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The Envelope Pushers Travel Page

Welcome to Sanfaye's Travel Page. Here is where we will be keeping a record of our travels for all of you to read. Please feel free to leave a comment for us. When we can find time in between discovering new places, enjoying amazing experiences and meeting new people we will reply to them!

Diary Entries

Monday, 06 September 2010

Location: USA

We made it - quite a challenge but well worth it. We had two days rain and just about everyone got soaked through on the first day of rain- even our duffle bags and sleeping bags managed to get damed so the following and last day was pretty difficut.. However we have recovered from that and are now in LA on the way home. I have been working on Planet ranger so you will see some new photo pages and more entries.

Saturday, 04 September 2010

Location: USA

On our way home Sept 4

Faye and I were the last to leave today – the others left in two lots earlier in the morning. We got up early though to bid them farewell. Then it was our turn – Rene turned right on 12.30 has amazed me at his promptness – reminded me a lot of Ken in this regard. Then it was off to the airport. Renee and Darwin made sure we got our boarding passes and everything was in order, Then it was time to say our goodbyes – Thank you Rene for such a special time and sharing so many things with us – I do hope we come away wiser people with all the lessons you have taught us (particularly me) over the past 2 weeks.

Friday, 03 September 2010

Location: USA

Last Day of Tour Cusco –

Well it was up early again and on the go. Today we were going to do some exploring with Rene and then we had some free time to do some shopping. Whilst waiting for Rene to come Pete Faye and I headed down the street to post a package and get some money for Faye and I – always a little scary when in a non English speaking place and using an ATM – however, two lovely security guides stood by us as we withdrew our money.

Our first port of call was to the Church across the road from the hotel – the Church and convent of Santo Domingo to visit Koricancha the Sun Temple. Although it was very much like the churches I have visited in Europe it was quite interesting. Whilst here we watched a DVD on the sun festival held by the locals on the 24th June each year – it was very moving – would love to be there to experience the real thing.

We then set off for the community market. Rene told us that we needed to be very careful with our belongings – we were to secure them and carry them in front of us. As we walked along we were joined by a dog – Rene whispered to me that the dog was a spirit and had come along to protect us. It stayed with us all the way as we walked along, then into the market and when we came out of the market it just disappeared into the unknown.
What an amazing experience we had – this was the local communities produce market. There was everything from pig carcasses through to live frogs, an incredible variety of potatoes, corn and fresh herbs – as we were ready to leave Rene asked us all for one sol – he explained as we entered the market he had made arrangements with a security officer to follow us and look out for us. Pleased he told us that at the end as whilst we were walking around I did not feel the least bit scared, but probably would have if I had known. The money was as a token of our gratitude.

Then for those of us who wanted to it was off to the jewellery factory – we went by local taxi – boy was that a hoot. On the way back Faye sat in the front of the taxi – we thought she was going to s….t her pants in a couple of occasions – I captured her on my I phone and we were in raptures when we watched it. The jewellery factory was beautiful – we got to see how they prepared the silver and gems – the silver was stirling silver 925. Managed to do a bit of shopping – I purchased a beautiful condor brooch inlayed with shell, a silver Inca Cross for Ken and the most beautiful small silver tumbler engraved and embedded with gemstones. The Incas used something similar for their medicine vessels.

I had just finished paying for my goods (spent a bit more than I wanted but still managed to strike a good deal) Faye also managed to buy some lovely things for Heidi and the girls, when Rene tapped me on the shoulder and go with him – as we walked through the shop he explained he wanted me to meet someone important in his life – imagine my surprise when I found out it was his Master – Peter was also with me Pete and I out of all the people there got to meet him, - I felt really humbled. His Master then asked us if we would like to go upstairs to see his temple. What an honour! I thought Oh no, not more stairs (3 levels) I did not think I could make it. So pleased I did, just so very special – thank you to Rene and his master for sharing this with us – we did a little ritual with him then it was back down stairs – what a special way to finish such a wonderful trip.

Tomorrow is our last day – my heart feels a little heavier – a mixture of feelings.

Thursday, 02 September 2010

Location: USA

Last Day Walking – Machu Picchu

Well up bright and early this morning – well rested after a good nights sleep, nice warm cost bed, normal toilet !
May have forgotten to mention we did have one real drama with the womens toilet on the way. One young women went to use it and the bag which is attached to the seat collapsed whilst she was sitting on it. You can imagine what happened - she came out absolutely traumatized. Anyway the poor toilet porter cleaned it up – I think he probably has the worst job – at least they give him a special mask and gloves.

