Welcome to this week’s Postcard From – the feature where I chat to some lucky explorer about their recent travels.
This week, I’ve been chatting to the lovely Two Scots Abroad (Gemma and Craig), two intrepid explorers who have downed tools as teacher and tradesman to take a sabbatical and travel The Americas, beginning with New Orleans then SXSW Music Festival before exploring South America. Hop aboard for the ride at Two Scots Abroad and never miss a tweet through Twitter.
Hi guys! You’re trip has been making me so jealous! What’s been your favourite place so far?
Craig and I (Gemma) aka Two Scots Abroad are fast approaching our one month anniversary of our 18 month career break (annoying eh?!) We have partied in New Orleans and Austin (which were amazing) but now we are taking a slower pace to soak in as much of Peru as possible. We love Peru’s ever changing landscape and the people and very friendly and funny. It’s hard to pick a favourite place but we want to tell you about the Colca Canyon three-day trek.
I was there around this time last year, so now I’m very jealous! How’s the weather for you at the moment?
We have just arrived in Cusco and it is raining and cold. The irony being, the sun is out in Scotland! Until now the weather has been very sunny (colder at night in Arequipa, the stop before Cusco and on the Colca Cayon trek). We’ve had little rain, which has been a blessing, but I think that is about to change as we migrate to Bolivia! Will have to buy one of those cute llama print sweatshirts.
What was the accommodation like on your trek?
We booked the Colca Canyon trek with our hostel (Flying Dog, Arequipa) so the accommodation was prearranged. On night one we slept in the canyon at a homestay, we had private rooms but dined as a group. The second night was at a hostel, again with private rooms but this time we were treated to a swimming pool, which was ideal after the day of trekking in the sun.
So – what did you get up to in Colca Canyon?
Tested our knees to the limits trekking down the canyon and then our cardio to the max hiking up it! Luckily we had an eclectic mix of people in our group from all over the world to keep us motivated (and testing our Spanish!) Our tour guide, Juanito, was eccentric and always smiling, he kept everyone’s spirits up.
Very similar to my experience (although I have to confess I was too unfit to climb up the canyon – something I’m pretty ashamed of!). Do you have a highlight?
Juanito. He cracked me up. Like all of the tour guides we have worked with in Peru he was extremely knowledgably and funny. I can still hear him shouting vámonos chicos (let’s go boys). The feeling of achievement was a highlight too. We reached the summit in two hours 15 minutes, which meant we beat the sun (since we left at 5am!)
I remember very carb-heavy meals in South America (so much beans and rice). How were the meals on your trip?
We purchased lots of snacks for energy and were served meals at the homestays. My favourite was a minestrone type soup. Pancakes on the second morning were a treat and we were all ecstatic to see EGGS on day three after the hike.
Were there any disasters or funny stories?
No disasters thankfully. Juanito was funny all of the time. Regardless of being behind the group he always managed to get above us, peering down from a rock. We’re convinced he can fly. Constantly falling asleep on the bus with my mouth open, catching flies, is pretty embarrassing.
Do you have any tips or advice for anyone doing the Colca Canyon trek themselves?
Bring baby wipes and blister pads. You need to have well worn in walking boots or shoes too. Don’t worry about what you look like (one traveller attempted to put make up on day three, please!). Everyone is a mess, nobody cares. Oh and sun tan lotion is a must! You never have to tell me twice to buy snacks but I do think that they helped along the way for a sugar rush.
Did you pick up any helpful new Spanish?
Chevere which means ‘cool’. Naturally!
And finally: what’s your favourite travel read?
I am more of a music person. My favourite album so far is by Black Taxi but I have also Brolin who we missed at SXSW unfortunately!
NB – all images are owned by Gemma and Craig