There was no chance to actually write this blog from Peru. It was either a case of looking (unsuccessfully) for an internet cafe (4450 meters up in the Andes) or else too much altitude sickness to get it together even had we found one. Yes altitude sickness can mess with your brian, as well as the other effects of headaches, nausea, nosebleeds, flatulence, dizzyness, more flatulence, synus issues and dyselxia.
Firstly on arriving at Cusco we were told that instead of walking The Inca Trail (which we had thought we were doing from the start) we were going to walk An Inca Trail. Apologies to all those who sponsored me to walk The Inca Trail, however the trail we did (the Lares Trail) is actually higher and tougher than the actual Inca Trail. Instead of nicely paved Inca tracks it’s mostly quite nasty rocky or treacherously dusty and slippery terrain up and down very steep slopes, with mountain passes that deceive you with every twist and turn: your feet, calves, thigh, stomach, lungs and brain are saying “STOP!”, but the end of the climb is in view. Only to find that as you get to the top and turn the corner it was only the first stage of many on the way to the pass and there is another and another impossibly steep and gruelling climb. You have to walk/climb very very slowly or the altitude sickness and exhaustion take over. I wish we had been better briefed about this, perhaps the training schedule was right for The Inca Trail, but it was nowhere near adequate for this kind of climb and possibly for this reason a few of the party had to stop and be taken down.
Still we saw some great views and memorable experiences. Camping at -5 degrees (note minus) being one of them. We had the privilege of visiting the home of one of the locals. This was a real eye opener, A family of 8 living in one small room, dirt floor and guinea pigs running around the kitchen
A note to those who very kindly sponsored us to walk The Inca Trail:
Until arriving at Cusco we weren’t made properly aware that we were going on the Lares Trail rather than The Inca Trail. I think if you knew how much tougher than the Inca Trail this was, then you won’t mind (and you might even possibly pay more!), but if you feel conned (as I did slightly), I can happily refund you and still pay the charity.
More to come soon as I get over the jetlag and a stinking cold.