Over the summer of 2017, the then Upper and Lower Sixth forms, accompanied
by Mr Butterworth, Miss Blacknell and Mr Ireson flew out to Cusco, Peru to trek the historic Inca trail to Machu Picchu.
With Cusco being 3500 metres above sea level, we had to spend a few days in Cusco City itself to acclimatise to the altitude.
Despite not really understanding, at first, why we had to spend those days taking it easy, it soon became apparent when we became short of breath after walking up a flight of stairs.
Whilst in Cusco we spent our time exploring, looking at the local sights and tasting the local cuisine (which included alpaca and guinea pig — a local delicacy).
We spent half a day walking up to the massive statue of Christ, similar to the one in Rio.
This gave us an incredible view over the whole city and the surrounding smaller settlements on the side of the hills.
We followed this with a guided bus tour of the whole area. We also had time to explore the local markets and street vendors.
A particular favourite of ours were
the alpaca wool trousers and the various other alpaca related products.
Many of the vendors sold very similar items so, after overcoming a somewhat challenging language barrier for
some of us, we were able to get these items remarkably cheaply (after perfecting the art of haggling).
A favourite for most of us was the visit to the chocolate museum, showing the history of the cocoa bean and how they develop each of their wide variety of products.
At the end of the tour we were able to taste some of the amazing cocoa based samples. After our brief stay in Cusco,
we left early in the morning on the bus towards the start of our trek to Machu Picchu itself.
This was the first time that we got to meet our guides and our porters (the people who would carry our tents, food, and other items that we did not require for our trekking through the day.)
Over the course of the trip we gained so much respect for these guys. Some of them had been doing this same trek for upwards of thirty years, carrying up to twenty-five kilograms
and always maintaining a much faster pace than we ourselves were able to. Our trek was five days long, along the slightly shorter route.
At first it was relatively easy, with flat ground and nicely cut paths along the route; however, as we slowly started to climb, the terrain grew tougher and more precarious under foot.
At lunch time on the first day none of us knew exactly what to expect in the way of food,
so it was with slight trepidation that we entered the food tent.
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