Most of us used the hairdryers in the hotel to dry off clothes and boots – there was a continuous whirring noise late last night and early this morning. Good old Pete walked down to the local market and purchased Faye and I a pair each of beautiful Alpacca socks. So with dry clothes and semi dry boots – a beautiful breakfast in our tummies we were ready for whatever the day put forward.

And WOW!! What a show it provided for us – the rain held off and the clouds lifted until early afternoon as we revisited Machu Picchu. What a really special time. It is too hard to describe the feeling you just need to be there to experience this very special. After our tour we headed back down to Aguas Calientes with Pete and the two English girls where we had lunch – pizza – we were welcomed by a little ginger kitten which sat at Pete’s feet whilst we ate. By this time it had started raining again – and quite heavy and so we checked out the local market at we waited for our train to take us back to Ollantattambo where we caught our bus back to Cusco. But the day didn’t finish here although it was late it was a quick change and off to one of the local restaurants for our celebratory dinner – the last supper. And boy did we celebrate!!!!!!!!!! We even managed to get some champagne. Our first alcoholic drink for about 2 weeks. The food was delicious, Pete even had guinea pig – I had a little taste – it was very similar to chicken. The entertainment started and WOW! It was incredible. Rene our guide was dragged up onto the floor to partake in some type of whipping celebration he had to try and get the whip around the dancers leg – not very successful though – then the tables turned the dancer did it to him – I flinched each time the dancer cracked it. Then they got up a couple of other men and did the same thing – they only really cracked it on the floor near these guys but I was to learn later from Rene they did the real thing with him – he had huge whelts on his leg were the whip wrapped around it.

Then there was more dancing and celebrating – one of the male dancers came over pulled me up (why couldn’t he have picked on someone younger) to dance with him – boy was I exhausted at the end – could barely breathe don’t know where they get there energy from. Finally the evening came to a close and we headed off home although very tired very elated!

Wednesday, 01 September 2010

Location: USA

The Inca Trail – Day 4 Machi Picchu

Well it was up bright and early this morning – didn’t sleep well though, everything in the tent felt damp, including me, it rained all night and I kept waking up as I was really cold, I was wishing it was time to get up so I could just get going. Finally day break arrived – what a welcome sight – hard to describe how I felt this morning one way I was really excited – only one day to go and also a little apprehensive at the same time. What lies ahead. How tough will it be today – will I have the energy!

Would you believe it was still raining and it continued to rain all day until we arrived at Machu Picchu. It had also rained most the night – forgot to tell you but Rene told me that the farmers had been praying for rain on September 1st, and on our first evening there was a big ritual/ceremony for rain. Guess the power of prayer and ceremony has paid off. When we spoke to one of the guides about the rain – he said what rain this is only drizzle compared to what we have in the rainy season. So once again it was off clad in our damp gear – I put plastic bags over my socks as my boots were still soaking wet and Rene managed to find me a plastic poncho – my gortex coat was still soaked through. I also tied a plastic bag between my back and backpack – which was also still very wet. What a wonderful sight I must have made as I set off.

Before we headed off we had a little ceremony to thank our cooks and porters . We took up a small collection – I was shocked that some people were not too keen on this. These guys were just amazing. We collected about 720 sol and 600 american they were beaming. This money helps them supplement their farming income – they buy potato and corn seed etc. Then it was goodbyes and photos. After these were exchanged we headed off in the drizzle – our last day on the trail. What a sorry sight we looked, but our spirits were high. Well the rain got heavier and heavier as the day went on. Rene told me we were really being challenged – the trek is hard enough in good conditions, let alone in the conditions we were trying to deal with.

It was a long slow day, one foot plodding after the other, trying to really focus so that you didn’t slip – the back pack seemed to be twice as heavy today – maybe because it was wet and we were given extra provisions to carry today as the porters had moved on and wouldn’t be setting up for lunch. Can I say even though I love rocks I don’t think I want to see another rock for a long time – we walked on uneven rocky paths with gaps filled with puddles, we went up steps and down steps – I measured some of the steps with my walking pole and some were up to 30cm- big step for our little tired legs.

Johanna (assistant guide) had been walking with Faye and I today – Faye was really struggling with her leg today. It was just heads down and trudging along. We did manage to find shelter at a camp and have a short break and some lunch(don’t think we could have gone on without it). Then it was off for the final section about 2 hours walking. As we came close to the end of the trail we turned a corner and there smack in front of us was this huge wall with about 100 steps each step about 20-30cms high and about 15cms wide – Oh my God – I thought how on earth am I going to get up there, we are over 3000 metres up with this challenge ahead. (not to talk about my fear heights which I was proud of how I had managed to this time). Johanna smiled and said to us – this part is actually referred to as Oh my God (everyone must say that).

