Death Road – SAFE AAAAAAAAND FUN!

9 May

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Despite nightmares the night before, Death Road was actually much more fun and less scary than expected. It was definitely not a beginner ride (we’ve heard quite a few painful stories), but we all manage to make it safe and sound. We rode about 60km, starting next to a snow capped peak and finishing up in a hot valley about 3000 meters below. Great views, great guides, all in all an awesome day.

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We’re safe…

6 May

Had an amazing day- made it down Death Road sans deaths, scratches or grazes. I guess we now just call it “The Road”, which is super boring.

Off to the jungle tomorrow morning at 4am an back in civilisation Thursday. Proper updates and photos then!

Batman and Superwoman get down in La Paz

4 May

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We’ve been in La Paz for the past 5 (or so) days, checking out the town, getting our gift shopping done and actually keeping our heads pretty low. Nem was sick for a few days so we’ve been behaving ourselves of an evening. We checked out San Pedro prison where Marching Powder was set and got in trouble from the guards for taking a photo, so we went around the corner and took one at another wall…. badass, we know.

Our big adventure has been rappelling face first down a 17 story building dressed as Batman and Superwoman. Not too scary, except for the first bit where you have to let out enough rope and lean forward so you’re perpendicular to the ground before you start walking. It’s definitely not as easy walking down as the guides make it look, you tend to subconsciously grip the rope really tight which means that you don’t go down but end up floating around in the air at about 14 stories with your legs flailing everywhere. At the 12th story you let go of the rope, out your hands out and free fall for about 20 meters with the guide stopping you about 3 meters from the ground.

Tomorrow we’re off to very sensibly bike down a safe and paved road with a slight decline (you’re welcome, Lyne) and then head to the jungle for 3 days of anaconda spotting, swimming with pink dolphins and getting annihilated by mosquitos on Monday morning.

Mumsy, this next photo is for you. They’re not as serious here as the guards from Prague. Love you loads and see you soon xx

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From Peru’s Islas de los Uros to Bolivia’s Isla del Sol

30 Apr

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We made it out of Cusco alive and onto a town called Puno on Lake Titicaca where we visited the Islas de los Uros (floating reed islands). While a bit of a tourist trap, the islands are a pretty cool sight to see. They’re made of two meters of floating mud, covered in about a meter of dried reeds and anchored at four points so that they don’t float any which way in Lake Titicaca. The families live in reed huts and don’t do much but fish, maintain the islands and entertain tourists like us. The highlight was catching one of the big traditional boats from one island to the other (actually being pushed by a tinny with a motor behind us) and having some little kids sing some songs from different countries – they had a French guy in stitches singing “Allouette”.

The next day we headed across the border into Bolivia to a town called Copacabana on the other side of Lake Titicaca. From there we jumped on a boat to the beautiful (but freezing) islands of Isla Del Sol in the middle of the lake. We went for a walk for about 40 minutes up to the western point of the island, checking out the little bays and views of snow capped peaks in the background. We were planning to stay there today to spend the day walking from one end of the island to the other, but didn’t take enough cash with us (a regular occurrence), so had to bail this morning.

We’re now in La Paz where we’ll be spending a few days, waiting for friends catch up with us from Cusco and other parts of Bolivia. Lots of stuff to do here – bike riding on Death Road (don’t ask if you don’t want to know, Mum), a trip into the Amazon jungle to catch piranhas and swim with pink dolphins, souvenir and gift shopping in the Witches Markets and quite a bit of partying.

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Machu Picchu in point form

27 Apr

Day One

  • 6am start
  • Doug, our Zimbabwean/Australian friend – lots of fun and a wicked sense of humour – still drunk.
  • Start mountain biking downhill (thank God) from 4,000 meters next to snow capped peak. Beautiful and cold. My middle finger literally turned blue.
  • 3 hours of biking. All downhill. Lots of fun.
  • Lunch and relax – no more exercise for today.
  • Tour guide – “Ok, now we do two hours of walking uphill”….. say what now?
  • Walking not actually too hard. Try local fruits, get our face painted and dress up in local clothes. Look like fools (no change there, really).
  • Stay in home stay with local Peruvian family. Dinner and bonfire with the father playing local mandolin type guitar.
  • Great day. Awesome group of people and guides.

