12 and took the bus down to Aguas Calientes, where we had lunch. While eating it started raining – wow, we have really been lucky with the weather! We waited out the rain and then took the train back to Ollantaytambo, where a bus from the agency where supposed to pick us up, but they didn’t… so we went with another company and weren’t back in Cuzco until around 21.

Great experience!

P.S I used everything in my backpack, so it was worth to bring everything with me!

Annonser

The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, Day 1 & 2

So… time to tell you about the Inca Trail!
It’s 4 days of trekking and about 50 kilometres through the andes. Around 70% of the path is hand-built stone about a thousand years ago. It’s the only trek that take you along the original Inca trail, so you litterally walk in the footsteps of the ancient Incas and also enter Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate instead of the regular entrance of the visitors.

To be honest, I thought this was the only way to visit Machu Picchu at first.. but there are plenty of other treks that goes there and you can also do a day-visit to Machu Picchu. This trek is the most expensive of them all, in our group we all paid different fees, something between 500-650 USD. I paid 500, but it didn’t include any portiers that carries my stuff or hiking poles as it did to some of the others in the group.

Ok so..

Day 1
I got picked up 5.30 in the morning, then we picked up the rest of the group in their hostal, and then we went to Ollantaytambo  where we had a 15 soles breakfast haha. After that we were supposed to leave to Piscacucho/Km 82, but we didn’t have enough portiers. We only had 2, and we needed at least 7. Usually there are portiers waiting here in ollantaytambo… but they didn’t this Saturday morning. The guide told us that sometimes they have been out partying and that they don’t show up in the morning… So we stayed there a couple of hours waiting for porters to show up, but they didn’t..
We started to get slightly irritated since we had booked this over 6 months ago, but they couldn’t book porters even a couple of days before?? Then the guide said that we should go to Km 82 and start preparing lunch (the cook was with us : ) and that they had localized some portieres from Cuzco that would go there directly. So… that meant we actually could have slept until 12 instead of 4… but well well.

We had a delicious lunch, we were all really surprised of the quality of the food, we had a soup as first and pasta as a second, with bread and tea and everything.. and we even had our own table and chairs!!! Amazing.

Lunch at Km 82.. look at all the food and pots they are bringing with them! Crazy and heavy!

Preparing the lunch at Km 82.. look at all the food and pots they are bringing! Crazy and heavy! But the food was delicious!

We didn’t start our trek until 14, instead of around 8 in the morning… so we were a little behind. When we got to the first check point, the guards weren’t’ even there, they where having lunch… so we had to wait another 30 minutes before they got there. Haha. But the guide told us we still would reach the camp in time before darkness – and we actually did just in time!  In the info it said it would take around 6 hours to trek this part, but we did it in around 4 hours, but of course we didn’t have  the lunch break or anything.

The first group picture exactly at the starting point of the Inka Trail!

The first group picture exactly at the starting point of the Inka Trail!

We had to cross the river just in the beginning of the Inka Trail.

We had to cross the river just in the beginning of the Inka Trail.

We passed by a few archeological sites along the way and stunning and really beautiful views. Still it was actually really heavy… I started to think like “why the heck am I doing this for?” And this is what they say, ”and easy start”… we had a little uphill and we were all exhausted afterwords… and the second day is supposed to be the hardest day with over a kilometer just uphill.. this was like 200 metres or less.. haha. We asked the guide if it was going to be this stiff too, and he just laughed and said it was going to be a LOT more stiffer.. haha.

I noticed I’m the one that has the biggest and heaviest backpack  (4 girls have their things carried by portiers, but another couple also carries their stuff, still they have really good light equipment plus they share some stuff)… I didn’t know how I was going to be able to make it tomorrow.. the guide even said I was going to have it really hard and asked if I didn’t want to pay a portier to carry my stuff… but nope. :p

First archeological site

First archeological site we passed by

Our glad portiers passed by us :) Behind you see a snowy mountain

Our glad portiers that passed by us :) One is having a backpack but the other only has an aguayo (the blanket)

The whole group first day of the trek!

The whole group first day of the trek!

When we got to the camp (Called Wayllabamba) I was surprised that it was in a village, I thought it was going to be in the middle of nowhere, so did the rest of the group to, but no… it was a camping site with water, toilets and even a small and expensive store… I think 2 L of water was like 9 soles (I had purification tablets with me, best thing!). Once again we had a greaaaat meal, wow, so surprised. Vegetable soup first and then for second we had rice, fried potato, fish and vegetables.. sooo good… I really thought that I was going to eat like powder soups or something.. but not at all – it’s better then in restaurants!

Having our first course at our first camping site :)

Having our first meal at our first camping site :)

After dinner we all went to bed – dead. It was really cold too, I slept with my union suit, fleece jacket and poncho in my sleeping bag.. and we were only at 2980m altitude….

Day 2
We woke up at 5 in the morning to have breakfast at 5.30 (omelett, cereal, porridge, bread, coffe, tea, hot chocolate…mmmm!) and leave the camp at 6 in the morning.

