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AT LAST! MACHU PICCHU!

OR I DID IT SOLO DESPITE THE ODDS! BRAVO TO ME!!

Hard work and persistence despite not walking the famous Inca trail. I had booked bus tickets to go up the final ascent, you can walk but it takes about two hours and do you really want to exhaust yourself by doing that before you even enter the site? Not on your Nelly! (ooh Nelly Dean my local, I want a beer now!)

The great Machu Picchu
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PISCO SOURS IN CUSCO.

OR ALTITUDE SICKNESS AND NARROW STREETS.

Grab hold of a Pisco sour and let Cusco entrance you, add a tasty ceviche and you’re good to go on your first day! This place is full of excellent restaurants and bars to get your teeth into without getting on the phrenetic tourist trail. you’ll have plenty of time for that later! Enjoy and welcome to Cusco.

A waiter preparing me the Pisco house special.
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LIMA DISAPPOINTS.

OR HOW PERU DEMANDS YOU SHOW YOU’LL LEAVE BEFORE YOU ARRIVE!

Shurely not!!

The flight with VivaAir had been cheap and was direct from Medellin but here ended the benefits. A whopping 50 quid was added to my bill for my case and the vile young man with braces and spots simpered about that, then relished telling me that I couldn’t enter Peru without an outbound ticket to another country. The weak WiFi in the airport threatened to make me miss the flight as I desperately tried to book a flight on a random date to bloody Bolivia. I was trying on both my iPad and my phone to see which would be the fastest picking up a signal. Spotty boy smirking made me determined and I managed to book my passage to La Paz AND pay my excess baggage with minutes to spare.

MEDELLIN, MUSEUMS AND ESCOBAR!

OR THE BEAUTIFUL CITY AND ITS DRAMATIC HISTORY.

My favourite painting sends a Twin Peaks vibe. Medellin Antioquia Museum

After the peace and quiet of San Augustin and Tierradentro I arrived in the hustle and bustle of this, for the most part, wonderful city.

The amazing afternoon light.
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OF FORGOTTEN GODS AND TOTEMS

Or San Augustin Archaeological Park amazes.

The two days I spent visiting the lava stone funerary monuments was the natural progression from the tombs of Tierradaentro and the original reason to travel South to the more isolated and dangerous regions of South Colombia. This UNESCO site is worth all the blood, sweat and tears it took to get there.  According to UNESCO, who named San Agustin a World Heritage Site in 1995, the San Agustin Archaeological Park, “bears vivid witness to the artistic creativity and imagination of a pre-hispanic culture that flowered in the hostile tropical environment of the Northern Andes.”

Monolithic guards and gods and anthropomorphic creations.

You’re fine when you reach San Augustin, it’s a mellow picturesque little town and visiting the incredible sites there is safe for a woman alone, it’s outside those places on isolated roads you have to be careful. On that nightmare trip from Tierradentro I thought I’d had it. It was more the constant road signs that warned of guerrillas in the area and the sudden police check that showed me that there were still risks in this magnificent country.

Guard to each tomb individual and amazing.
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PAINTED TOMBS AND DANGER.

OR BEING STOPPED BY THE POLICE ON A REMOTE MUD TRACK.

The whole reason I wanted to come to Colombia was for some of its amazing and mysterious archaeology. I’ve been getting it in bucketfuls, and indeed nearly kicked the bucket for one of my most important things on my bucket list ha ha.

The amazing painted tombs of Tierradentro and San Augustins funerary statues were top of my list

Pretending to be brave.

Alert: This trip is not for the faint hearted. The journey is arduous and the final climb up to the tombs harsh. Descending into the tombs is very dangerous, the steps are VERY steep and there is nothing to hold onto and there a sheer drop to the bottom. I was very scared much to the amusement of the guards. I was later told that many people refused to go down into them even after all their exertions to get there. The reason given for the lack of some kind of handrail was that it would spoil the aesthetics of the design! Please don’t consider this if you are scared of heights , are claustrophobic and, if you value your life!

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ALL THAT GLITTERS IS GOLD.

OR MAMBO AND MAMU SHOWS ALL.

ALERT: MY FLIGHT TO NEIVA IS SIX HOURS LATE SO I PAID FOR VIP LOUNGE TO WAIT OUT THE STORM IN COMFORT. WISH ME LUCK THINGS DON’T GET WORSE! I SHOULD BE KNOWN AS THE TYPHOID MARY OF FLIGHT DEPARTURES! I’M SOOOOOO TIRED ……

It’s been a fabulous first few days in Bogota but tomorrow I must leave for Neiva, but before I do here’s another glut of photos from the very fine Gold Museum, and the Miguel Urrutia Art Gallery Complex MAMU, along with the rest of my shennanagins!