Thursday, 30 August 2012

Matchu Pitchu

Trully one of the 7 wonders of the world. Stayed in Aguas Calliente (hot water) the night before having been given told about the hostel by a guy who works there who cycled past us on a bike. Just a quick overview of the costs involved in matchu Pitchu:

Option 1: Expensive and lazy (how most old people do it):
Bus from cuzco to Ollantaytambo = 5 Dollars
Train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas calliente = 60 dollars
Hotel booked in advance = 30 to 600 dollars
Gringo Meal = 10 dollars
Bus up the mountain = 9 dollars
Entry to Matchu Pitch = 58 dollars
Bus down the mountain = 9 dollars
Train from Aguas calliente to Ollantaytambo = 60 dollars
Bus from Ollantaytambo to cuzco = 5 Dollars
Total = 246 dollars

Option 2: Inca Trail
4 days hiking and camping, circa 450 dollars all in

Option 3: Jungle trail
 4 days  hiking and camping  150 - 200 dollars (depending on how good you bargain)
Optional extra of rafting and zip lining + 30 dollars

The way we did it in 3 days:
Bus from cuzco to Pino = 2 dollars
Menu del dia in Pino = 2 dollars
Bus from Pino to urubamba = 1 dollar
Taxi to Maras = 1 dollar (we snuck in the back way so didnt pay to get in!)
Taxi back to urubamba = 1 dollar
Bus to Ollantaytambo = 1 dollar
1 night in a budget but great dorm in Ollantaytambo = 5 dollars
AMAZING 2 course Menu Del dia in Ollantaytambo = 2 dollars
Return bus we booked in cuzco from Ollantaytambo to Aguas then from Aguas to Cuzco = 32 dollars
Walked next to the 15 dollar train tracks = free
1 night in Aguas = 5 dollars
Bus up the mountain (lazy, could have walked!) 9 dollars
Entry to Matchu Pitchu = 58 dollars
Bus down the mountain (lazy, could have walked!) 9 dollars
Walked next to the 15 dollar train tracks = free
Couple of meals on the way back = 4 dollars
Total = 132 dollars

So in the end we beat the system and had a cracking adventure on route. Oh you wanna know about Matchu Pitchu? have a look at my photos on facebook, although it doesnt entirely do it justice it is trully magnificent. Better than the Taj, better than Angkor Wat, better than the oprah house, better than most things Ive seen.

And while I was up Winna Pitchu (the mountain next to Matchu Pitchu that gives you a view from the other side) I managed to find a quiet little spot away from the crowds. I sat there with tiggs next to me and realised that this magnificent site marks an end to an epic years journey. And I sat there, for about 10 minutes, no photos, no talking and just soaked it in. And its moments like that one that define a trip like this. This was the view as I sat there:

Ok, so tiggs may have learnt how to photo bomb!

So just 2 weeks left folks, just Ayawaska and a weekend on the raz in Lima to go. This is probably one of the last entrys so thanks for reading and for all your feedback.

Wish me luck with this voodoo crap.....

The Sacred Valley

While the three of us (Nat Gareth and Me) were in cuzco we+d looked at loads of options for how to do Matchu Pitchu. Originally my plan was to do a jungle trek (4 days) which would have possibly been slightly more cost effective but not by a lot and I wouldnt have got to see the sacred valley as the whole time would have been spent walking with one day of cycling. I have also got to the stage now where organised tours are starting to get on my tits. So after much deliberation we decided to spend the first day making our own way to Pisac (which was good for me as thats where I needed to go next so I could drop off my big bag there). We arrived there and headed off to see my Shamen Javier. Unfortunately Javier wasnt there so Im meeting him later today. I really hope he isnt a total nutter, I just watched a video of an american guy who does Ayawaska in Cusco (for half the price) but he just looks like a spaced out wanker. A girl here at reception says that shes heard that Javier isnt a very good shamen but shes never been to him and as she rates this american nutter, having done ayawaska with him, im going to take the tour guide I met in La Paz opinion over hers. I dont know if I mentioned it yet but I got told by about this shamen from an Aussie guy called Mark who did my death road bike tour in La Paz. mark was in his late 30s and a really interesting charecter. He told me how his life in australia was really stressfull because he would get really frustrated with Australian polotics, specifically going to war with America, so he decided he needed a break, sold up everything has been travelling and working ever since. He said that since hes been away he hasnt had time, or hasnt wanted to, keep in touch with polotics and has disconected from media. I totally agree with this line of thought, whats the point of watching the news, you only get a twisted view of something you cant controll anyway. 

I digresss. So anyway, on arrival in Pisac I went to leave my bag at the place that is just down the road from Javiers ritual centre as Javier said on his website that it was a good place for budget travellers at 30 sols a night (4 sols to a pound). On arrival there the lady who worked there told me that those prices were 7 years out of date and it was now 59 sol a night. 15 fucking pounds for a room, no internet, no breakfast, nothing. The only USP she offered was that it was quite and out of town, which I saw a down point because it was 20 minutes walk to the shops! So I sacked her off and found a place for a meger 20 sols a night saving myself 40 pounds for my time in Pisac. Winner! Then we grabbed a bus to urabamba and from there took a taxi to see Maras, essentially a salt mine in the mountain. Ill get some photos put on FB when I figure out a good way to get them from my phone. As it stands I can only upload them one at a time to my mobile uploads folder and I want to have a specific peru folder. Heres something I nicked from google images:

So this salt mine was pretty cool and we met a couple who were cycling from Mexico to Argentina. They had been on the road for 3 months and had another 3 left. Pretty damn cool way of doing it I thought, but Id defo do it on a motorbike if it were me. 

