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The Inca Trail 2013

If you have any doubts about undertaking this expedition, fear not, it was safe but exciting, exotic and stimulating and what’s more, all in a good cause.

I could tell you about the tedious transatlantic flights, or the greyness of Lima with a population of 10M and zero rainfall but skies like the UK, or indeed the excitement of arriving in Cusco – terracotta roof tops and a bright blue sky interrupted only by mountains, big ones; but instead I am going to concentrate on the highs and lows of what was a wonderful, lifetime experience.

I had my arm twisted by an ‘old friend’ and it was something that I had wanted to do for a few years since I had lost my mum to cancer and she had always wanted to see Machu Picchu.

My worst moment was day 3 of the trip and day 3 of headaches, head pounding in the night and no painkillers touching it.  I seriously doubted that I might ever make the trek and felt homesick and wondered why I had spent all this time training and all this money on what was meant to be the trip of a lifetime, but our lovely guide suggested chilli and chocolate together – not something migraine suffers would reach for but on day 4 – first day of our trip – I woke without a headache and from thereon I never looked back.

The physicality of the trek was great – views intensely more beautiful (when it stopped raining) than photos suggest, fantastic flora to look at, varied vegetation, a wonderful quality to the air and to come back to a little piece of sanctuary (otherwise known as a tent!) with warm food to fill aching bodies was just the perfect antidote.

Arriving at Machu Picchu was a truly awesome sight, that literally took my breath away.  The low mist and raincloud of the last 2 days that prevented us from seeing the magnificent views dramatically lifted as we reached the Sun Gate and there was Machu Picchu in all her splendour, but with no one there!….  A landslide the night before that prevented our clean clothes from being couriered to us by train for our celebration meal (what do you mean you didn’t pack clean pants!!)  also meant that the usual day-trippers who came in by train were not there – in fact there was literally no one there at all.  The guides followed us down the mountain and locked up behind us, which meant we had the extraordinary experience that I doubt any money can buy – the Inca ruins to ourselves.

The rest of the trip was also great – fantastic food and flavours, beautifully worked woven fabrics and artefacts to buy in the markets, long legged llamas, festivities and experiences to absorb.  This was my first trip to South America and I am sure it will not be my last.  I came back to my family feeling revitalised and with all my senses stimulated.  I felt a great sense of achievement – an amazing solo trip that I would never have done without Walk the Walk as well as raising money for charity for the first time and meeting some lovely local people.

If you have any doubts about undertaking this expedition, fear not, it was safe but exciting, exotic and stimulating and what’s more, all in a good cause.

 

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