Nothing else I could do but go up – there was no going back. I think I prayed the whole way up. To my surprise when I got to the top here was Pete sitting patiently waiting for Faye and I – he wanted to congratulate me and walk into Mach Picchu with us – we had made it to the sun gate. Jenni now you can understand the feeling of relief I had on my face when Pete took my photo
When we arrived at Machu Picchu it was just awesome – the feeling of achievement was something indescribable – who would have thought 6 years ago that today I would be standing on top of Machu Picchu!

We walked around for a while to savour the moment then we had the walk down to catch the bus to take us to our hotel. Piping hot showers, clean dry clothes, soft cosy beds – we were in heaven!

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Location: USA

Inca Trail – Day 3 Phuyupatamarca

6.00am wake up call this morning – but Faye and I were awake and up by 5.00am we were packed and ready to go by the time they came around to our tents with our early morning tea.

It rained all night – thought we were going to be washed away at one stage, and as we were near a creek the midges were bad – thank heavens Pete had some aerosol aeroguard (I only had a cream repellent) we were not bothered – had received a couple of bites (on the legs) yesterday but they are not too bad – not as bad as the bits that Leigh, Lyn and girls had, thank heavens they had pre warned us!

Also we have been pretty lucky as far as toilets go (was pretty concerned after what we had been told by Leigh and Lyn). At our campsites we had our own toilets – which was not without its troubles at times. On a couple of occasions the bags had become detached from the seats but the toilet porter managed to keep things under control. He used some type of chemical which dried everything out.

Would you believe it rained all day today, so much so that Rene decided to defer lunch (too wet for the porters to set up) which meant we walked straight through without a break – hard day and yesterday was meant to be the tough one!! So we walked from breakfast to campsite (2.00pm) without a break (6 hours) it was pretty tough walking through water constantly – coping with wet slippery rocks – most of the track was just rock after rock times covered in water – reminded me of walking on the rocks on the beach and also when we did the narrows in Nevada – but this just went on for hour after hour and the added challenge were the very steep inclines and declines. By the time we reached the camp I was soaked through, even my underwear, don’t know what happened with the gortex coat and waterproof boots but they didn’t work – I think Pete was the only one not soaked through – great recommendation for Ashley’s waterproof gear (Pete’s twin brother). I can recall as I was walking my feet were squelching in my boots – reminded me as a child playing in puddles in my gum boots. So because of the rain what was meant to be not too difficult a walk turned into the complete opposite. You had to be so careful of where and which rocks you walked on. Some stages particularly at the start the rock steps were huge especially for Faye and I with our short legs. We also walked through a couple of tunnels which were fairly dark and had steep steps as well. Even the plateau walking was a bit troublesome. At some stages we were walking along cliff with sheer drops up to 700metres. One of the ladies in our group fell – thank heavens she didn’t go over the side.

But all this aside, even with the rain and the horrid conditions, the scenery was magic, we passed through some beautiful tree laden areas where many of the trees were covered in lichen and others sported ‘old mans beard’ some trees were dripping with these. There were different flowers, including some really beautiful orchids. The vista was amazing – the clouds hanging really low on the mountains.

When we made base camp – we stripped off to change into some lovely warm clothes – to my horror my duffle bag which a porter had been carrying had managed to get wet – even though the things inside were in plastic bags they were still damp – including my sleeping bag. So I had nothing dry to change into. But thank heavens for Pete – he poked his head into my tent by this stage I was shivering so off he went brought back his thermals, thick soaks and a pair of gloves together with a cup of hot coca tea. He told me later he was worried as he thought I didn’t look too good.

We hung our clothes out to dry – to no avail! We had no choice but to toss them into plastic bags – including my gortex coat – it was soaked through. Would you believe even my money inside my money belt was soaked (this had been under about 4layers. I spread the notes out on my mattress to try and dry – this didn’t work real well. Fortunately for me when it started to rain I gave my passport to Pete to look after I didn’t want another drama like I had in Spain when I had problems with it getting wet and had to apply for a new one. My I phone and a camera were also wet but fortunately still continued to operate.

Once we had dinner it was straight into the tent to try and keep warm – the cook has really gone to a lot of trouble with our meals for desert tonight he made Faye and I cornmeal pancakes served with banana and a caramel syrup on top – they were delicious!