Getting lighter over the campsite

Getting lighter over the campsite


Today is the most challenging day along the trail! There is around 5 hours of vertical hike to reach the Dead Woman’s pass at a altitude of 4,215 meters. In the beginning of the day our guide pointed the Dead Woman’s Pass out for us, and it seemed soooo damn far away. It didn’t feel possible to reach there even in one day… but apparently it is.
And after we had around a 3 km hike down on stone steps before reaching our camp at Pacaymayo at the high of 3660 metres.. This I did with my around 10 kilos backpack…

The guide is showing us what's ahead of us, you see up there in the V of the mountain, there's like a boob and a womans face.. we have to go up there and then down on the other side..

The guide is showing us what’s ahead of us, you see up there in the V of the mountain, a little bit to the right there’s like a boob and a womans face.. that’s where we are going today and then down on the other side..

Some colorful portiers with quite good equipment passed us by

Some colorful portiers with quite good equipment passed us by

Second day on my way up to dead womans pass!

Second day on my way up to dead womans pass!

It was damn hard, but, easier than I thought it was going to be!  Today we didn’t hike together, but in our own pace. And I found a trick: listen to music! When I don’t hear myself being out of breath then I don’t feel tired either. Also, I listened to regueton which has a great rhythm for walking up hill. I felt happy dancing/trekking/singing and I had a really good pace. I really started to enjoy this –the breath taking hills and the breath taking views… to be this sweaty, tired and happy at the same time. . The guide praised me plenty of times for having a good rhythm even if I was having a big backpack too. I felt great! The way back down took around 2-3 hours.. I think it’s heavier to go downstairs that upstairs, not for the lungs bot for the knees..

Found some llamas along the way

Found some llamas along the way

The beautiful Inca Trail

The beautiful Inca Trail

Finally at the top - made it! Really cold up there though

Finally at the top – made it! Really cold up there though



When we arrived we packed up our things in our tents and had yet another great lunch of course. The afternoon was free and we were all so tired that we went to take a nap first… and then it started to rain. So we were kind of stuck in our own tents, I did a few bracelets and then the rain was over and it was time for dinner. Potato-soup, chard-pie, pasta, chicken curry (for me battered colliflowers) and salad… amazing.

Lunch day 2, saffran rice, mush potatoes, some beef thing with carrots and sweet potatoes filled with cheese.. and I had my own vegetable burger things.. loooovely

Lunch day 2, saffran rice, mush potatoes, some beef thing with carrots and sweet potatoes filled with cheese.. and I had my own vegetable burger things.. loooovely

Cuzco – Inca ruins in the Sacred Valley

Me and Jill had to wake up early to go to the tour to Maras and Moray..

It really started well (not) – the bus was parked at a plaza where we were standing in line to go up, when the tourleader say that the police is right behind the bus and since they aren’t allowed to park in the plaza the bus had to move, but only half of the group was inside the bus, the other half of the group starts to run after the bus, but then the bus accelerates and leaves and we don’t understand anything… we stay there waiting like idiots for the bus to come back like half an hour. Then when we finally get on the bus, the bus is overcrowded so there aren’t enough seats for everyone – Jill had to seat back in the bus and I had to sit in front with the driver, and I don’t see the guide when he points at things that we are passing.. Just hear him back there somewhere.. and I fall asleep instead.. Haha.

Me in front of Moray - which was used in agricultural purpose

Me in front of Moray – which was used in agricultural purpose

Outside Moray, so beautiful.

Outside Moray, so beautiful.

Me and Jill in the Salineras :)

Me and Jill in the Salineras :)

We visited some different archeological sites and some indigenous villages. First we went to Moray, which was used for agriculture purpose, it has platforms in a circular form with different levels and climates, so there can be about 15 degrees Celsius (60F) between the top and the bottom, so they can grow all kind of things – potatoes that grows best in higher colder altitude to vegetables that grows best in lower and warmer temperatures. Smart!

Then we went to the Salineras in Maras, a lot of small salt mines, it has been used since the Inkas, they used it like money and trade it for other products. Really cool!
We also visited a small village where a woman told us about how they dye their wool and stuff, and everything in English!! I was so surprised – never heard someone from a small village speak English fluently. She was also really funny, made us laugh a lot.

The woman here at the left told us about their work in English :)

The woman here at the left told us about their work in English :)

It was interesting but the tour was really bad organized, really! When we got home we where sooo tired, slept a good siesta.

In the evening I met up with Rafael and played bingo in the bar, we were hoping to win something but we didn’t.. But I really had a nice evening with Rafael, eating potato chips, really dark chocolate and talking about everything in life, from work, animals, travels, love, brazil… he showed me a lot about his city (Porto Alegre) and I’m definitively going to visit him when I go to brazil : ) Sadly he was leaving next day to go back home.. it’s aaalways going to be like this for me, huh? When I find someone I really like to hang out with, they have to leave… Well well. When he went to get his stuff packed I joined the Pariwana team for the pub quiz – and we actually won the quiz! Woho :)

Bingo-night with Rafael!

