the torture begins...

Cusco Travel Blog

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At 6.30am we were picked up by the Tucan bus and met up with the rest of the people on the tour.  There were only 3 people from my hotel (including me) who were hooking in to the main Tucan tour (which lasted 65 days) just to do the Trail.  There were about 15 walkers in total and 17 porters.  The porters were amazing!  they carried everything, the tents and sleeping bags and extra clothes of the walkers as well as all the food, seats, a 9kg gas bottle and oven!

We stopped at a town with a really long name, Ollay...tamba (can{t remember te whole thing) for breakfast and I met Claire, the english-speaking tour person employed by Tucan to accompany the walkers.  Small small world, she was a New Zealander from Christchurch who studied travel and tourism at the same school as me at the same time.  The O town was beautiful with a huge central square surrounded by shops, including one with (thank God) an ATM machine so I could get out some pesos.  While we were not exactly mobbed by the hawkers when we got off the bus, there was certainly the impression that the locals were competing for our business.

After some brekky and purchases of last-minute junk food, we re'boarded the bus to head for the starting point of the trail.  This was about another 20 minutes further down the road.  Did I say road?  I mean single lane track, rutted, potholed, bouncy, rather too exhilerating for that time of the morning!  The bus drivers on the road were constantly stopping, reversing, waiting, inching round each other to avoid scraping the sides of the vehicles against each other.  It was an impressive display of driving.

We had our photo taken at the beginning of the Trail as a group and that was the last time we were a group except at the campsites.  There was one other NZer who was insanely fit and she shot well ahead ofthe group every day with her partner (an Australian).  The rest of the group was spread out and you guessed it. . . i was at the back, puffing and huffing and sweating and thinking why did i want to do this again?  the crazy thing is the walk was no moer difficult than traversing Chrischurch - it was pretty flat and occasionally undulating... but no hills yet.  The altitude was the killer.

After what <i thought was a fairly torturous walk of about 4.5-5 hours, I staggeredinto first camp.  My feet were killing me.  Already.  And I was already impressed with theporters who raced ahead of us to set up lunch camp, dismantled that, overtook us and set up evening camp and cooked dinner!

there was a miscalculation with the number of tents and I ended up sharing with Claire which was not a problem because she was very informative and we ended up gossipiong about New Zealand alot.

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photo by: Vlindeke