Archive for November, 2015

Peru Episode 3: The Inca Trail

November 24th, 2015

Sorry for the long delay in getting this episode out.  I think I have a good excuse, actually two or three good ones!

Since I completed Episode 2, I moved, helped my girlfriend to move into our new house and then we got married!

So Sue Me!

Here we go for the next installment of the trip in Peru.  All we did earlier, was just preparation for one of the highlights of the trip, the Inca Trail – this is a five day hike (we did one extra day outside the official trail) in the mountains, across two high passes (4200 and 3900 meters). We started from a place called KM77 with just a few houses and a rare bridge across the Rio Vilcanota; the end point of the trail is, of course, the ruins of Machu-Picchu through the Gates of the Sun.

Our first night was in luxurious accommodations.  We did not have to carry tents and sleeping bags yet, so there were sturdy tents with a cover to keep the sun out.  This is a permanent campground managed by Wilderness Travel.  We had showers, a dining room with real chairs and toilets.  All luxuries that we would not have for the next four days.

PeruBlog101

We arrived at camp early and were able to get organized before sunset.  There was one tall mountain just to the North of us called Mount Veronica with very nice glaciers at the top.  It was often covered by clouds and our guide told us that she had been on trips where it was not visible at all so we were lucky to get good glimpses of it.

PeruBlog102

That evening, our crew (more on that later) had a treat for us: a special meal called Pachamanca which is slow-cooked meat and vegetables surrounded by hot rocks.  The first step is to get the rocks really hot with a fire.

PeruBlog103

What the crew did not know is that they were going to get an extra helper.  Bee has always been fascinated by fires and so she volunteered to help keep the fire going to heat the rocks.  At first, they kept a close eye on her.

PeruBlog104

We did not get a sunset, as the sky was cloudy and we were surrounded by mountains.  But we could see the last rays of the setting sun on some of the mountains near us.

PeruBlog105

and Mount Veronica got better and better every minute!

PeruBlog106

Eventually, the crew decided that Bee was not going to immolate herself, or half the country and could be trusted to look after the fire alone. Continue Reading » (406 Page Views)

An Unusual Transhumance

November 16th, 2015

Last Sunday, on a prairie called “Le Chant des Cailles” in the middle of Watermael-Boisfort (one of the communes that comprises the greater Brussels) people slowly gathered but also seemed puzzled.

SheepBlog00

There are vegetables in the garden, but they are ignored by the crowd.

SheepBlog01

Children are also present, some wearing costumes, but this is not a masked ball.

SheepBlog02

There is sheep wrestling too.  But the only spectators here are other sheep – they actually seem to be very puzzled as to what their “man-friend” Antoine is doing to their boyfriend!  All these are 8-9 month old yews with a single “ram” charged with inseminating them.  He has been quite busy and successful so far!  Jamina later went to reassure the ladies.

SheepBlog03

So why the crowd – the anticipation is building as the people move to a local street.  One car came up the street, and upon seeing the unexpected crowd made a quick U-turn and is now fleeing the scene.  There are even professional photographers, who should watch their backs!

SheepBlog04

Jeremy has decided that all is OK and the show can begin Continue Reading » (348 Page Views)