Bingo-night with Rafael!

Next morning I had breakfast with Rafael before he left for his flight, and I went for a Sacred Valley tour, and wow, this was really good and well-organized!! Interesting sites.

We started with the Pisac village where we visited a traditional market, then we visited the ruins in Pisac there, great views over the andeans (platforms) and the valley. It was really fun to walk around in the temples and residences there, but I got so lost and couldn’t find my way out, haha. Finally I did though, but I came late to the our meeting time with the group, haha.

The market in Pisac. Peru has around 4000 different types of potatoes... these are just a few of them.

The food market in Pisac. Peru has around 4000 different types of potatoes… these are just a few of them.

The market of Pisac

The market of Pisac

Temples and residences in Pisac

Temples and residences in Pisac

Panorama from the temples over Pisac

Panorama from the temples over Pisac

After that we went to Urubamba and had lunch, but I didn’t want to pay 25-35 soles for a meal, I already had my avocado sandwiches with me, so I sat down in the sun and had my picnics alone. The driver got me desserts from two different buffet places where the other had eaten while i ate my sandwiches i brought haha.  And he also gave me water. So sweet!

Having my avocado sandwish :) Also showing of my new bracelet I bought in the market of Pisac, with the colors of Cusco :)

Having my avocado sandwich :) Also showing of my new bracelet I bought in the market of Pisac, with the colors of Cusco :) (the nametag-thing is from the hostal)

After that we visited Ollantaytambo and the ruins there, where ruins I ran into Nadja and Facu from the hostal! So funny, small world! Ollantaytambo also have really cool Inca constructions, with a temple of the sun made of really big blocks of rock from the mountains in the surroundings. Not only the closest one, because it has different colours, so it’s taken from different mountains in the Sacred Valley, which they have brought there… It must have been so damn hard, they really weren’t lazy those Incas.

Ruins of Ollantaytambo

Ruins of Ollantaytambo

The stairs and the suntemple in Ollantaytambo (and nadja and facu)

The stairs and the suntemple in Ollantaytambo (and nadja and facu to the right)

On our way back we stopped at Chincheros and visited another village there with different families, sort of had the same talk like yesterday (and in mexico) about how they colour their wool and stuff, but this one was in Quechua instead of English.. but this woman had the same joke as the woman yesterday, even if it’s totally different villages and people… Do they know each other? Has a guide that has visited both villages told one woman about that joke and she copied it? I have no idea.. I just found it a little rare…

Chinchero, the only inca site with regular houses above, because the Spanish destroyed the old ruins and built new houses above...

Chinchero, the only inca site with regular houses above, because the Spanish destroyed the old ruins and built new houses above…

The woman in Chinchero showing how they make the red colour

The woman in Chinchero showing how they make the red colour

Anyhow, this was a great tour compared to the one yesterday, I noticed how important it is that the guide is organized and informs us about everything – this guide told us in the bus where we were heading, when we were going to be there and what we were going to do there and when we arrived he told us where the meeting place was after the guided tour and what time we should be there.. we had nothing of this yesterday, we just went to a place, entered, walked around without knowing anything about what it was until  the guide started screaming ”hey! the group of Roberto- come here!” – and people where at the toilet, or in a souvenir place, or in totally different places in the archeological site, sort of chaos.. (don’t remember the tour guides name, it’s probably not Roberto)

Anyhow.. I got exactly back to Cuzco in time for the pre meeting with info about the inka trail at 18.30. Met two of the girls that are in the same group as me, two Danish girls. At night we had some Kareoke night at Pariwana, and then I went to sleep earlish.

Skypetalk with my mother... so much fun to see her again! :P

Skypetalk with my mother… so much fun to see her again! :P

Next day, Friday, was chill out and planning day. I skyped with my mother (for the first time, she is so funny and sometimes it surprises me how un-technical she is, haha!). I also skyped with Duilio (for the thousand time)… Can’t believe I only have the Inka Trail left now, then I’ll be heading to Argentina!!! I’ve been counting the days, and now it’s only 5 days left!!! The day after arriving to Machu Picchu I’m flying to Buenos Aires. I feel like a child looking forward to Christmas. So damn happy.

In the afternoon I prepared for the inka trail, bought a headlight, cereal bars and repacked my stuff… I’m going to have my backpack but I’m leaving some stuff at the hostal.. still quite heavy and big though! But it’s going to be around 0 degrees Celsius at night so I need to bring all my warm clothes – and they take some space. I have really been thinking about what to bring, so let’s hope I don’t have too much or to less stuff with me! I’ll let you know!

First days in Cuzco

Arrived at Cuzco like 6am in the morning, I directly felt good when I bargained down the cab from 8 soles to 5 too, haha. I went to the hare Krishna temple, as Krishna Govinda had told me to, but he wasn’t there. Luckily they go up like 4 am in the morning to go to the temple so someone was awake. He said that everybody was at another temple on the weekends, and wouldn’t come back until next day or the day after that.. Well.. So I was in an empty big room with mattrasses on the floors, the mother’s room.. and there was another couchsurfer there, haha, weird. I didn’t have any mattress so I borrowed one for the night… but still.. I didn’t really feel comfortable.

