Hiking the Lares Trek - Day 3
Trip Start Sep 08, 2008
35Trip End Nov 02, 2008
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Another coca tea and warm water awakening for the chicos and chicas. However, crawling out of our tents we were surprised with a cold layer of frost on and around our tents. However, it didn't take too long to disappear once the sun came out. The morning's hike was only to take round about two or three hours.
Following a breakfast of pancakes, we were fully introduced to our hiking crew (the porters, horsemen, chefs, hiking guides etc) and then handed over their tips. This country seems to live on tips, but not only that. Tips are expected regardless of what anyone's doing for us. Our guide told us the amount each of the crew should be given. I thought that to be somewhat cheeky and that the tip should be given at the discretion of the giver really. Additionally, having booked through GAP adventures who mentioned how much our own guide, Angel, should receive, there was no further mention that we should expect to hand out tips for all the other hundreds of guides commissioned. So needless to say, some people were a bit strapped for cash, and as a result were carried somewhat by the others that weren't. Not exactly a fair situation.
The final part of the hike ended through a cloud forest and a short break beside a really fresh looking stream. We were picked up by our shuttle and taken through to Urubamba where we had lunch. This was quite a good experience. We sampled some chicha (home brewed corn beers) and some frutella (fruity strawberry flavoured beer). Both of these really nice. While waiting for lunch everyone was taught how to play Sapo del Inca whereby you're given a few round coin discs which you needed to throw through a frog's mouth. Although I didn't think my throwing skills were too bad, this was a bit of a challenge and required a fair bit of luck in getting any points.
At 3pm we caught a train at Ollantaytambo train station, heading through stunning lush green forests through to Agua Calientes. This was where we'd spend the night before heading up to Macchu Picchu early the next day. Agua Calientes is very tourist oriented with markets everywhere starting right at the train station through to the little village. And once the markets die away, you're presented with tourist shops, loads of restaurants and some more sporadic markets. It's all about the tourist!!!
Agua Calientes is reknowned for it's hot springs but we were told that there had been a landslide not too long ago, and that the water no longer was hot but more on the luke warm side. After the experience in the Colca Canyon, we didn't think it could be beaten with warm'ish water.
It was here that I had my first shower in a while. However we didn't exactly have all our little luxuries with us so, for the first time that I can remember, I washed my hair with soap.