Shits and giggles
Matt - I arrived down from Machu Picchu to the small town of Aguas Calientes on the bus with Ben, smelly and tired. I couldn't wait to see the family and give them all a massive hug. It was something I had rehearsed many times over as I shivered away on the trail.
However, things that day hadn't been as planned. Poor Rach and Anna had suffered from food poisoning and were white as ghosts. I still got the warm welcome but it was obvious that we were competing for who felt the worst! That night was pretty low key as my digestion could only handle half a meal and the girls sat and watched us eat - that was all they could trust their bodies to do!. So much for partying to celebrate the day just had.
Rach - The trip to Aguas Calientes by train was gorgeous. Stunning views running along the river passing more Incan terraces and intriguing little homes that really seemed to be in the middle of nowhere. It was hard what life would be like for these people. We had received an upgrade in trains which saw us in a carriage with a sky view and catering. The kids were all excited to be travelling by train and the hour and a half journey went in a flash. It was probably the only trip so far I wished had been longer. Our accommodation was a short walk from the train station. An advantage in terms of carrying bags but you guessed it - it was insanely noisy! We took the kids for a wander round town which had a bit of an ski resort feel to it - bustling with tourists, restaurants and bars. We were enticed into a restaurant offering a 20% discount for kids. The meal was fine apart from having to keep our puffer jackets on to eat - no one seems to want to heat their restaurant here. We decided to make it an early night after spending most of the day travelling and were given our bill only to find an additional 20% service charge - yip we were had!
The next day we had big plans for shopping in the market. I went to bed feeling a bit "off" but didn't think to much of it till an urgent call to the bathroom at about 2am. Man did I felt crook - 2 hours of both ends left me feeling a little like death warmed up. Around 7am I text Anna who was a floor above to tell her I wasn't well - only to get a reply a few seconds later saying she wasn't either! Some meal we'd both eaten in the last couple of days had left us reaping the consequences. Thank goodness the kids were still okay.
So Anna managed to walk the kids down to breakfast which was one step more than I could muster. She appeared at my door bent over in an L shape in her pj's. She dropped them off downstairs and made a hasty retreat back to her bed. The 5 kids had a ball at breakfast. I imagine they were looking like a group of young backpackers - they described getting some funny looks but relished the responsibility of ordering their own breakfasts and helping each other out. Holly and Toby even managed to go 3 doors down and get me some water and lemonade - pretty awesome considering the language challenges. So that was our day. Anna and I eventually parked up in the same room and the kids had unhindered electronic time - a rare treat indeed. We excelled ourselves and managed a walk around the block o buy them bread rolls and a packet of chips for lunch. Thank goodness for antibiotics and we gradually felt better during the course of the day. A few laughs were had relishing how much fun this travelling lark was and what we'd write in the blog. Anna's only request was the title - "Shits and giggles". So there you are buddy I dedicate this one to you - a memorable day of friendship and one I care not to repeat.
Around 5pm the boys arrived back from their massive efforts in their run - not to the warm welcome and fanfare we'd hoped for. We headed out for dinner that night and were well and truly the life and souls of the party. Eating half a bread roll each and a glass of water woohoo bring on tomorrow!
Matt: The next morning we decided to miss our booked in early morning tour of Machu Picchu as the weather was overcast and there was no chance to see the sunrise. Instead of getting the 5.30am bus we headed up at the more leisurely time of 10am. For the first hour we found a quiet spot which had great views of the ancient town.
Perched 7000 feet above sea level Machu Picchu is nestled on a small hill top in the Andean Mountain range unseen from the Urabamba valley below. The Incan built structures has been deemed the "Lost Cities" as they were only recently discovered in 1911.
We spent a good hour taking photos and just enjoying where we were. The views and scale are simply breath-taking - we continued to be in awe of the Incan's. The next two hours we wandered around taking short breaks from the sun which by now was out and in full force. The irony of the day before slogging my guts out in the rain and snow to now being a shorts and t-shirt day was not lost on me.
It would have been nice to have a guide with us to explain it all as we had had with Jamie through the Sacred Valley but sometimes you have to compromise. The sleep in for Ben and I to rest our weary bodies and also the extra time it gave the girls to recover was greatly appreciated. In the end we spent 3 hours at Machu Picchu. The kids did really well during this time.
The rest of the day we checked out more markets and tried to avoid steps as they were causing a fair amount of discomfort with my wee legs. That night we all attended the Dinner put on by the running company. It was good chance to catch up with the other runners. Ben and I didn't get much time with them but it was nice to be able hear their stories, of which many where more horrific than my own. One of which was a runner who took 14 hours to get to the 36km mark to camp for the night. 5am to 7pm running and then have to camp and finish the next day!
The next morning we took the train back to Ollyantambo and then a mini van to Cusco. The girls had raved about the scenic train trip and it was stunning. A much easier option to travel that distance!
Once back in Cusco we moved into the Loreto Boutique Hotel right on the edge of the Plaza De Armas. It was a dash to get washing done. The 2 hour laundry service was taken for an extra $1 per kilo! Last minute shopping and then dinner. Tonight was going to be the night we tried Cuy (Guinnea Pig) however a moral dilema arose within our family. Instead we decided we would pass on the national dish and support those who were passionately apposed. The Bolitho family tucked into one and reported how delicious it was.
After getting kids to bed Anna, Ben, Rach and myself meet in the lobby and had a coffee and chatted away on what was our last night together. It had been great having their company and share the experiences. The two sets of kids had a ball catching up with each other. There were some occasions you would pinch yourself as we had meal in a small local restaurant and that we were in Peru and not at home.
The next morning we were flying to Quito to start our Ecuador adventure.