Another day and another feat overcome in the life of an injured backpacker. Having traipsed around a couple of tour agencies in Cusco with my long suffering travel companion, I can confirm that you cannot do the entirety of the Macchu Picchu trek on a donkey. The results are in and you will need to be able to walk at the least along a train track for three hours.
Bleary-eyed and crumpled against the bus window, I roused myself from sleep and looked up at my companions. Following their gaze, I looked left and felt that heart-dropping sensation people talk about..I wasn’t looking left, I was looking down and I could have scooped some mud off the mountain floor, despite being sat in a bus.
Guess the rain and the bad roads had finally caught up with us.
National Geographic had a brilliant article the other week about the shocking plastic waste that’s collecting across our oceans and coastlines. It’s horrifying and distressing and I’m so glad that we’re finally waking up to the reality. The article included the handy list of how to reduce/reuse/recycle without overly inhibiting your lifestyle: carry a re-usable bag, decline plastic straws etc. However, they missed off a way in which you can actually improve your lifestyle and help the planet, use a Mooncup.
Full of conflict, I stared longingly into the travel agent’s eyes.. Could he tell me if the next eight days would be full of sunshine and no rain… Please let it be.
Despite my better thoughts, Irish enthusiasm, US determination, French.. je ne sais quoi and Israeli courage had convinced me into handing over 900 soles to Jose for the Huayhuash trek. I was in, committed to the 105km, 5000m high and 8 pass mountain trek… with 8 other strangers for the next week.
It was the season but quite incredibly we’d found another road in Bolivia that was ‘too dangerous for a bus’. Perhaps with the most extreme anecdotes so far. And so, we were swayed enough to swap the perilous 20+ hour bus journey for the 90 minute plane ride. It was worth it alone for the bird’s eye views. This was flashpacking at its best.
This walk is just breathtaking and I adored every step of it over the three days. Perhaps two of my favourite elements is that it costs nothing and you can navigate it all yourself. Complete freedom!
Feeling trapped by the city, Reid and I started to check out the possible day tours from Quito. Cotopaxi seemed to tick all the boxes, not too far (55km), the opportunity to exercise and hopefully, as the world’s third highest active volcano, some stunning views.
After the comfort and tranquility of Colombian coaches, Ecuadorian buses and vendors were a bit of a shock to the system. The sheer quantity of food/drink/ice cream sellers boarding was absurd… I think I increased in weight on Ecuadorian buses alone. Further advice includes: don’t expect air-con or wifi and empty your bowels before departure..lest you wish to have a hasty toilet break at some remote stop, sweating and stressing about an imminent bus departure without you on board. 🙈
My border crossings were thankfully without drama and so this post is more for informative use rather than jovial entertainment. Although, as ever, feel free to be entertained.