My first room in the hare krishna tempel...

My first room in the hare krishna tempel…


The toilets was downstairs, the shower was a stockholm-toilet as we say, a very small space where the shower is above the toilet sit, so not really a shower… , no hot water, no internet.. I felt kind of lost there in a room filled with stuff everywhere but no one was there. I met up with Jill, who I met in Ica and couchsurfed together. We had breakfast at a place in the same street where the temple is, quite expensive but really delicious. We talked a lot about everything, so much fun to catch up with her! After that we went around for a while, visiting small shops and markets (lovely shoes!), the 12
th stone and Plaza de armas. It’s beautiful! Cuzco was the capital of the Inka empire and everything here has a lot of history.

Breakfast with Jill!

Breakfast with Jill!

The famous stone with 12 corners!

The famous stone with 12 corners!

Panorama over the main square in cuzco

Panorama over the main square in cuzco

Shoes!! I love all of them. Don't you?

Shoes!! I love all of them. Don’t you?

I went with her to her hostel where she works and lives, and wow, such a good vibe there!! 26 soles a night… good beeds… big patio with ping pong table and puffs.. bar and restaurant.. movie room.. internet everywhere… hot water :) Haha. I will stay one night at the temple since I already have all my stuff there but I will move later.

Jill went to sleep a siesta and I went back, met up with to german couchsurfers that also where staying at the temple, they were going out for a walk in Cuzco to some ruins, so I joined them. We walked up to the surrounding hills (damn it so many stairs, I’m in such a bad shape… and this is like 3400 metres above sea level, so you really notice it!) and passed by the Cristo Blanco and the Saksaywaman ruins. Usually you have to pay to go close there but you can also get the back way in just to visit the area.

Two woman looking out over Cuzco

Two woman looking out over Cuzco

Lot of people out camping, eating and playing games in the fields

Lot of people out camping, eating and playing games in the fields

I guess it’s because it was Sunday, but there were tons of people there in the fields, I think all the Peruvians go there with they kids and families and camp during the weekends. We found some really cool temples around there, it’s so weird, I really don’t understand how the inkas could do this stuff, cut the stones like this.. and why. It’s totally impressive. We stayed there and meditated for a while before heading back in the last hours of sun.

A big stone where a couple is sitting comfortable...

A big stone where a couple is sitting comfortable…

Meditating a bit on the rock. Weird formations.. how did they cut these??

Meditating a bit on the rock. Weird formations.. how did they cut these??

Two girls out with their Llamas

Two girls out with their Llamas

Then I was really hungry because I had forgotten to eat lunch… I went directly to Pariwana hostel where Jill lives, because they were going to have a BBQ this night, and vegetarian : ) It was delicious!! Definitively one of the best bbq food I’ve ever had… so tasty. It was filmnight and we watched a movie in the bar too.. great.

Then I was so tired so I was on my way home, when I met Carla! We both couchsurfed at Kevins place in Arequipa.. haha. Small world! So we started talking and then she introduced me to Mitchell and Rafael from Brazil, and we kept talking for hours.. haha. A little bit funny because the only one of us 4 that actually was staying at the hostal was Rafael, the rest of us was just hanging out and visiting friends :P I had such a funny night.. sometimes you meet people that just makes you laugh all the time – and Michell is like that.. we had such a fun group dynamic, making fun of Carlas “fuegito” haha.. so many intern jokes already, haha.

Group pic at the hostal!

Group pic at the hostal!


So I got back home around 1.30 or something, and guess what – the temple was closed! I was knocked on the door but nothing… I stood there outside for a few minutes thinking about what I should do when I heard a noise inside, someone went to the toilet – hallelujah for not having toilets in the rooms – and he opened up to me haha. Went to sleep with all the clothes I could put on, since it’s around 5 degrees Celsius at night..

Woke up next day and moved to the Pariwana hostel. Got breakfast that morning! The breakfast is until 12, so good! Haha. Best hostal I’ve been too…. Guess what – the lockers have chargers inside!!!! Such a great idea… and every bed has two pillows!! And a duvet!!! I LOVE THAT!! Another detail: the shower has a bathroom mat!! How wonderful is that… small things that makes you happy while traveling.. hehe. They also have free tea 24hours a day… great for the cold nights. :)

And my new room. Love my bed... I have my methods to have privacy ;)

And my new room. Love my bed… I have my methods to have privacy ;)

Me and Jill went to the San Pedro Market and bought some fruits and stuff, I bought a tomato salsa that didn’t have a price – apparently it costed 15 soles!!!! (5-6 usd) Damn expensive.. when you can eat a menu here (first and second course) for 5 soles.. damn it.

