The Inca Trail and Amazon Rainforest

Both of these probably deserve their own post but as I’m already getting stuck in at Pisco I thought it’s time to get fully caught up.
Before, in between and after the 2 expeditions I have enjoyed a few of the more adventurous activities available in Peru; namely paragliding, white water rafting and ‘The Slingshot’. The first two are fairly common (both equally worth doing) but the slingshot was something which was unknown to me. To describe it in two words: brutal and brilliant. It was basically a reverse bungee where you get launched into the sky, reaching 100mph in 2.5 seconds. Hard to explain what that feels like but it’s something that needs to be experienced. I will eventually get a video on facebook when we have wifi that meets some of our normal western standards. 
The Inca trail was a thought provoking and interesting 4 days. The 2nd day 1200m climb at altitude was tough but apart from that the difficulty didn’t compare to the expedition for DofE Gold in Snowdonia 2 years previous. It’s mandatory to have porters and a guide to lead you through the trail and I wasn’t used to such ‘luxury’ when camping. All the porters are employed from local villages in the mountains and it was good to seem them in high spirits the whole time and through my broken Spanish we were able to have a few good conversations about their heritage. The inca ruins along the way really were stunning but not as incredible as the general Andean landscape. Snow capped mountains, meandering valleys with the Urubamba river carving it up in the middle. Machu Pichu itself was as grandiose as people make it out to be but the thousands of gringos that descend onto it make me prefer the more solitary, over powering hike to get there. 
I had high expectations for the Amazon and I can say it met and exceeded all of these. I assume most people know most of the information already but even when amongst it all, it’s hard to fully comprehend the sheer diversity there. At a push I could name a dozen British trees, there were over 300 different species of above canopy trees found in one hectare in the Amazon. I’ll leave any nerdy admiration there and say it was cool to see the monkeys, tarantulas and piranhas. Time was also spent getting thrashed by the local tribe at football and catching a few diseases when swimming at a nearby creek.  
This marked the end of our 3 week tour and the soon to be beginning of our month of volunteering at Pisco. In between was my birthday which unlike previous years spent at school was enjoyed paragliding over Lima city. There’s a great vibe at PSF (Pisco Sin Fronteras) and we meet up with Ed tomorrow which I’m looking forward to. It’s going to be a rewarding month.