First Day in Cusco

After a morning flight to Cusco, we settled into our hotel and went on a short walking tour of the town.

on the bus to cusco

Our tour leader from Classic Tours is called Theo, who can be seen standing up at the front of the bus in the above picture.

We’ll be spending the next couple of days in Cusco to acclimatise – the altitude really is something else – take a 15kg bag up two flights of stairs and you’ll need a 10 minute nap. (Trust me) We’re currently at about 3500 metres above sea level.  Shortness of breath, nausea, confusion and tiredness are all symptoms to be expected.

Our walking tour took us across the main square, around the artists´district, round some Inca ruins in the city and we even met some locals…

Locals in Cusco


Inca Trail Trek is go!

Team at Airport

Glasgow – Amsterdam

Amsterdam – Lima

Lima – Cusco

… it took a while, but the Inca Trail Trek Team is in Cusco!  We’re having a few days here to acclimatise to the altitude, after which we’ll be tackling the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

I´m absolutely delighted to be able to tell you that so far, this trip has raised over 41k (net) to fight Motor Neurone Disease.  I´m so very very proud of each and every one of our fundraisers!


We’re heading off tomorrow… tour tshirt

5 Days to Go!

Our flight leaves in the early hours of Saturday morning – first to Amsterdam and then on to Lima… where we’ll stay overnight and then transfer to Cusco the next day.  It’s all getting very exciting!

In the meantime, as responsible and respectful travellers it’s always good to learn at least a little bit of the lingo…


Basic Phrases:

Yes  = Si

No = No (well that one’s easy)

PleasePor favor (just how it sounds)

Thank You Gracias (pronounce the “c” like “s”)

Local Specialities:

Ceviche = classic seafood dish, marinated in lime jice & chilli peppers, served with corn, sweet potato & onions… mmmmm…

Cuy = Guinea Pig – maybe not for anyone who kept them as pets 😉 – found in many parts of the country, often served with chips!

Peruvian Beer & Spirits = well, we’ll maybe leave these until we’ve finished the trek, as alcohol DOES NOT mix with altitude!


The Luggage Labels have arrived…

…which means that it’s nearly time to depart…

luggage labels

Schiehallion Training Trip

if you can't climb it... drink it?

(Hmm. Apparently there’s more to this hill climbing thing than the bottle indicates…)


The Inca Trail isn’t a Sunday stroll, not by a long shot.  It’s a challenging trek, made even more so by the altitude.  One of the important parts of the group’s training, therefore, is toEast Schiehallion get some time in on the hills doing some longer walks – 5/6 hours minimum, and a couple of days in a row if at all possible.  This kind of training also gives us an opportunity to get to know each other a little better before the trek.

So: last Saturday, a small group of Inca Trail Trek 2012 trekkers got together and climbed Schiehallion!  It was a beautiful day, and the steep path and steps gave us a good day to test out how we were doing fitness wise.  Suffice to say that Nanas is going to leave us all in the dust, and I’m a complete convert to walking poles!  Schiehallion ascent

The good weather gave way to mist once we reached the boulder field at the summit, but just as we thought that we might be denied a good backdrop for the compulsory photo-with-banner, the sun burned through and gave us a perfect twenty minutes of view so we could eat our sandwiches.

It’s less than 2 weeks to go now – so we all need to take care not to break any limbs, and pack the last few things…

Banner at Schiehallion


We’re in the hills!

A few of the trekkers are off up to Shiehallion this weekend, looking forward to all those steps on the IncaTrail!  I’ll be taking some pictures :)  

Meanwhile lots of other trekkers have already been up in the hills, including Bill, who’s been up Snowdon…


Reading the Guide Book…

With just 5 weeks to go until we head off to Peru, I thought that it was about time I read the guide book!

guide book


Top Peru Facts:

  • The population of Peru is almost 28 million – that’s over 5 times that of Scotland!
  • The highest point in the country is 6768m above sea level – the highest point we’ll be reaching on our trek is at Dead Woman’s Pass, which is just shy of 4200m.
  • Peru’s national dish is called Cerviche – fresh fish soaked in lime juice and chilles – yum!
  • Access to the Inca Trail is limited to just 200 trekkers per day.  Tickets have to be booked around 9 months in advance.  We’re really very lucky to be able to take part in this challenge.

Map of peru


However, by far and away my favourite Peru fact is that as a group, we’ve already raised over £30,000 to fight Motor Neurone Disease – and that amount is only going to grow.  I’m so very proud to be a part of it.

machu picchu photo


Breaking in the Boots

I think I may be the last of the group to get walking boots …. bad Sara.  Ah well – time to break them in!  I’ll be wearing these to work every day for the next few weeks, as well as carrying everything around in the day pack I’ll be using, with the addition of a 2litre bottle of water so I’m used to it!

Not long to go now…

walking boots

Machu Picchu trekker in the news…

Nice to see our trekker Mark Pettigrew in the Paisley Daily Express, talking about our Machu Picchu trek!  And a great picture…