Starting the Lares Trek - from relaxing to walking

Trip Start Jan 19, 2006
Trip End Jan 19, 2007

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Saturday, September 16, 2006

Were a bit uneasy as to whether our company would arrive this morning to pick us up. But they did, thankfully, just after 6am in a taxi. Roberto, our guide (Speaks Spanish and Quechua = old Incan language) Erasnus, our cook, and a driver and we headed off towards Pisac. On the way we stopped at Calca and had a wander around the local market and went for breakfast upstairs in the market. Was very authentic, if a bit dodgy, and something we wouldnt have done on our own. We had caldo de Gallina, which we translated as Goose soup and felt very exotic, we have subsequently found out it was just chicken soup so are a bit disappointed now.

Back in the car up the valley past beautiful vistas and along windy roads and we arrived in the town of Lares just after 10am. We then walked to the nearby thermal baths and spent an hour lounging in them which are between 28 and 35 degrees. Some were far too hot for us.

We then had lunch in a nearby hut before we started our walk. Were probably ready for a sleep to be honest!

Erasnus and our horseman, Enrique and 2 horses had gone ahead to set up for our arrival. We started our walk which was pretty flat to start with but with the occasional steep bit which is a bit more difficult due to the altitude. We then walked down the Lares valley towards Huaycuasi (Quechua for cow house. They speak mainly Quechua in the villages and not really Spanish). We saw no cows though. Did see lots of ponies, llamas, elpacas and kids asking for sweets. Fortunately we bought a bag and gave them out getting a photo of the attractive ones in the process (cruel I know!!) all dressed up in their local dress with the same sandals and grubby faces.

We arrived in Huaycuasi mid afternoon and our tent was set up in a small paddock by a mud house and we had a bit of a relax once we realised the pigs, sheep and cows didnt like the tent too much. We then had a wander in the village which has only about 10 houses, mostly made of adobe (mud and straw) and 100 people. There is a thatched church, a newish school, a river running through it and a football pitch (I have yet to see a hamlet without one). The kids were playing dressed in bright embroidered blankets and with hats that looked like saucers and black skirts with bright embroidery along the bottom. Was lovely to see. Boys wear mainly woollen hats or the odd baseball cap. All were after sweets or ´propina´ = a tip. Inevitable I spose on a tourist route but still sad.

We then had popcorn and tea as a pre dinner snack and later on dinner of soup, chicken and potatoes and teas. Was v good. I am now pretty much addicted to muna tea which is like fresh lemon thyme in hot water. Is great. Warms you up too as were pretty cold by nightfall and bundled up in all our clothes and in bed by 19.30. The occasional grunt woke me up but I will get Dave the benefit of the doubt and say it was the pigs.
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