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Day Two

  • Easy walking for around 6 hours, next to no uphill which everyone is happy about (mainly me).
  • Learn about the history of Peruvian tribes and Incas. Guide was awesome. Learned a lot. Have forgotten most of it already.
  • Worlds dodgiest cable car 50 meters above the river, being pulled by a local kid. Didn’t die. Major high fives.
  • Beautiful hot springs for sunset.
  • Awesome idea! Lets drink 5 bottles of rum and party at the local disco until 2am.

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Day Three

  • Terrible idea! Drinking 5 bottles of rum the night before and partying at the local disco until 2am. Liam was dancing so hard at one point he actually managed to kick a girls drink out of her hand. The physics of this still baffles me.
  • Zip lining. Probably would have been a lot more fun had we not been hungover.
  • Powerade, por favor.
  • Spewsies.
  • 6km of walking along a train track to Aguas Caliente.
  • Hot shower. Highlight of my day.
  • Sleeeeeeep.

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Day Four

  • Alarm goes off at 3.50am. Why? WHYYYYYYY?!
  • Walk up 2,000 stairs to the entrance of Machu Picchu. Have picked up a stomach bug that wreaks havoc on my body after eating and leaves me feeling like this after any form of physical activity:

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  • First group into Machu Picchu at 6am and watch the sun rise over the mountain and onto the ruins. One of the more amazing things I’ve seen in my life.
  • Machu Picchu is amazing. Better than any photo you’ll see and in the most amazing setting, surrounded by beautiful mountains and snow capped peaks in the distance.
  • Tour of the ruins with our guide – really interesting.
  • Liam climbed Wayna Picchu, the massive mountain that you can see in the background of the pictures of Machu Picchu. The guide says it takes about 40 minutes to climb but Nem nails it in 20 minutes. Legend. I lay on the grass holding my cramping stomach. Less legendary.
  • Walk up to the Sun Gate (other side of Machu Picchu) at a snails pace, being over taken by Japanese grandmothers and young children. Major achievement.
  • Funny story about the call of nature on the way to the sun gate – ask me if you like. Has resulted in the joke Q: “Have you seen Machu Picchu? It’s amazing” A: “Yes, but have you met Shailei? She sh*ts all over Machu Picchu”.
  • 9.30 train from Aguas Caliente and arrive in Cusco at 1.30am. Exhausted is an understatement.
  • All in all an amazing day /trip. A definite highlight of the adventures to date.

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Off to Lack Titicaca on the border of Peru and Bolivia tonight and crossing over to Copacabana in Bolivia tomorrow.

Bienvenidos a la ciudad bonita de Cusco

21 Apr

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We made it to Cusco a few days back after a relatively painless bus ride from Huacachina. This city is absolutely beautiful – surrounded by mountains, bright blue skies and filled with old cobblestone streets and gothic-esque churches. We spent our first day here wandering around the markets buying jackets, jumpers, beanies, booking ourselves in for our trip to Machu Pichu and struggling to breathe after walking up a set of stairs because of the altitude change. The weather has been beautiful and sunny in the day, getting chilly but still bearable at night.

That night after catching up with a bunch of friends we’d met in Central America, somebody decided it was a good idea to head out on the town. What was a brilliant night out turned out to be a nightmare of a morning /whole day after, thanks again to the high altitude and low red-blood cell count (nope, definitely nothing to do with the alcohol. No way, Jose).

Today we headed about an hour or so out of town to a town called Pisac where they have markets each Sunday. The drive there was beautiful, heading up and out over the hills from Cusco and past snow-capped peaks into the valley of Pisec. The markets, unfortunately, were a bit of a tourist trap – the prices were about 4 times of that in Cusco and nothing too exciting there, though it was nice to get out of the city and see it in any case.

Tomorrow morning Nem and I head off on a 3 night, 4 day trip to Machu Pichu. We’re not doing the actual Inca Trail as you need to book about 6 months in advance and pay about $600 (plus do a LOT of walking), so instead we’re doing a fun trip that includes bike riding, zip lining, hot springs and a bearable amount of walking. We’ve had some friends do the same trip so should be amazing. Don’t miss us too much while we’re gone…

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Dune boarding in Huacachina

19 Apr

The other day we sped through the dunes surrounding Huancachina in a little blue dune buggy (actually, it was red) and then boarded down them. It was awesome. Here’s some photos…

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