It all started with another dreadful breakfast.
I had asked Aracelli for eggs, toast and coffee. After about half an hour I was presented with a hard boiled egg.
I cracked the top with my knife and was just about to cut the top off when the white poured out onto the table cloth.
‘How long did you boil it for?’ I asked.
‘Seven minutes’ came the confident reply.
She was either lying or simply unable to tell the time.
Even I knew it only took three minutes to boil an egg if it was placed in boiling water.
Nelson and I looked at each and we started to laugh. There were sympathetic looks and some gentle shaking of heads from his relations dotted about the kitchen.
I told Aracelli that I’d boil my own eggs if she couldn’t do it. She insisted on trying again so I resigned myself to going with the flow again.
My second egg was boiled for nearly ten minutes. I must say it was definitely hard boiled. After three of those and an Imodium I thought it safe to hike up to the ruins without a spare loo roll.
It was a two hour trek to Carcahuasi, the mountain top ruins hidden by the cloud forest and covered with orchids and bromeliads. This is just one settlement in what Gene Savoy (reputed to be the original model for Indiana Jones) included in his ‘city’ which he called Gran Vilaya. This is a network of over 24,000 round, oval and walled cut-stone structures which cover about 100 square miles.
As we climbed through the dense jungle up steeper and steeper slopes we suddenly came to a low wall about four feet high. A few minutes later we came across another, this time about twenty feet high. As we continued upwards yet another appeared with a cave like opening in it.
As we kept going up Nelson got out his machete and started hacking away the jungle to cut a path around the summit. We came across several circular platforms which would have contained four dwellings. There are forty of these platforms, so with and average of four people per family and four families on each the village’s population was about 640 souls.
It was hard to be sure but we eventually arrived at the highest point. There was no view as the vegetation was too dense. The highest building had a large circular concave grinding stone in the centre. Aracelli produced some of last night’s wine and some coca leaves. She passed the wine around and we each made a silent wish. We each then buried some leaves in the ground.
Feeling thoroughly at one with Indy I asked if I could borrow Nelson’s machete while he had lunch and start clearing the jungle so we could get a view down the valley.
I set to it, being careful I didn’t chop my arm or leg off by mistake. That would have been a real downer.
Nelson told me to start from the bottom so I dropped off over the ledge and started hacking away. Nelson got out his coca supply and crammed a wodge of leaves and some bicarb into his mouth and started chewing.
After about ten minutes I could feel myself starting to get carried away so I had to be even more careful. This was not the place to chop off a finger as it was a one day walk to the nearest road and a five hour drive to the nearest hospital.
That is, if there just happened to be a vehicle at the end road just waiting. If not, it was another day’s walk to the nearest bigger road with sufficient traffic to get a lift into Chacha.
I handed the machete to Nelson. He set to it like a Whirling Dervish. In half an hour he had cleared an incredible amount and the view was amazing.
This was exactly what the Chachapoyans had seen from the same spot over fourteen hundred years ago.
We trekked back to Nelson’s house.
I was nervous. Aracelli was cooking chicken again.
It still took another hour (with the fire already lit) to present me with her offering. Chicken and rice.
I cut into the chicken, confident she would have learnt from last nights fiasco.
But no! Blood oozed out again.
‘Aracelli, it’s not cooked again, there must be something wrong with the wood.’ It was never her fault always some one else’s.
I started smiling and everyone else in the darkened kitchen was smiling as well.
The previous week Aracelli had guided an English couple but had also brought a cook. Everyone had been really impressed with his speed, and the quality and variety of his meals.
Later that night, whilst I was alone in my room, there was a knock on my door.
It was Nelson. I asked him in and he was clearly embarrassed by Aracelli’s cooking.
‘What would you like for breakfast?’ he asked.
It felt like planning a midnight feast while our parents were away.
‘Huevos y pan tostada, por favour’. I replied.
What would Aracelli do if she found out?
Visit www.fowb.co.uk for more details on this and previous trips.
HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!
"The calendar is magnificent!"
"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"
We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!
Next HU Events
- Germany Autumn: Oct 23-26
- Aus VIC: Oct 24-26
- Aus NSW: Oct 31-Nov 2
- South Africa: Nov 13-16
- NEW! USA Virginia: Apr 9-12, 2015
- NEW! HUMM Morocco: May 13-16, 2015
- Canada West: Aug 20-23, 2015
- USA California: Sep 24-27, 2015
- Aus Queensland: Sep 24-27, 2015
- USA North Carolina: Oct 8-11, 2015
- Aus Perth: Oct 9-11, 2015
Take 40% off Road Heroes Part 1 until October 31 only!
Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers Peter and Kay Forwood (193 countries two-up on a Harley); Dr. Greg Frazier (5 times RTW); Tiffany Coates (RTW solo female); and Rene Cormier (University of Gravel Roads).
"Inspiring and hilarious!"
"I loved watching this DVD!"
"Lots of amazing stories and even more amazing photographs, it's great fun and very inspirational."
Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'HEROES' on your order when you checkout.
What others say about HU...
"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA
"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada
"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia
"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders
10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!
NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!
Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!
What turns you on to motorcycle travel?
Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!
New to Horizons Unlimited?
New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!
Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.Read more about Grant & Susan's story
Membership - help keep us going!
Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.
You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.
Books & DVDs
All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.
MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!
Story and photos copyright © All Rights Reserved.
Contact the author:
Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.
Hosted by: Horizons
Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!