June 23, 2011

I’m back in the swing of things after a fantastic, exhausting and truly relaxing holiday in Peru, despite always doing something or going somewhere!

We started by spending 4 days in the rain forest where we stayed at a remote lodge, which was a 2 hour boat trip from the nearest town. There were so many birds, animals and insects to see in daylight and at night. We went on a night walk around the lodge and when we turned our lights off, it was so dark you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face. Eerie!

My partner Hazel and I spent a day in Urubamba at the Rainbow Centre for disabled kids, a visit which was both humbling and rewarding. The Centre is staffed by some local people but there were also 7 English girls, all in their late teens or twenties who were teaching or helping in any way they could. The Centre has been open for 10 years and before that, there was no support network for disabled children. Fortunately, more is now being done. There were three classrooms and the children were divided according to their ages. The plan is to prepare the younger ones for normal school and the older ones for work. The day we went, the circus was in town so the kids were loaded into the school minibus and we spent a couple of hours in the Big Top with about 200 other Peruvian school kids! We then had lunch with the children and handed out some toys and sweets that Hazel had brought with her. The penny whistles and the water pistols went down particularly well! You can read more about them by clicking on this link

We have raised some money for the Centre through our trek and donations can still be made at

The middle part of our holiday was to undertake The Moonstone Trek to get us to Machu Picchu. The trek was tiring, mainly because we were at altitude. We started at 3500m and climbed to a pass at 4700m. We camped on the second night at 4400m, when the night time temperature dropped to well below zero! But to be in the mountains and to be so remote was very fulfilling. There were just 4 of us on our trek but we had a guide, 2 cooks, 3 horsemen, 8 horses and 2 dogs so we always had company! Even in these remote areas people were living and scratching a living from the land so we occasionally met up with some locals.

We spent a day at Machu Picchu, arriving early to see the sun rise over the ancient city. It really is an amazing place with so much history. It actually predates the Inca civilization but it is their buildings that have endured.

From there we went to Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. We met people who still live on floating islands made from the reeds that grow in the lake. There are also 2 inhabited islands in the lake and we stayed on one, staying overnight with a local family.

We went with a couple who are friends of ours but there were 11 other people on our trip. They did a different trek to us but apart from the 3 nights we were trekking, we spent the time together. We were very lucky in that they were a great bunch of people, from diverse backgrounds and an age range of 25 to 65.

And then it was back to Lima, back home and back to work!