Jay went to Peru in 2008 to explore its fascinating history, its current situation, and the fabulous scenery of the Andes range. Leaving crowded Lima, she went on to visit the vast Lake Titicaca with its islands, where indigenous Quechua-speaking campesinos live; also the floating sedge islands which are home to fishing families. A ride northwards along the Andean range then took her to sprawling Cuzco, once the capital of Peru. Here, modern buildings mix with older ones and ancient dry stone walls.
From Cuzco, she took the train to Aguas Calientes on the Urubamba River, and from here it was a bus up the steep switchback road to Machu Picchu far above. The remains of this world-famous Inca city reveal its architecture, terraces and Sun Temple.
Following this spectacular visit, the tour bus descended down towards the Pacific Ocean, taking in Colca Canyon, and then the old colonial city of Arequipa with museums illustrating Peruvian history and customs. At the coast, she visited giant sand dunes, took a boat to a sea lion colony and then returned to Lima.
From here she took a bus north to Ecuador, arriving in Quito to find the Mayday demonstration in full swing. After this came an unwelcome surprise…
2nd: Nick Marchant – A Toast To Georgia
A land of beautiful landscapes and passionate people, where guests are ‘gifts from God’, I tell the story of my five trips to this dramatic Caucasus country, from its post-Soviet and civil war chaos in 1996 to its modern 21st century West-leaning democracy. With Russia to the North and Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Iran to the South, it has always been at a critical juncture in geography and civilisation.
Visiting mostly the same family over almost 30 years, I describe how the country seems to have changed. A country steeped in tradition where the custom of ‘toasting’ with friends and family at a table laden with their delicious cuisine and local wine is a wonderful, joyous way of celebrating life. What characterises the Georgian people and what might survive of that character? And how might I have changed as a result of my three decades of friendship with this fascinating country and people?