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20050716_P_0042
Vilcabamba

Our plan for today is to walk up Mandango, one of the hills overlooking the valley. Paul had recommended that we left early to avoid the heat but it was 9:30am before we made it up and out. The promise of another Madre Tierre breakfast was too great a temptation to resists - large bowl of fruit salad with yoghurt, granola, their own cane syrup, delicious homemade bread and jam (pineapple, papaya and carrot) rounded off with eggs. It was already very hot and by the time we had reached the village Stef needed shade as much as me.

The start of the walk was a little further on out of town. At a small hut you had to pay $1 each to do the walk. The trail then led through the back of a garden and up the hill There was little shade, a few sparse trees at a couple of points and that was all. The high point is only 1.5km away in distance but it is also a 500m climb uphill, hard going in the heat. We climbed quite quickly but after an hour I could no longer cope with the heat. I retreated to the shade and left Stef to carry on up. The views of the valley were fabulous. From here the "uphill" we did yesterday afternoon looked totally flat!

For me the heat here is a real problem. It seems to simply bounce of the mountains, the roads, the houses, amplifying as it goes. Much as I find it hot, the friends of Carol we were talking to a couple of nights ago find it a bit cool - they come from Arizona where is it is normally 110F. Another American chap came bounding up the hill, no signs here that the heat is a problem either. We had spent about three hours out and about and were glad to be back in the shade of the central square. Here we again bumped into Paul, who double checked some of the information we had given him yesterday about PerĂº and Chile.

We had another hot walk back to the hotel and spent the rest of the day cooling down, chilling out, checking mail and playing cribbage (Stef won again). We both agree that it is time to find a new card game. One of the Belgian boys came and found us and gave us a bar of Galler chocolate and yes, it is better even than Corné. It is also "by appointment" to the Belgian King, apparently a bon viveur, so if it is good enough for him ....