Arrived safely into Peru a few days ago. Crossing the border was easier than first thought.
So far,Peru has been a welcomed change from Bolivia. Both Puno and Cusco seem to have a middle ground standard of living between Bolivia and Chile. In particular, we have loved having better and more interesting food served in front of us, and have been indulging in the delights of fresh seafood (in particular, trout from Lake Titicaca).
Of particular note, we visited Lake Titicaca and stayed with a family of six at Laquina Chico, a small remote community, who helped teach us what life is like on the highest altitude lake in the world. We had the opportunity to play a football (soccer) match against the locals in ¨Team Gringo¨ as an ice breaker, but were sadly defeated. Very proud to report that Niall was the star of Team Gringo, kicking two out of our four goals. At night, we were treated to dinner with our family, which involved lots of broken Spanish and hand gestures to communicate and great food. It was really nice to finally have a home-cooked meal. Luckily for us, we had the pleasure of spending much of the night playing with three of the family´s four kids, which made the language barrier much easier to overcome. The family the dressed us up in traditional costumes for their community, for a fiesta. This mean that Niall got to wear a hot pink poncho, a colourful ¨man bag¨ and a cow-boy like hat, whilst I had to endure five skirts, a buttoned up jacket, a massive white sash and a strange bowler hat with tassles. We were then taught to dance and partied with the locals, before spending the night with the family. It was so sad to leave them the next morning, when we headed to the floating islands of Uros (completely made of reeds) and then back to Puno.
Cusco is a really lovely city to be spending a fair amount of time in. There is a really nice mix of colonial and Incan architecture in the city´s buildings. It reminds me very much of Rome, where the city has been built around the ruins/foundations of the ancient civilisations. I´ve really loved learning more about the Incan culture and have seen many different types of archealogical sites during our travels through Bolivia and Peru. Cannot wait for Machu Picchu!!
Whilst in Cusco, we had to arrange for a new guide due to unfortunate circumstances. We left the city this morning with a new guide and our Inca Trail guide, who both seem nice enough. We arrived in Ollaytantambo via the Sacred Valley late this afternoon, which are simply beautiful sites to visit. After receiving the keys to our room, I promptly threw up lunch and called for a doctor to investigate (I also threw up dinner last night)., since I didn´t want to head off tomorrow not being able to keep down my food. Thankfully the doctor was very thorough and seemed to know what he was doing (specialising in travel health), and gave me some antibiotics, which hopefully will make things better. He also gave me something for the cough I left Australia with that worsened in Bolivia! At least he didn´t say it was the altitude!!! Niall took advantage of my doctor´s call, and had himself checked out. He was diagnosed with tonsilitis and bronchitis in the left lung… After my nagging for him to buy some more warm clothes and to look after himself all these weeks! Thankfully he listened to the doctor and our guide, and allowed me to take him shopping for warm clothes for the Trail. He looks like a complete gringo now with a llama beanie, llama jumper and an alpaca scarf!!!
Anyway, Inca Trail tomorrow… Best be off to bed to recover from our respective conditions and to prepare for the long hike to Machu Picchu. Wish us luck!