We were kind of running out of time so couldnt see moray, but we met some german trainee doctors (I just keep bumping into german doctors!) who showed us some photos and it didnt look all that. Then we took a bus to Ollantaytambo (try saying that 10 times fast!) where we met a pretty cool lady who had a hostel in town. It was pretty new and shed done a crackingt job with the rooms and comunial area, and even had some genuine duvets! (duvets are a real rarety in South America so i get very excited when I get them in a hostel). She showed us the surrounding hills and pointed out all the inca ruins and honestely it looked really impressive. Yoink:

This lady was from hartfordshire and decided to sell up her house and hit the states. From there she met someone who she travelled to Peru with (who annoyed the tits off her so she ditched him) and is now shacked up with the hostel owner. So the hostel owners familly has some land that she is wanting to invest in so that she can build her own healing centre, which is what she did back in England. Shes sold her house back in England so has the money in the bank. Did I say land? I meant to say an entire fucking valley with the surrounding mountains and a river! This blew my mind, most people save up to buy a car or a flat, she was buying an entire valley! 

So unfortunately we only had one night in Ollantaytambo so we got up early to see some of the surrounding ruins but didnt get to see the Wall of the Six Monoliths which Id seen a documentary on and is basically 6 massive stones that some people think were made by aliens because there is no way that the Incas had the technology to move or cut these stones.

Such an informative blog entry this one. You can tell Ive been fillin up on culture and havent had a drop of alcohol since Friday! After seeing some sights we waited for our organised bus to pick us up. Do you know what, Im not going to rant for ages about the journey to and from Matchu Pithcu, basically they fully bodged the job and added a whole heap of stress and confusion to our journey. So today I went to the office and calmly articulated my dissatisfacyion with the tour, got compensation money for an additional taxi ride we had to get and walked away feeeling very pleased with myself. I hate complaining as I either cant be bothered with the agro or lose my shit and end up shouting and swearing but this time I felt I got my point across very well :-)

Right, off to get a menu del dia for a quid then Ill write about the mighty matchu pitchu.....

Wednesday, 29 August 2012


Right, cuzco is the balls. Seriously, such a great city, it's got a great buzz about it, the arcitecture is awsome and although there is people selling you stuff everywhere, the plus side is you can get whatever you need. I had a quiet first night in first night (after a 4 pound massage!) then the next day was a lot more fun filled.

Woke up and wondered off to grab a Peru sim card for my phone. then did a walking tour and met up with Julia, my puma partner from Bolivia and her two, fellow german mates. The walking tour was great, went to a chocolate factory, a few resteraunts for some samplers, a couple of musiems and a good spot to look down on the city for a good view. Then afer a cracking menu del dia (menu of the day - usualy constitutes soup for starter, chicken/meat/veg plus rice and potatoes for main and a juice all for a quid!) I had a quick power nap before my night of carnage. I met up with ze germans at Loki (THE party hostel) and had a few drinks at the bar and chatted to a couple of people while they got ready. Then we had a few more drinks and by this point I was getting on really well with the bar staff so they were giving me quadriples for the price of singles! Then we went to do the pub crawl that the walking tour guide suggested but it was more expensive than he'd agreed (standard South America shit) so we went back to Loki and continued to get smashed. It was all a bit messy and involved some dancing on the bar, but all in all it was a top night.

Next day was a day of luxury, Macdonalds for breakfast, two kebabs for lunch then KFC for dinner. A bit of footy and that was about it!

The following day (sunday) was to be my last meat day so I went to the local shop and bought 12 chicken wings and fried them up with some garlic, tommato, chillie and onion. It was fucking delicious! After that me gareth and Nat headed up to Saqse woma (sexy woman) which is a fort on top of Cuzco. On advice from the tour guide we took a horse ride instead of paying the silly buggers amount to go in as a tour guide then snuck in the back after the ticket gaurds had finished for the day. Horse ride was a bit off, they clearly under fed and miss treated the horses a bit so I wasn't too happy but as it was gareths first time riding, and he was enjoying it so much, I didn't say anything negative. Plus we got to see the inca fort for pennies so it was all good.

Next day we headed to Matchu Pitchu (two days ago), but I'm too tired to give that report justice now, check out some of the bad ass picks I put on FB though!


Show me the way to go home....

