Inca Trail & Spanish Tales (part 2) & horse tails!

Trip Start Jun 08, 2012
Trip End Aug 16, 2013

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

So week 2 in Cusco has been and gone and I am now well into week 3.  The classes are still going well and mainly just practising speaking a lot, although Iīm still not sure that I make sense half the time, no change to back at home then before any else thinks it!!

As I mentioned before there are festivites the whole of June concluding with Inti Raymi on 24th June, a ceremonious festival which Iīll come onto later.  In the lead up to this there are parades in the Plaza Armor every day by all the institutes and schools etc in Cusco.  On Friday 22nd, our school Amauta, was required to take part in the parade and so asked all students to volunteer to participate.  This meant spending Thursday night learning a "routine" in one of the public squares which the locals (and tourists) found highly entertaining, and then on Friday night at 6:30pm when our lessons finished we all met at the school and got dressed up in traditional outfits which we had hired
It turned out that the outfits were about 3 sizes too big for most of us so we looked funny in the first place and we all got a bit of pre show jitters, so the school started handing out rum and coke discuised in 2L bottles of coke to liberate us for the performance!  Our place in the queue to perform was number 212 however by 8:30pm they were still only on numbers in the early 100īs so we pushed our way somewhere into the middle in otherwise we would have been waiting til midnight, and started dancing our way up the Av. de Sol in what was meant to be the formation we practised on the night before.  I think by the time we got to the square itself, where we had to dance on every side of the square, most of the students (and profesors!) were quite tipsy on the rum mixed with a splash of coke so we were all over the place, but at least by that point we didnīt care and were enjoying it, and even didnīt mind all the locals that were watching taking photos and cheering and shouting "Dance Gringos" at us! (we were actually lapping it all up by now!!).  By the time we had made our way around the square it was already about 10:15pm and we were all exhausted form dancing for nearly 2 hours and we hadnīt eaten since lunch time so quickly got changed back into some normal clothes and went out for some dinner.  Iīm glad we did it, as embarrassing as it initially was, as itīs not something that tourists get the opportunity to do so was a bit of a privilege, however quite luckily I didnīt have my camera on me so will not be sharing any photos of me dressed as an old Peruvian lady!!! :o)

Saturday was a whole new adventure :o)  My new friend Suzan had suggested we go horse riding for a day, so despite being a little bit afraid of horses we met up with a ranch owner at 7am Saturday morning outside MacDonaldīs (yes, it really has made it all the way over to Cusco along with KFC and Starbucks but yet to see a Pizzahut here!) and set off on a 1.5 hour bus trip to Urubamba which is where our guide, Yojan, owns his ranch with his lovely Dutch wife Karina, and their menagarie of pets (we saw at least 4 dogs, a blue eagle, chickens, parrots and of course horses).  We had originally booked to go horse back riding around some more of the sites that we hadnīt yet seen in the Sacred Valley, mainly as this was all the agency had offered us, however Yojan told us about another route which would take us up the Andean mountains into the forests and to Inkaraky which would be a much prettier and less busy option.  If the tour guide says its better then it must be better, so it wasnīt a hard decision to go for this option instead! 

It didnīt take us long to realise that it was really a great idea to change, as we had Yojan all to ourselves for the whole day (just the 2 of us) who is a qualified tour guide in Peru so gave us so much information on all the surroundings and local ways of living, and the route he took us on meant that once we were off the main path we didnīt see another person until we reached the top, Inkarakay, where we saw someone from the very small local community of about 6 or 7 houses tending to his bulls.  Inkarakay is thought to have been an Inca resting  house built as a stop over point half way between Cusco and the rain forest, very very high up in the mountains!  On route we also stopped at a trout farm and another scenic point for a break and then lunched at Inkarakay before coming back down the mountain.  Going up on horses all seemed easy and I really enjoyed it and couldnīt understand why I had ever been so afraid of horses, but coming down narrow, steep, rocky maintain pathways is a whole different story, my legs were so sore by the time we got down and Iīm still not sure how I managed not to go over the top of the horses head on several occassions!!  All in all though, 7 hours of horseriding and another brilliant day out seeing more of the Sacred Valley!

Sunday night I had to say goodbye to one of my new friends Emily, who is now off doing Machu Picchu before continuing her travels so we had a farewell dinner in Korma Sutra, the best Indian in town!
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April on

As if there's no photos - disappointed Deeny! Sounds like a great experience though, great memory to have! xx

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