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Recent Messages

From Heidi, Brett, Brady
CONGRATULATIONS! We are so proud of you Granny and Sandra! The photos are amazing ... we enjoyed having you here so much!
Love us! xo
Response: Thanks Guys - loved being there with you and sharing Parker's 1st birthday. Thank you for all your confidence and encouragement for walking Th Inka trail The reality will probably come later - Granny Faye & Sandra xxxxx
From Christine
Congratulations on reaching your goals. That is fantastic. You are a great wonder Sandra and a great inspiration to many people, I wish I had half your strength.
Response: Thanks Christine - it has been the most amazing experience - our guide was very special which added to what I got from the experiene.
From Paul Slatter
Hi Sandra, fantastic to hear and see of your adventures. The Grand Canyon is truly amazing and hard to capture the scale in photos - as good as these ones are. Showery day here in Bris on fathers day but nothing like the downpoor in SE Vic. Great to see such a wet winter again. Benalla and Wang on evacuation alert with possible floods. Have a safe flight back this week.
Response: Thanks Paul - hope you enjoy the new pages I hve just put up - it has been an amazing experience.
From Bob and Diane
Have a great time - we're keeping up with all your activities via the internet.
Sorry we have not got back to you - no access to internet. Once again thank you so much to both of you for our Vegas/Nevada experince - we will hold the memories for a long time xx
From christine
Hi there - glad you are having such a great time. We have not settled very well back home and could do with a good old chat with you. So get your act into gear and get back here, stop this traveling round the globe enjoying yourself. :)
Response: Hi Christine, We made it!!!
boy what a challenge - 2 days walking in the rain soaking wet and freezing in the night. Looking forward to catching up with you and Ken over a couple of glasses of bubbly!
From Randi
Hi girls:
Am enjoying so much reading about your trip!
Good luck and I will continue
reading every day - I will live thru you.
Thanks and was great seeing you Faye and meeting Sandra!

... Randi
Response: Thanks Randi - sorry for the delay in responding - we didnt have access to internet - have just uploaded more pages of photos hope to get the text finished today before we leave for Australia
From Robert Hall
Hi Sandra, I hope your brain has enough space to store all that great scenery...and with Peru to come! Love the pics. Robert
Response: Hello Robert,
The brain is suffering from info overload at the moment - and wow Peru - an amazing place - trying to get photos etc together to update planet range
From Liz Robinson
Hi Sandra, Just catching up on the travel adventure... Wow you sound like your having soooo much fun. Hope all is going ok and walks/hikes have been good. (I havnt read every entry). Wishing you hapiness and health for your next chapter, the highlight trek..Good luck.
Regards Liz
Response: Hi Liz, Well I did it sure was a challenge - but my training paid off - maybe not as fast as some of the others but they were more than half my age.
From Ken Slatter
Monday night just caught up on the latest and the photos,brilliant. Eventually tracked Ashley down.Ejoy the flight to Lima, the highlight is fast approaching. Love you xoxoxo
Response: Thanks, had a lovely night with Leigh Lyn and girls last night - really excited about Lima - meet Pete at the airport at midnight - 2 hour time difference - Love you
From Christine Curnow
So glad all is well for you both, how exciting to do all those marvelous things,I am exhausted just reading of your adventures.Keep up the good work and stay safe, from Christine and Ken, Bendigo
Response: Many thanks guys. Yes we are on our way home now when we leave LA tonight. Will catch up very soon. Love, Faye & sandra
From Sanfaye's Travel Pag
Hi Faye & Sandra,
What a great story you have written of your travels. I've finally caught up with it all this afternoon. (Sunday)
Response: Yes Joyce, Sandra is quite a journalist and has captures out adventure so well. Thank you for your comments.We enjoy hearing from home.
From Dodie Wirth
I'm so happy to read that you are having a wonderful time. I had the good fortune to study weaving and sculptural design courses at the Banff Centre for Fine Arts for 5 summers (when in my 30's--an early start on my BID (before I die) list. The Rockies are fab. But, I must admit that Jim and I had your reaction when we travelled and flew into and through the Kimberlies in Aus on our Outback camping adventure with our Brissie chum Di Lowe. Retirement can be casual and laid back, and then there are those of us that actually turn it into a "job" and don't waste a minute. Jim and I are having a fab time cruising the east coast of Canada and US on MARLOWE.
Sorry we weren't home to welcome you but I think your time with the kids was probably much too short.
Enjoyed this read so much.
Dodie, in Brockville, Ontario
Response: Dodie & Jim, how nice to hear of your travels too. Yes we had a great time with the family and Brady was sooo upset at the airport when we left. I was not much better. Catch you soon.
From Ken Slatter
Beautiful photos. The Triumph you like is the model I am currently working on, long way to go. It is now completely stripped down and the chassis is being sand blasted ready for a coat of rust proofing paint. Tried to look at all the photos at work on the way home, work computer crashed, Notebook still OK. I am doing this message on your computer, found this site by googling, the power of google never fails to amaze me. Love you xxxxx
Response: How about that I thought it looked the same - I do take some notice after all! Pleased you found us - trying to do a big chunk again today Love you
From Astrid
Well done girls! You're raising the bar to incredible heights - 20K! Keep it up - hope you've still got time/energy to take photos :) enjoy the scenery all the best xxx
Response: The ultimate challenge of the trip is starting in 2 days in Peru. We fly there tomorrow so really looking forward to the Inks track.
From Ken Slatter
Great to hear about the Triumphs what makes the guy think I will be selling any.There were about 600 Sprints imported into Australia no idea how many are left. You seem to specialise in cutting it fine for flights and trains, easy seeing my influence of being there an hour early has gone by the board. Keep enjoying and checking out what is worth seeing for when we go back if that is in your plans. Love you xx
Response: Excuse me, the cutting the flight and train fine has not been within our control. Just as well in some instances that I have learnt your lesson well otherwise these little instances may have been major dramas
And yes, I have put a lot of things on a bucket list for us to explore when I get back - Love you
From Kath & Colin
Thoroughly enjoying following your adventures!
Great seeing photos that bring back memories. This will be an experience you will never forget. An inspiration for 60+'s!
Bike ride around Australia looking good Faye!
Finding gold but small in size.
Kath and Colin

