I’m so excited to finally share my travel diary through Peru. Whilst this is a comprehensive collection, I still don’t think these photos from my three week trip does it justice somehow. Each of these photos are jaw dropping to me in their own way. Remembering being on the road, winding through the Andean mountains; seeing the weather change around us, clouds coming and going, being thrust into rain storms and then coming through and seeing the sun breaking down over the valley and looking back on the winding roads we had just travelled on below. Wow.
This was a life changing trip and one that will define me. Meeting the Andean weavers and being shown how they create the yarn from spinning the alpaca to creating dyes from local plants and bugs, and setting it in their own urine was an incredible experience. We got up at 4am one morning to drive to a local town outside of Cusco, to be picked up by some alpaca farmers and go a further hour into the mountains. I watched the sun rise, pink creeping down the snow peaked caps. When we got to the valley where this alpaca farm was, as we drove down towards the house they had a special beep of the horn that told her that we were here. We were so remote, there was no phone signal, no wifi. No telephone lines, no electricity no piped water. Just a little house next to a river, surrounded by alpacas on the hillside. She didn’t speak Spanish, just the old Quechuan language from the time of the Incas before the Spanish invasion. She ran through the hills herding alpacas in open toe sandals, it was freezing cold and she was wearing all her own hand spun and made alpaca wool traditional clothes. Lots of thick wool blankets and wide circle skirts, complete with felt hat in beautiful colours. We had fresh coca tea using boiled water from the river. It was realising how we must have lived a few hundred or even thousand years ago.
Further along on our road trip we had the joy of staying at the Eco Quechua Lodge just outside of Machu Picchu. Completely run on solar power, we were in the middle of the jungle, our log cabin on stilts completely open on either side to the elements with nothing but a mosquito net and blanket to protect you at night. The breakfast bar would be a table laid of with all the fresh jungle fruits you could imagine. They had coffee too of course and plenty of coca tea. The road was pretty treacherous considering all the recent rainfall. We had rented a mining truck from Cusco that had a fire extinguisher and pick axe in the back incase you needed to stage a rescue, and a heavy clad steel skeleton inside to protect you from falling rocks, or if you fell off the side of the road. If you watched my instastories at the time, I’m sure you got a sense of how terrifying it was. You are on a dirt road, cut into the side of the mountain. In some parts this road has fallen away to a single lane. You need to overtake other vehicles whilst you are inches away from the edge, a raging river running below, as well as a significant drop of a few hundred metres. It was pretty crazy but thank fully it was my companion Mike who was driving! This was a unique experience when you head off the beaten track. Surprisingly most of the roads through the Andean mountains are freshly tarmacd as you can see below. So don’t let me put you off ;)
I have another photo diary to come from Lima, Peru so stay tuned. In the meantime I’m going to link to the map and where we stayed under this post.