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marge & ian’s Travel Diary

Thursday, 26 Jan 2006

Location: THE INCA TRAIL - PERU - DAY 1, Peru

Map*THE INCA TRAIL - PERU* - DAY 1

26/01/06

TOTAL WALKING TIME: 6 hrs
TOTAL DISTANCE: 14km

We had to meet at the tour company at 5.30am. As we walked down our road which had a number of nightclubs we realised that Cuzco had a very lively nightscene. We were walking with our bags through people pissed up and only just making their way home. Not surprised that we hadn´t realised this before now, as we had been in bed before 10.00pm since we arrived because we were struggling with the altitude.

After all 15 of the tour group had arrived we set off towards the Inca Trail on a minibus. Half an hour before the start we stopped off in a village where the locals sold us essential items such as walking sticks, coca leaves and warm socks.

At the drop off point we met our porters who would be carrying most of our stuff, in addition to all the tents, gas hobs, gas canisters, roll mats, table, chairs, food, portable fridge and lots lots more! There were 15 trekkers and 20 porters in our group.

The Inca Trail is all managed very efficiently these days to help preserve it from the thousands of feet that trample along it every year. So after presenting our passes and passports we crossed a raging river and the fun began!..

The trail started off fairly flat but very scenic as we were walking alongside the river. The only difficulty at this point was that the weather changed every 5 minutes between blazing sun and downpours, so we were constantly putting on and taking off our wet weather gear. We had been warned that the afternoon would be more strenuous. It was obvious this wasn´t going to be a problem for the porters who we saw running past us in their sandals with 25kg wrapped in blankets on their backs.

Shortly after passing our first Inca Ruin we walked a little further and had some lunch. When we arrived we were amazed to find a tent already set up and inside the tent was a 16 seater table all set up with tablecloth and stools. After a warming cup of tea, the food arrived. It was a 3 course meal and the food was presented as if it was in a Gordon Ramsay restaurant, it tasted great too. I think that we both over ate.

The guiders we not exaggerating, the afternoon was very difficult indeed, the trail got steeper and steeper and both me and Ian were struggling to catch our breath. What was worse was that the steps were getting steep and our legs were turning to jelly, but we perservered (with a little help from our walking sticks) and finally reached the camp just before we collapsed.

Amazing once again the porters had set up the "banqueting tent" and 8 two man tents, dinner was on the stove as we gorged on salted popcorn and cups of tea!

They never let us down with dinner, which was even better than lunch. Soon after dinner the cold weather at 3,400m made us go to bed and wrap up in our warm clothes and sleeping bags. We slept like logs.