Paddington Bear came from deepest darkest Peru and until recently, it was a country that I was in the dark about as well. Now my forthcoming journey there is imminent and my mind is buzzing with the prospect of the amazing experience that awaits me. I work closely with our experienced Product Manager for South America, and stand in awe of the passion and extensive knowledge that goes into their expert creations. Today I have the privilege of departing on Titan’s ever popular ‘Footsteps of the Incas’ itinerary alongside 20 Titan clients and a film crew of 3. So what am I most excited about? And what am I looking forward to? I’ve narrowed it down to the top 5 things:
1) Meeting the 20 Titan clients. In my experience people who book with Titan are generally spirited, knowledgeable and interesting to talk to, with a passion for travel and a thirst for new adventure. I feel privileged to be sharing my journey with them and I can’t wait to meet them all.
2) Colca Canyon. I have an image in my mind of a Condor flying silently and gracefully over one of the most amazing sights I will see in my life. At 10,725ft deep, the Colca Canyon is more than twice as deep as the Grand Canyon. Now I’ve seen the Grand Canyon and I can tell you that it’s pretty impressive! So, I’m expecting to have my breath taken away at the sight of Colca.
3) Pisac Village. Day 10 of the Titan tour takes us through Pisac on the way to Sacred Valley. I am female, so of course I am a sucker for a bit of retail therapy. The lively and colourful market in Pisac has hundreds of vendors selling ceramics, clothing, jewellery and trinkets. I had better leave plenty of space in my suitcase!
4) The Uros. These native people use the Totora reeds to make their homes, their boats and even the islands they live on. The skill required to make these and also the souvenirs they sell to tourists will be a fascinating sight to behold. They are not averse to a few modern comforts such as solar panels and they even have a radio station on one of the reed islands which plays music for a few hours per day.
5) Machu Picchu. Of course, no list of things to look forward to in Peru is complete without mentioning this ‘bucket list’ item! Everything you read about it uses words like breath-taking, dramatic, achievement, mystery and outstanding. It will clearly be the high-point of the trip (pun intended) but what fascinates me is how the Incas, absolute masters of engineering, managed to create this royal retreat some 8,000ft up in the Andes. In the short 100 years of their empire, ruling over 10 million people before being wiped out by the Spaniards in 1533, they built 26,000 miles of roads and all without inventing the wheel! I propose to stand at Machu Picchu, close my eyes and try to transport myself back 550 years to try to feel part of a truly remarkable civilisation.
And so I will soon be off to the airport with a suitcase just like Paddington. I don’t propose to take marmalade sandwiches. I shall stick to more practical luggage items but one thing I will definitely be taking is my Titan Travel Journal in which I will be trying to record every minute of my journey.