Following the previous experiences of bus rides, we were apprehensive to leave Nazca, to say the least. But we recognised that unless we wanted to live in Nazca for the rest of our lives, we would need to set foot on a bus one day. And in fact it was not a bad journey. Unlike the last bus journey this was a day-bus, and it was interesting watching the roadside vendors, trying to sell their wares by reaching up to the windows of the bus every time it stopped.
We arrived in Ica and were surprised that it looked very different to Nazca or Cusco – in fact it looked like what we imagine India might look like – very hot and dusty, with Tuk-Tuks. Continue reading
Sadly things started to go downhill a bit.
We were warned by our travel agent that the bus from Lima to Cusco was notorious for being held-up by bandits, who stop the large tourist bus and force the tourists to hand over valuables. I cannot verify the truthfulness of that statement, but that is what we were told. So we decided to get a bus to Nazca instead – a small town famous for the “Nazca Lines”.
We took a “Cama bus” from Cusco. This is a bed bus, which has seats that recline until they are practically horizontal. We also went first class, which was a first (and a last!) for us, but we thought it was important to be comfortable for the journey. The bus was very comfortable, modern, and had a TV, so we were feeling very smug at first. However we failed to properly appreciate that it was a 15 hour bus journey. And the bus had to go over the Andes. These are big mountains, and involved pretty much continuous hair-pin bends. It was like being on a crazy fairground ride FOR 15 HOURS. Continue reading
The day after the Machu Picchu I was grinning like the cat that got the cream. We had nothing planned, so we wandered around Cusco. We saw a big statue and climbed up it (legally, via. stairs), we had a very cheap and delicious lunch at a market (around 58p for a massive plate of rice, beef, onion, tomato and pepper – yum!). We then looked around a craft market.
Then an amazing thing happened.
We were in the craft market looking at crafts, and a lady came up and started to speak to us in heavily accented, broken English. I was confused at first, and a bit wary – I have learnt about Stranger Danger. However I made out the word “Uffizi”, and then she said “you were in Firenze in the Spring”. My jaw hit the floor. Continue reading
I recall seeing a photo of the Machu Picchu when I was a child, and my Mum telling me that my uncle had been there. From that point on I wanted to go. However it seemed so far away, like another world. By the time I reached my 20s I had distracted myself with other things and had resigned myself to the fact that I would never get to the Machu Picchu in my lifetime. I didn’t mind really – I just accepted it, the way that I now accept that I will never own a Porsche, or marry Colin Firth. But when we started to plan the trip, I knew that the Machu Picchu MUST be on the itinerary.
On “Machu Picchu Day,” we woke at 5am and took a 3 hour train journey from Cusco. The train “zig-zag”-ed up the hill out of Cusco, Continue reading