Anyhow.. I went to look for Bamba Experience, which is the company that I have booked the Inka Trail with through Green Toad.. it was just around the courner from Pariwana : ) I went there to say that I’m vegetarian, so they would provide me with vegetarian food during the trail… and guess who I bump into – Michell from yesterday! Haha… small world again! He was also changing hostal, and the hostal where Bamba has their office was full, so he changed to Pariwana hostal where I’m staying too. :)

Hanging out at the Pariwana bar.. :)

Hanging out at the Pariwana bar.. :)

At night the hostal arranged salsa night, we learnt the basics.. it was fun to dance a little bit, but difficult since I was dancing with other beginners, haha. At night we finally decided to go out (we were about to stay inside to watch a movie) ..on our way out from the hostel we met a whole other bunch of people going out, so we all joined together.. around 15 people from our hostal :) Went to mama Africa, where we also bumped into Carla again : )
Next day in the morning (ok, around 11) Michell woke me up to say goodbye, he was leaving for lima and then heading up to Colombia.. too sad.. :(

The pariwana-gang at Mama Africa!

The pariwana-gang at Mama Africa!

Michell, Carla, Rafael and me... best gang. Carla is on fire! (look what michell has in his hand... haha)

Michell, Carla, Rafael and me… best gang. Carla is on fire! (look what michell has in his hand… haha)

After that me and Jill went out to buy a tour for tomorrow, we asked at one place and they said 30 soles, but we got it at another place for 20 ;) Then I bought some new shoes for me and Duilio and the rest of the day we just hang out at the hostal.. Love to do nothing! Haha. Just hang out, eat, have internet.. hehe. At night we played some beer-games (ping pong things and stuff.. our team was the worst, haha, but it was fun :) Later we went out to a called 7 angelitos where a tribute band to rolling stones played.

Shoes for me and Duilio ;)

Shoes for me and Duilio ;)

Facu, Nadia, Jorge and Shir cooking in the kitchen

Facu, Nadia, Jorge and Shir cooking in the kitchen

Playing beerpong... :)

Playing beerpong… :)

We were a whole group from Pariwana hostal again, but this time with almost everyone that works there, so no more sad good byes for a while,  at least that’s what I thought, but of course the guy I hang out with the most leaves next day too…. Damn it.. always happens to me! So it’s me, Jill, Shir from Israel, David from Spain and the rest are from Argentina.. Yep.. those Argentinians are everywhere!

After 7 angelitos we went out dancing at mythology and mama Africa, but it wasn’t the same good vibe as before, we went home around 3 or something.

The pariwana-gang at 7 angelitos

The pariwana-gang at 7 angelitos

Arequipa pt.2

I know this is way to behind to upload this… I’ve been so lazy lately updating the blog.. 

So the second week in Arequipa then, after the visit to Colca, was just a chill out week. On Sunday I had lunch with kevins family, his father invited us there and I met kevins younger sisters, so sweet! : ) We watched a movie and then we went to their mother’s house for a while. After that we visited a fruit market and his father bought me some fruit I’ve never tried before, and I found my new love – grenadilla ;) Hehe.  We came back home with tons of fruits.. good that both me and Kevin loves it.. he always does fruit juices though, but I eat them as they are. I love that this country has a lot of fruits, and a lot of avocados! Haha.

I LOVE THAT PERU HAS SO MANY AVOCADOS EVERYWHERE!

I LOVE THAT PERU HAS SO MANY AVOCADOS EVERYWHERE!

new fruit; grenadilla. it's reaaally good and sweet!

new fruit; grenadilla. it’s reaaally good and sweet!

Being to the fruit market!

Went to the fruit market!

Also typical scenery at home... Kevin doing some juice while we seat by our computers.. haha

Also typical scenery at home… Kevin doing some juice while we seat by our computers.. haha

So what else have I done for a whole week… well I took 2 more salsa lessons : ) And I also finally made a braid in my hair, love it. After that I bought threads of acrame to do my own bracelets too, and I’ve done a few…. I’m learning :) Difficult but fun!
I’ve also been shopping a little bit and I sent a package back home, 4,5 kg for 150 soles (56 USD) which I thought was quite ok actually, cheaper than in Mexico! I also bought some gifts for Duilio and his mother :)

Kevin had 2 italian couchsurfers over too, but they weren’t really around that much.. I did meet up with German and his son and had a evening where I showed them how to make a webpage on wordpress for their association, as thanks for him showing me around in Colca. It’s was lot’s of fun!

Some things I've bought lately ;)

Some things I’ve bought lately ;)

Ceremony and procession for saint Chapi

Ceremony and procession for saint Chapi

finally getting a braid in my hair :)

finally getting a braid in my hair :)

a really crumple old man walking in our neighborhood

a really crumple old man walking in our neighborhood

kevin showing the map to two couchsurfers from italy

kevin showing the map to two couchsurfers from italy

Having some "emoliente", a typical drink from arequipa, tastes like lemon tea sort of.. really nice!

Having some ”emoliente”, a typical drink from arequipa, tastes like lemon tea sort of.. really nice!

