a Tuesday in April Sarah wrote:

Bug Karma? Arica.

I thoughtless cover a brown bug in sand, realising my mistake I half heartlessly try and dig it out. Later that night I feel a bug on my ear, I try and grab it but it crawls right inside. It hurts as it wriggles deeper and I start screaming and kicking my legs. Jim who is sitting next to me clearly thought I had lost the plot and tried to calm me down. Though tears and banging my head I communicate what is happening beg for him to do something. Jim blew into my ear causing the bug to scrap and scramble as it turns round. Finally it a brown bug crawls out leaving me totally shaken with a painful inner ear.

a Saturday in April Sarah wrote:

Iquique

Our hostel owner in the beach town of Iquique was wonderful. On our first night Maria organises a BBQ with both locals and hostel guests. The set price included yummy food, cocktails, wine with great company. Jim only made it to bed at 5am carrying a broken hard drive. The next evening there is a film night in the garden of the hostel. It amazes me how one person can make such a difference to your impression of a town. We both really enjoyed the couple days on the beach and meeting new people.

a Sunday in April Sarah wrote:

High on the Ground

Jim somehow managed to convince me to sign up for climbing Huayna Potosí a 6088 meter mountain near La Paz. This is crazy high especially for us with little to no experience of climbing at altitude.

Day 1 was training on a glacier, we climbed up and down snowy slippery slopes wearing crampons and climbed steep faces using ice axes. That night we played cards and got to know our fellow mountaineers.

Day 2 we carried our equipment up from base to high camp. We took hours walking steadily with huge backpacks. We started on rocky terrain and ended in deep snow. The high altitude and going to bed at 4pm led to a restless evening sleep.

Day 3 we started our assent at 1am to attempt make it to the top for sunrise.
Jim and I walked in the darkness with ropes attaching us to our guide. It was strangely silent as we slowly crunched our way upwards. The light our head torches made the surrounding snow glimmer. After hours of methodically walking tiredness set in, each step took our breath away and any pauses left us freezing cold. Jim sang me Swedish folk songs to keep me moving as I almost collapsed from exhaustion.

We reach the peak at 6am, the sunrise is beautiful and we can see for miles. Tears are in my eyes as this honestly was the hardest physical thing I have ever done. We smile and hug, never again will we stand so high on the ground.

a Monday in March Sarah wrote:

Jim is evil!

To celebrate Jim’s birthday he ate an innocent Guinea pig…

a Friday in March Sarah wrote:

We made it.

To celebrate surviving the Inka Trail we got suitably drunk which is surprisingly easy at high altitude. We were the rowdy enemy of everyone on the train back from Machu Picchu as they tried to sleep.

We also had a night out in Cusco with the lovely people from our group. We found a fun locals club, we were the only gringos and danced until the early hours of the morning.

a Monday in March Sarah wrote:

The Trail

When we signed up to the Inka Trail we had wronging assumed it would be easy. It took four days and three nights and proved to be challenging enough to be for filling.

Hot rainy days soaked our ponchos inside and out. The views were spectacular as we walked through tree covered ancient paths. At points we were so high up it felt like we were in the clouds. Due to altitude the hush assents of dead woman’s path were easier for those who do little exercise (like me.) We chewed coco leaves and sweets to make breathing less restricted when things got tough. At night in freezing cold temperatures Jim and I huddled in our summer sleeping bags trying to forget the guides ghost stories.

The porters each day ran passed us carrying huge back packs whilst wearing simple sandals. At lunch and dinner we would arrive at camp to find our tents made and a gourmet feasts awaiting us. These meals had three delicious courses which included cakes and parrot shaped courgettes, bordered on ridiculous. The porters were so very humble when we were introduced to them. It made me happy that we had chosen Peru Treks renowned for treating their staff well.

We managed to survive the gringo killer and make it to Machu Picchu in the early hours of the morning. It was a beautiful and powerful place.

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