The last 10 days in Peru have been a blast with one major factor being that I have been living the high life thanks to my mum. You know you are in for luxury when someone meets you at the airport with a sign and your name...You don't get that at bus stations and hostels!! Every airport or train station there was a rep awaiting our arrival...every morning there was a taxi picking us up for another tour...have not had to plan or think or lift a finger and has been awesome...a taste of the high life!! This is down to Llama Tours who have done a great job in organising a top trip. The nice thing about this section of my trip has been the numerous flights and luxurious train rides compared to the uncomfortable bus seats.
Another comforting factor has been the great people we have met along the way. Our fellow travellers have been of a mature nature but have had the same energy and enthusiasm to travel as both mum and I. Sharing Machu Picchu with Ian and Heather and the Andean Explorer/Puno with Wendy and John has showed me that travel later in life isn't about cruises and socks n sandels...although John's Moon Boots to dinner was a step too far!! We had some giggles and fun times not least helped by numerous Pisco Sour's...my mum being the instigator with 10.30am our earliest drink!!
Our daily routine was to find the nicest hotel and have a Pisco Sour to relax from the day activities...our first night involved Cuy a local Guinea Pig...very meaty taste like pigeon...luckily saw them alive the next day otherwise might of had second thoughts to eating pet Snuffles!
Travelling with your mum does create some awkward situations...one bel-boy thought we were on our honeymoon...Awkward...then someone on the Andean Explorer didn't believe we were mother/son...think they thought I was older than I look!!
We started our Peru trip in Cuzco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. Our tour guide Yashira was a gold mine of information and facts that explained life in Peru during the Inca times. But what really blew me away were the ruins and architectural designs of the Inca people to make these temples, terraces and palaces. The various blocks of rock fitted perfectly with one another so much so that you couldn't fit a piece of paper between them...all made by hand and when you see the terrain you appreciate how hard it was to create these amazing sites. You also have to remember that the altitude in this area is between 2700m and 3300m...given I struggled to walk up stairs how they did heavy lifting who knows!!
The highlight obviously was Machu Picchu which is a wonder of the world...and WOW what a site to behold...meets and exceeds expectations!! Some do the Inca trail and walk into the site for sunrise...for the glamorous travellers like ourselves we took the scenic train with a see-through roof along the river valley to the site and with our pinky out drinking Coca tea it was a fine way to arrive...much different to the Inca's before us!!
The site is huge and will let the photos below do the talking. Many great views and stories had us captivated for hours...just a shame had to share with the numerous tourists. Without mum in tow the following day I climbed Wayna Picchu above Machu Picchu for excellent views...highlight being the mist clearing as I got nearer the top to reveal the beauty of the place.
The train journey back was amusing as mum got pulled up to model some alpaca clothes using the carriage as her catwalk...after a few wolf whistles from the SAGA crowd she unfortunately had no takers...and for the shawl! Luckily she was already on her 3rd Pisco Sour to help with the "Blue Steel" pose.
The Machu Picchu train was good but the Andean Explorer put it to shame...armchairs, linen table clothes and teak toilets meant this was a luxurious way to travel from Cuzco to Lake Titicaca. Highlight was the open carriage at the back next to the bar to admire the glaciers and villages up to 4300m in altitude. Like true Brits when we heard on the tannoy that free Pisco Sour was in the bar Wendy, John, mum and myself scrummaged to the bar to maximise our opportunity for a refill. By the time of the Pisco Sour making course in the afternoon we were well oiled and we all had a great laugh sharing stories...it was a shame it all had to come to an end...gave me the taste to do more trains journeys like Trans-Siberian and bullet train...perhaps another sabbatical?!?
For me this was Lake Titicaca part 2 as have already visited from the Bolivian side. Once again it was still impressive...highest lake in the world. We went to go see the floating islands where a community lives...islands, houses and boats made from reeds. Although Disney-like it gave an insight into their strange existence. After walking into one home to see how they live I emerged in traditional dress with the lady heavily hinting that we should get married...although the altitude makes you think fuzzy I politely declined and said will call back in a few years time should I still be single!!
Unfortunately all good things must come to an end and so as I write this blog from the hotel lobby but my old travel existence must continue so to bring me back to reality with a bang I have booked an overnight bus journey north to do some trekking with the obligatory hostel dorm the following night.
Not many people have the pleasure of sharing travel with their folks but I am lucky that I was able to share 3 weeks in Peru with my mother. To share the amazing experiences together and to give her the opportunity to come to South America has been fantastic...Probably doesn't do my street cred any good but I don't care!!