The last weekend before I left, Kevin took me to a birthday party with his friend Sandra, who also announced she was getting married. : )  The house was beautiful, and the neighbourhood too, it felt like I was in the US (even if I’ve never been there, it was like in movies). At first I felt a little bit uncomfortable as I always do in high society but after talking to everybody they really were all nice and funny. :) Especially Sandra, such a sweet girl.

Then it was time for me to move on to Cuzco after 2 weeks in arequipa. I hadn’t planned on staying there for so long, but I really got along well with Kevin and I felt like home : ) I was so sad to leave him and Arequipa that I almost cried on my way to Cuzco… good that I traveled with Cruz Del Sur once again, so I had a lot of entertainment onboard… (all though once again, they gave me ham in the vegetarian meal… so NONE of my damn trips with them has there been vegetarian food even if I have ordered it 3 times! Unbelievable!)

Group picture with all the guests at Sandras Birthday party :)

Group picture with all the guests at Sandras Birthday party :)

 

Visiting another family in Coporaque, Colca

So I left Canocota to take the collectivo to Chivay. In Chivay I waited in a cross for 1 hour before a collectivo left for Coporaque, haha.

Two lovely brothers who I shared ride with from Canocota.

Two lovely brothers who I shared ride with from Canocota.

Since I had been there before I could find the house myself from the main plaza, bu talong the way I see a young man running which I recognize, and of course it’s Jorge, the son in the house, he was out looking for me, haha. : ) He had been waiting for me ancious to go out for a walk in the area, so sweet. We went to their house, called Casa Wasi Huerta.

Coporaque was a very important town during the pre inca and inca, it was the capital of Colca. Coporaque district name comes from two words Quechua qhoto (a lot of corn) and rake (place where is dealt), meaning ”place where the corn is handed out”. It’s a quite big town compared to Canocota, I think around 1000 families live here, and they have a store, a restaurant and even a internet café in the center.

Jorge showing the way to San Antonio.

Jorge showing the way to San Antonio.

I took a warm shower at home and then Jorge took me out to the archeological site San Antonio, it’s a 20-30 minutes walk up to the mountains from their house. So funny, his mother Josefina instisted that he should bring a hat with him because of the sun, and he protested ”Nooo.. I look like a grandpa with a hat!” hahaha. He is so funny, 10 years old.

I asked him what he wants to do in the future, and he said that he wants to be an ingeneer in the mines, in Arequipa or in Lima, and bring his family there… to bad, because he could be an excellent guide! Making fun anecdotes and telling stories with a great and interesting voice. Josefina doesn’t want him to though, she wants him to take over the farm. The two sisters are not interested at all and are now living in Arequipa studying. He is the only of the siblings that’s actually interested and love to go to the farm and be with animals.

With Jorge high up in San Antonio

With Jorge high up in the mountains

I'm the king of the world ;) Haha

I’m the king of the world ;) Haha. You see down there to the left, that’s the town of Coporaque

He asked me if I had any animals, or if my siblings had (my brother is the same age as he), and I think they have a bird…. And Jorge has horses, guinea pigs, dogs, cows, sheep etc… totally different way of living haha. He wants even more animals in the future, he really wants a Llama or  Alpaca :)

Anyhow… he took me to the thombs of San Antonio, a pre inka place where there are mommies and skeletons there just open like that in the fot of the cliff. Very interesting!
Then on our way back we got down the other side of the hill and came back another way to the house. He really knows all the places here!

 

Some skeletons in San Antonio

Some skeletons in San Antonio

San Antonio... houses of stone build in the mountain.. that now are thombs..

San Antonio… houses of stone build in the foot of mountain.. where you can find old skeletons

 

Jorge and his dog Body looking out over the valley where they live

Jorge and his dog Body looking out over the valley where they live

In the evening Oswaldo, the father, came home. He had beans with him so we started to peel them (such a process) to do our dinner. I was surprised and impressive that he (and Jorge) actually came up with what we should have for dinner, not Josefina, the women, all though she did cook it, but they helped with the preparing. They are much more modern here, they have a TV and even a DVD-player too! We spent a few hours looking at bull fighting, haha.

The process of peeling beans.

The process of peeling beans. 3 steps.

Dinner with the family Bernal!

Dinner with the family Bernal!

At night I felt quite bad, I don’t know if it was the altitude or something… but I had bad head ache and felt like I was going to throw up if I ate somehting, so I didn’t have anything for dinner, but Josefina prepared me some mate (the) with special herbs that they picked for me. I went to bed early and next day I woke up much better.

I had a really tasty breakfast with Quinoa and then me and Jorge went out on a small excursion through the valley down to the river where there are Umaru thermal baths. Since it was Saturday he didn’t have school and Josefina was happy that I could take care of him : ) I had to say ”be careful!” sometimes, because he loves to run everywhere and have broken a couple of bones in his pasts, haha. But he really does know this valley, we walked through fields, mountains, bushes and came to the river.

Breakfast!

