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A piece of my heart in the Andes

My Travel Writing Scholarship 2011 entry - My Big Adventure

BOLIVIA | Monday, 28 March 2011 | Views [627] | Scholarship Entry

Inca trek

Inca trek "El Choro", Bolivian Andes.

The strong wind prepares my body for an unexpected and life changing experience. The Bolivian Andes are the initial scenario of my challenge, the Inca trek “El Choro”, a three days walk which simply takes your breath away. It starts at 4800m of altitude and if you manage to walk its 50km, it gets to 1400m.

Everything starts with an Inca ritual directed by a real shaman who's got to convince the gods to allow foreigners to go into this Inca marvel. Right from the beginning I can feel some forces and energies, nature has spoken and now I've got to show what I'm made of.

What awaits me ahead seems senseless, both the atmosphere and vegetation change their appearance as I keep walking. Somehow the mountains try to send me a message which I cannot reply with known words, the landscapes and views are just stunning. From dark brown to strange green, the bush and trees become irrational shapes to my eyes.

After trekking for about five hours, a couple of houses appear at the distance, it's lunch time and the few locals have prepared a whole event for the strangers. The amazing ‘llamas’ are the first to welcome me, they seem very friendly so I get closer and suddenly one of them tries to kiss me, actually does it without my permission. Apparently they are trained to do that, after all I have to admit it's a wonderful and very exotic kiss, almost heavenly.

The endless trek continues, so does the beauty of nature. Every step that I take means an approach to the past, about 500 years ago the path was used by the Inca Empire to transport food and tools. The first day finishes and the grey sky not only witnesses my need of rest but also my satisfaction. Another bunch of houses, an inspiring river and the common blur in the middle of the Bolivian Andes are the last things I see before sleeping.

The second day guarantees wonderful views and unluckily some blisters in your toes. Once again on the road, I've been walking like a non-stop machine and it's all worth it. This experience really allows you to establish a direct connection with our mother Earth, words are just not enough to describe how your mind and body react in the presence of natural tranquillity and peace.

Another journey comes to an end, I'm even more tired but my motivation grows with the simple thought of glory and success. I'm mentally ready to face the third day even though physically I feel I'm reaching my limit. The vegetation of low altitude shows clearly that the trek is about to conclude.

As I get closer to the end I realize my soul has changed its essence and my legs cannot walk anymore, I'm a new human being and my eyes see everything from a very different perspective. Without any doubt I decide to leave a piece of my heart in the Andes.

Tags: #2011writing, bolivia, el choro, ruta inka 2010, travel writing scholarship 2011, trekking


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