OK, so today we walk out of here - to San Terrasa. We conclude the easiest route will be along the old train lines...
Things start off well... Protest is in full swing when we leave but we manage to get past all this, across the rope bridge and onto the old train lines. Then we see a truck dumping loads of people off - we get on it and ride a good potion of the distance we need to cover.
At one point we arrive at a place were the protesters have dug a big channel in the road. This must have been done since the truck last passed through about 30 minutes ago. First we try to put the trucksplanks of wood over the gap and the van tries to cross - one of the planks breaks... Next we try to fill in the hole with Stones. Finally a combination of the two works and the van is off again. We get as far as the van will go and the driver points us in the direction we need to go.
We pass through one town and then another - once again feeling like "the man with no name" in those Clint Eastwood Spaggeti-Westerns. Then we stumble upon a man who offers to drive us to San Terrasa - at least that what it sounds like he said.
And low and behold we arrive in the town that our Peruvian Mattey said was S.T. A quick 4 hour trek up and valley and weŽll get to the train station to Machu Picchu or so the guide book tells us.
OK so at this point IŽll tell you that the town wasnŽt infact S.T. -no idea what it was but there you go... We read the descriptions of S.T. the guide books - Shanty town on the top of a hill with the remains of the more complex town & train line that existed pre 1998. This fits - we pass through all this. We even meet a few people on the way who ask us if we are going to Machu Picchu and if so then we need to follow this path and that track etc.
We seem to be walking and walking... the road we were on has also metamorphosed into a think track.
All of a sudden, like a scene from "Oh, brother were out though" a whole load of Peruvian school girls skip and jump past us in there school uniforms. They decide to adopt us and wait when we stop and show us the correct path to take etc.
All of a sudden it starts to rain - very hard. Seamus and I are we through, pissed off and tired. We keep going for maybe another couple of hours. By this time our escort consists of 2 girls and 2 little boys plus a load of goats one of the boys collected along the way.
By this time the track was nothing more than a very steep set of switch backs up the mountain. The rain was falling and so is our moral.
With luck the older girl sends he younger sister (we assume) forward to Mum and Dad - as it turns out to ask them if they can bring two very wet and almost dying gringos back for the night.With luck the answer is yes. Before we know it we are sitting in a building, way up on the side of a mountain, that is obviously used as the kitchen, with a great fire and a load of cats, dogs, chickens and ginny pigs. The old Grandpa person looks at me and points to the Ginny Pigs, oh yes Ginny Pigs I say - he then makes an eating motion with his fingers - so our fear that we have eaten ginny pig here may well be true !
It is at this point I show the older daughter the pictures on my Camera - "San Terrasa" I say showing a picture of the wrecked town from earlier today. "No not San Terrasa she says - Santa Maria". Bugger, Machu Picchu is not just around the corner as we hoped - it turns out to be 2 days away...
We are cooked a big meal and then shown the cow shed were we can sleep. While preparing for bed I dig around in the shed and find a magazine dated 2002 that is obviously shining path propaganda. Where the hell are we ???