Breakfast!

On our way to the thermal baths

On our way to the thermal baths

Found a few sheep on our way.

Found a few sheep on our way.

In the thermal baths. It was hotter in the water then outside!

In the thermal baths. It was hotter in the water then outside!

View over the lake down there. Totally normal to pass by the neighbours who are out with their donkeys.

View over the river with the thermal baths down there. Totally normal to pass by the neighbours who are out on their way to their farms with their donkeys.

The baths were really nice, warm, natural and of course free ;)  We were there quite early in the morning, like 8-9 or something, so it was empty when we got there. Usually on weekends a lot of people goes there to take a bath so that they are clean on mondays for school.

On our way back we passed by one of their farms where they have all the cows. Josefina was there milking them,  she showed me how to do it – not easy! But fun. It feels really weird. We milked around 20 litres from 3 different cows, took a couple of hours! I wasn’t was fast as Josefina either haha.

The cows were so sweet, and loving haha, one of them kept licking me – I was surprised he had such a rough tongue and so much saliva! Got all wet haha.

Josefina and her cows in their farm

Josefina and some of her cows drinking water

Josefina milking the cow

Josefina milking the cow

Still think it's charming when you see a finger ;)

Haha such a funny picture. :) Still think it’s charming when you see a finger.. haha

Walking with 20L of milk on her back in the aguayo.

Walking with 20L of milk on her back in the aguayo.

On our way back Josefina took the full 20 L dunk on her back in the aguayo (the I blanket I told you about before).  It’s amazing. Yeah, I’ve thought about it, that we Europeans/modern people are damn LAZY! We would never carry something that heavy for such distances, and they do it everyday.

I carried it the half way, and I’m actually surprised how “easy” it was, it really would have been 100000 times harder if I would have carried it in my hand all the way. In the main plaza a bus came to pick the milk up, they pay 90 cents per L, bring it to Lima and packages it for selling in the stores, for like 3-4 soles.

In the center of the town waiting for the milk bus

In the center of the town waiting for the milk bus

Back home I took a quick shower and packed my things, then helped Josefina preparing the lunch. She told me about her family, she is the oldest of 13 siblings!  Her parents are also divorced, which is quite unusual. Her father had a lover – and everybody knew about it and it was shameful for the family, so Josefina put her foot down and said that he either goes and lives with that women or he stays with them, but nothing in between. Good done!
I was in a little bit of a hurry because my bus to Arequipa was leaving at 16, I went to town to take the collectivo from Coporaque around 15 (it only takes 20 minutes to town), but I got slightly stressed because it was almost empty, and it doesn’t leave town until it’s full… haha. But another woman was also in a hurry, so we convinced the driver to leave half empty, and good that, because we picked up like 5 people along the way who had been waiting for the collective for one hour, haha.

Anyhow…. I was sad to leave Coporaque too. I know they have  a lot of different projects and volunteerthings going on there, and I’m really interested in coming back to help the community somehow. Hopefully!

So… If you want to have a  great experience like me – don’t hesitate on contacting Josefina Bernal – let me know and I’ll give you her contacts!

Oh, and this from the first day when I visited them, when I tried out their traditional clothing:

With Josefina and Jorge :) I look tall! Haha

With Josefina and Jorge :) I look tall! Haha

Me in the typical dress from Corporaque - beatiful!

Me in the typical dress from Corporaque – beatiful!

Visiting a family in Canocota in Colca

Me and German arrived late in the evening, had some thé and nice conversations, and then he left for his village while I stayed with Pedro and Julia, their daughter Rosa and her daughter Fatima.

The family was lovely and made me feel like their daughter in one sec. And they had such a beautiful house. I had my own room with bathroom and hot water and everything, so nice! Btw, the key ring to the room was a Dalahäst, typical from Dalarna in Sweden, haha so fun.

Panorama view from their house over the village

Panorama view from their house over the whole village

Canocota is a small village north east of Chivay, it only lives around 50-80 families there, the village is only one street with houses. Canocota belonged to the Kollawas.. There are two different kind of  cultures here in the Colca Valley, the Kollawas or the Cabanas. The kollawas are generally shorter then the cabanas and Pedro, as the man in the family use to say “El frio no nos deja crecer” – The cold doesn’t allow them to grow.. haha.

They speak Quechua here, the native south American language.. and it’s so cute because when Julia speaks Spanish, she speaks with a Quechuan accent, so the “c” sounds like “ch”. : )

Cooking dinner with Fatima on her back. :)

Cooking dinner with Fatima on her back. :)

Dinnertime with Pedro and Julia. So sweeeet!

Dinnertime with Pedro and Julia. So sweeeet!

To dinner they made me a great Quinoa soup.. wow, so good really.. we sat in the kitchen and talked for an hour or so about their village and the life there. Since the kitchen is used with fire, the kitchen is warm and cozy, but also I got really tired so I went to bed around 20.30 and fell into deep sleep under 5 blankets in my bed made of adobe : )  We decided to have breakfast around 7 next day, because Julia and Pedro wakes up 4, but that’s a little bit to early for me! Haha.

