Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep
Ok, this is really turning into a hate-hate relationship, I must stop planning things to happen in the morning.
|Me, trying to make a deal, the town of Urubamba
I have been waiting for this day, for a long time. Today we go River Rafting down the Urubamba River. A quick breakfast and before you know it, it’s 8:30 and our guides, Noel and Willie, who we met last night are here to pick us up. Sadly two of our travelers have decided they didn’t want to go on this part of the trip, fear I guess. We have about a 2 hour car trip to the town of Urubamba. Up to this point we have been flying from city to city, then walking around the cities. We have not had time to really see the country side, at least spending the next couple of hours in a car we will see some of the country side.
What is striking for me about the country side, is that it looks a little like the high desert of Arizona, only much more vast, not to mention all the mountains. The vastness of it makes me feel small and unimportant, this land and it’s people have been here forever. I am honored that they allow me to visit it. Back to today’s story, we stop in Urubamba to stretch our legs, get something to drink and a restroom break before we are off to our River Rafting drop off point. As excited and prepared as I am, I realize I really don’t know what to expect. We were told that the rapids would be Class II through Class IV. But I have no idea what that means in terms of reality. Of course I had all these romantic visions of huge, rolling waves overtaking our rafts, which is not exactly what happens. I have to give our Rafting company credit, because their #1 focus was safety, then fun. In fact we saw other rafters who didn’t even have helmets, which was not such a good idea. Noel, was the guide for our raft, young guy, very friendly, spoke excellent english and was very knowledgeable about the River and history of the area.
We finally arrive at our drop off point, and spend about an hour getting ready, full wet suits, helmets, life jackets all the bells and whistles.
Once all the rafts were inflated, we had been completely outfitted and given our Safety Training, we set off, this was exciting. The scenery was absolutely gorgeous from Desert Highlands to Glacier topped Mountains. This scenery is unlike anything I have witnessed before, majestic mountains, running river water, grasslands. It’s nearly a religious experience, the ability to spend this time experiencing this moment and place, and it’s people. Although it was only a few hours it gives you time to really be calm and appreciate the culture and people of Peru.
As you travel along the river and see the old ruins you come to realize how far a reach the Incan People had, 100’s of miles of ruins throughout this country. The tranquility and silence of floating along the river is magical. It was pretty tame for the first 30 minutes or so and I was beginning to think, ugh, whats the big deal, it’s beautiful and all, but I was expecting rapids and the exhilaration that they bring. Finally, we round a corner and we begin to see some rapids, albeit not very big ones. We are assured however by Noel, that there are much bigger ones to come. Bring it on! Finally we get some good rapids.
At the end of our rafting we stopped at this beautiful pasture for lunch. Essentially we were on someone’s property because there was a house and a barn etc in this gorgeous pasture. After all the congratulatory pats on the back, we thanked our guides for an outstanding afternoon and set out to have one of the best lunches. It’s not that the food was outstanding, it was the setting, the people and the experience we just had. With the time, we were able to finally talk to the guides about the area, the people and to get their stories about other rafting trips that they have experienced. Our ride back to our New Hotel, which is going to be in the Sacred Valley. It is just outside of Ollantaytambo, which is pretty rugged and rustic little town in the Andes. Just driving along looking at all the fields of Potatoes and Corn, being worked by Oxen, you realize we are really spoiled.
As we drove along I was wondering where our hotel was and what was it going to be like, because it wasn’t the nicest area, but then we turned into a gated courtyard, and WOW. The Hotel, Casa Andina in the Sacred Valley. The hotel is so beautiful in the most beautiful surrounding so far. We will have plenty of time here tonight for a great dinner a few Pisco Sour’s and good nights sleep.
Tomorrow we are off to the Inca Trail to begin our 4 day hike to Machu Picchu.
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