Response: Yes it is proving to be a dream come true. Every segment has been so special with alot of hiking including to keep our fitness up for the Grand finale. Let's start planning the bike ride now!!!!!
From Ken Slatter
Fantastic photos and a great story keep it coming it makes up for not being there. Car races were good today am now on my way home, very windy and cold some rain developing. Love youxxxxx
Response: I have pages of notes and 100's of photos - takes time to type up and post and then with photos to go through select some appropriate ones downsize and post. Hope to get some more up in the next day or so.
Love you
From Neil - Hike this
Hi Sandra!

Thank you for all the kind words! I'd love to post them, along with a photo of you and Faye on my satisfied customer page if that's okay with the two of you. Let me know.

I can't thank you enough for such an enjoyable day last Friday. You're both such a pleasure to be with!

I hope you had a pleasant flight to Vancouver and hope you enjoy your time there. I mailed your photos yesterday to Brett and Heidi's address. I trust you'll receive them before you depart for Peru.

Do have a spectacular remaining journey and a safe return to Victoria and please let me know when you get the itch again for another hike in Vegas.

Take good care of each other!


Response: Thanks Neil - I certainly hope that I can return in the near future. Keep smiling
From Ken Slatter
Hi sweetie, photos are great what happened to 5th,6th,7th,8th,9th,and 10th the story is so good I dont want to miss anything, keep enjoying.
Love Ken
Response: I forgot to change the date it comes up automatically on the day you are writing it - Will try and change it tonight if I can get access. Sxx
From Virginia
thnx for the news it is very enjoyable to read. Can it get any more exciting? love and best wishes for even more enjoyment. Love Virginia
Response: I didnt believe it could but new experiences unfold each day
Love Sandra & Faye
From Faye & Sandra
Thank you all soooo much for your interest in our amazing journey. We are having an awesome time, but still look forward to that home connection. Today we are on with the hiking gear and off exploring Vancouver on foot. Brett has mapped out a course for us to cover about 6 hours. Cheers, F & S
From Ken Slatter
Keep enjoying, it all sounds very exciting. Angel and I are enjoying each others company she will not be so happy now that I am back at work. The car projects are "moving forward", boy am I sick of that expression less than two weeks until voting day can't come soon enough for me. Missing you lots 1 month to go Love Ken xxxxxx
Response: Each day unolds another adventure - have sorted through some more photos so should be able to update them soon
miss you heaps - hey dont count down the time - next time yu will have to come as well
From Jenni
Your writing is so descriptive - it's like I'm there too (wish I was). Can't wait to see all your photos - jenni
Response: Pleased you are enjoying the jourals - having a fabulous time - we need to think about another holiday
Love Sandra xx
From Christine
Wow what a story so far, i love hearing all about your wonderful adventures.
Response: They are getting better all the time
From Jason
Thanks for you Emails by the sounds of thing you are having a great time all you need is for someone to turn down the heat a little. I have been forwarding your emails to Emily so she knows what you have been up to.
Response: We are in much cooler climate now left Vegas in 40's arrived in Vancouver n 16 degrees. Hope Emily enjoys reading about our trip
love mum