Ok, before I write about cuzco, which is awsome, I just wanna have a wee vent. So after 11 and a half months of travel I really am looking forward to home time. Less than 2 weeks to go now :-) Having done Matchu Pitch today there is no more sight seeing to do. So I've cut out alcohol, all forms of sex, meat, 'recreational drugs' and caffine from my diet for the last few days in preperation for an ayawaska weekend. On Friday I'm going to do a San Pedro ritual then on Monday Ayawaska. This is all on recomendation from an Aussie tour guide in La Paz who has done ayawaska a few times and says its amazing. Then after I've done that I'll just have one more sinfull weekend left which I'll spend in Lima with antti, my finish friend from Paraguay. Then it's off home. For the record, I have absolutely no money left, so I'll be going back to england with no money and no possesions which is slightly daunting. I've been thinking alot about what job(s) I want to do when I get back and wether or not to go for something temporary or perminant. Probably end up doing call centre work as it pays well and is commitment free.

So yeah, really can't wait to get back and see all my friends and family. Oh, and I'm sick of these fuckers ripping me off because I'm a gringo so I want to get away from this continent! One last 20 hour bus journey to take.... joy.


Lake Titicaca - Isla del Sol

After a quick hop skip and a jump from La Paz we arrived in Copacobana (via a sneaky little flight from Rurrenbaque to La Paz - I was NOT taking that bus again!). At this stage (and ever since) I've been travelling with Nat and Gareth, an english couple I'd worked with at the Puma Park. After getting skanked by the La Paz taxi driver who wouldn't take us to the right stop and charged more than we agreed we then got a super cheap bus journey so carma was resumed. We spent that night in Copa Cobana which is basically just a tourist town full of lama jacket clad gringos and people selling junk. Sorry, I really shouldn't be writting this blog now, I've been up for 17 hours to get up for Machu Pitchu so I'm a tad tired and grouchy! Anyway, nothing special to report other than finally seeing the end of my bed bugs having washed every item of clothes I owned!

The next morning we got up and headed off to the dock to grab a boat to the Isla del Sol. On arrival there we'd realised we'd slightly fucked up as we'd got off on the south side of the island and the 'thing to do' is to get off on the north then walk down to the south visiting the sights on route. So basically we had a choice of shelling out money to take a private boat to the north or trecking for 7 hours to the north and back. I opted for door number three, I just got hammered on rum and coke and looked out on the balcany at the amazing views all day! It was pro. Meanwhile gareth and Nat went off for a walk and returned back to find a slightly tipsey and very sun burnt pete. So we headed off to watch the sunset which was pretty damn pretty, grabbed an over priced pizza then headed to bed.

The next day we trecked down the steps (oh, the walk up was minging with big bags, steep steps and high altitude!) and grabbed a boat back to shore. Then we shelled out for a decent overnight bus to cuzco and spent the rest of the day in a cafe watching Reading lose to Chelsea (Torres was a mile offside for the record) and sipping coca tea.

Boom, Isla de sol done.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Back to civilization

So that's it for the puma park. Had my last working day yesterday and said my goodbyes to all the volunteers, the family that run the park and Lishu (my puma). I can honestly say that I'm really going to miss the park, mainly for the people there and the cats. There were things that drove me nuts, mainly the mosquitoes, sand flies and bed bugs and one volunteer who would not stop moaning and complaining the entire time. On the subject of bed bugs, you don't really know true and absolute irritation until your junk has been hammered by the little bastards. And I'm sorry to get graffic here, but I mean the whole meat and two veg covered with about 20 bites. But that's all the ranting I'm going to do because it was an incredible experience and I want to focus on the positives :-)

My last couple of weeks I was on full days with Lishu with a scouser guy called Alan. It was kind of sad to be parted from Dave as I got on with him really well but Alan was a brilliant replacement. Really funny guy, nice and chilled and a beird the size of forrest gumps when he runs across america (see my FB photos for evidence!). Lishu was a bit of a brat on full days, when I took him out just in the afternoons he was focused on just doing his walk and getting back for his meat but on full days he was always trying to turn around on the trail, go outside his parimiter and not go back to his cage for lunch. And each time he didn't get his way he'd throw massive bitch fit and try to pull on the leesh with his teeth until he eventually realised he wasn't getting anywhere. Then he'd grumble and growl for the rest of the day because he'd worked himself up. Then   as soon as he was back in his cage he'd be purring and licking my hand again. He was like jeckel and hyde, in the cage he was a loveable cute cat, then as soon as he got outside he put his game face on and hated the world!

Oh, so the park is situated between two towns, Santa Ann and San Bueno. Now the two towns are argueing over a new road which will (one town believes) diminish the amount of through traffic meaning they'll lose trade where as the other town will benifit from the new road. So while one town was protesting about this at the other towns plaza, they decided to put 3 protesting women in stocks (as in the medieval stocks) and kick the crap out of them. This is all whilst the police look on and do nothing to stop it. I didn't actually wittness this but I was told about it by one of the towns doctors. So if you thought bolivia was developed and civilized, think again!

So special mention has to go to Molly and Dave, my favorite people at the camp. If anyone is thinking of doing volunteer work in boilivia I would definatly recomend Inti Wari Yassi ( as a brilliant organisation and a great experience. Gotta catch a flight to La Paz soon then I'm off to Cuzco in Peru. Really looking forward to going home now but I'm going to try and focus on enjoying the final few weeks of travelling, especially Machu Pitchu which I'm pretty sure will be the balls.

Peace out.