All posts tagged: Peru

Salkantay: Trekking to Machu Picchu

Trekking is one of those bittersweet activities I spend almost as much time dreading as I do enjoying. That small but persistent part of myself that would prefer to spend most days with my duvet over my face, half-listening to some Netflix series, questions why I’d put myself through such a thing. The sheer effort of it, imagining it, exhausts me. But coming to Peru – to Cusco – one of the most desirable and beautiful places to trek in the world, I couldn’t give in to this disheartening part of myself. Missing out on the renowned and hugely popular Inca Trail, which books out six months in advance, me, my brother and my mum – who had flown in to visit – were booked on to the Salkantay Trek. That’s five days of intense walking, going up to 4630m and all ending at Machu Picchu, the ancient Inca village counted among the world’s Seven Wonders. After my few stagnated weeks getting to know the polished cobbles of Cusco’s historical centre extremely well, I’d been looking …

Chicuchas Wasi: Fighting for Girls’ Education in Peru

My final Global Giving project, and what’s brought me to the bustling high altitude town of Cusco for so long is a girls’ primary school nearby. Chicuchas Wasi was started by Rae Lewis, who I had the pleasure to touch base with first in California. She told me the story of how the school began when she was travelling in Peru. Moved by what she saw and wanting to help, she did so at first by looking after street children in her own home. I finally get to meet her partner in all this, Ruth Uribe, who lives in Cusco and directs the school. She picks me up at the bottom of the steps to her home and we drive the short distance over to the school, including a struggle with a rocky dirt road. We bond over our language studies, as Ruth’s learning English just now, speaking in both Spanish and English over the idiosyncrasies of our languages, double-checking vocabulary and points of grammar with each other. Placed amicably among the rolling hills of …

Hostel Hopping in Cusco

I have a habit in this blog of dwelling particularly on the many and gruelling journeys between my destinations; the hours in airports sleeping on my rucksack and the long transport delays you come to expect from Latin America. Perhaps this is because these challenging experiences place me into a heightened and particularly perceptive state where all that passes is memorable and eminently reportable. My journey from Medellin to Cusco was no exception. Rushing down to Peru in time to cross over with Rae, founder of the school I’d be spending some time visiting there, meant three flights in 24 hours and a brief sleep in notoriously dangerous, underwhelming Lima. In fact, the usual gymnastics of flight check-in and boarding were further complicated that Sunday by my one-hour sleep and the enduring effect of the bottle of gin I’d shared just hours before in emotional farewell with my Medellin flatmates. I felt a mixture of nausea and amusement as I approached the desk at my first airport, a mood which endured through most of that …