Lovely breakfast with home made EVERYTHING! Yummy!

Lovely breakfast with home made EVERYTHING! Yummy!

For breakfast we had Choclo from their garden and cheese made of their milk from the cows, a warm drink with quinoa from their garden and apple and canela … lovely. It was really really tasty. Mmmmm!

They almost always eat what they grow themselves.. but they need some money to buy sugar and rice for example.  What’s good with Canocota is that everything here is totally ecological, they don’t use chemicals or pesticides for the gardening at all.

After breakfast me and Julia went to visit some of the farms they have, one with the quinoa, where they have problems with birds eating it up, so they have put a lot of bags there to try to scare them away. I asked why they didn’t have a scarecrow and Julia said that she had one before, but one night she had forgot about it herself and got o afraid of it that it almost cost it her life. : (

In the Quinoa-chacra

In the Quinoa-chacra

We also went to another farm a little bit more far away and on our way there we passed by another abandoned farms of other farmers that either have died or left the town for other bigger villages/cities… to sad. Since they didn’t sell the farm to anyone, just abandoned them, they are now to difficult and overgrown to do something about it.. You would need to move the whole ground upside down to be able to grow something there again, and when I asked why they didn’t do it, she said that it’s impossible to reach those places with a tractor.  They could bring some horses and other tools to do it too, but it costs quite much. In Canocota they almost don’t have any animals, just a few sheep, donkeys, cows and cuys..  but generally they grow barley and that kind of stuff.

Anyhow.. we walked over some hills and valleys in the area until we got to their last farm where we cut some “grass” (don´t know what type…) and brought it back to the house. It was the first time I wore something on my back with a Aguayo (the blanket they use instead of backpacks). They wear everything in it, grocearies, the harvest, babies… and it’s quite comfortable! You can fit almost everything there and your hands are totally free. It feels like it’s going to fall of but it doesn’t :)  By the way, on our way back home, while resting a little bit, Julia sang a song for me in Quechua, soo sweet! I should have recorded it :)

Working out on the farm

Working out on the farm

Walking back to the house with our harvest on our backs :)

Walking back to the house with our harvest on our backs :)

Me wearing the aguayo for the first time :)

Me wearing the aguayo for the first time :)

Preparing good lunch with Julia.

Preparing good lunch with Julia.

The lunch... soo goood... everything also taken from the garden/farm.. :)

The lunch… soo goood… everything also taken from the garden/farm.. :)

For lunch we prepared some reaaaaaally gooooood omellette-thingy… I mean… it was DELICIOUS!!!! I have seriously not eaten anything like this before.  It was funny to help Julia in the kitchen :)

She is a little sad though that her house and her Chacras (farms) also are going to be empty and abandoned when she’s gone. Her children have their own house in other villages, and no one wants to buy a house in Canocota.  It’s so sad to hear that.
Another problem is also that when they get too old, they can’t maintain the same lifestyle as now when they are farmers.. that’s why they have started to do this rural tourism thing now too, it costs around 50 soles at night there with 3 meals. Then they can save a little bit for when they are old and can’t work anymore, so that they can buy their grocearies in the store instead..

Pedro looking out over the city for the yellow car that leaves at 13 from the village

Pedro looking out over the city to se if the yellow car – the only transportation from the village – is still there

Another thing that stroke me is that this people that lives like this in the villages, don’t have any insurance at all. When they get sick, they can’t turn to a hospital, because it costs to much for them, even the consult is to much. If they need a operation, just by going to Arequipa and do the first tests is more than they can afford, and they don’t have any money left for the actual operation.

But Julia told me about another kind of “hospital” where  she had been when she had problems with the liver and needed to operate it. The consult cost 15 soles and the operation 25 soles, but it’s not a regular hospital, it’s a religious thing. They let all the patients sit on chairs and then they put all the lights out so everything is totally dark. They are 3 men that starts to pray and call the apostles and then you hear them arrive and everything. And there in the dark, they talk to you and do the operation somehow, but they don’t use any tools or anything, but after it’s done, you have a scar and everything.. It sounds magical and insane at the same time. Apparently the state is against this kind of “events” and says it’s nonsense, but there are so many people that actually have been cured by this even when hospitals haven’t been able to, that they can’t shut it down. I’m glad that this does kind of hospitals exist if it means that it works for these families.

 

The lovely family Ocsa / Choque!

The lovely family Ocsa / Choque!

So.. yes, it has been an experience to be here. I’m so glad they open up they hearts and their home for me, it’s so interesting to hear all the kind of stories from here and to have a small insight in their way of living.

I, who in the beginning thought that 50 soles was expensive for living there with the families, now actually wants to give them 50 soles a night. If I have had more money with me I would have given them that too to help them… I wish I could have stayed there for a longer time. I will definitively come back!

If you are interested in visiting this family – let me know and I’ll give you their phone number!! You are always welcome and it’s totally worth it!