Horse riding is something I’ve always wanted to try, it seems like a great way to get from place to place. Little did I realize that it isn’t a painless experience! By the end of the day I was actually walking beside my horse - much easier on the body!
We were told to take small day bags and that a car would take our overnight gear to the small village where we would stay. We packed our large backpack and then found out that our guide would have to carry it instead!
Our trek started from the incredible ruins of Saksaywaman and heading towards a small lake that supplies Cusco with its fresh water. The guide was accompanied by a horseman who brought the two horses for us to ride.
We stopped off at one village where all the women were all dressed up in traditional attire. One kid in particular loved the sight of us white strangers.
To end our horse trek we had a home-stay with our tour guide’s family. The home was a quaint farmhouse overlooking the lake, made of mud bricks and designed for hobbits; the doorways and ceilings were all about a meter high!
Sarah was a little bit nervous as soon as we arrived. We both wished we’d bought our tent as it become very obvious we were displacing someone from their bed. Somewhat annoyingly the guide had to return to Cusco, leaving us with his family who spoke absolutely no English and only some Spanish.
The toilet was “NOT OK“, a tiny mud shack construction out the back of the house, sharing a paddock with donkeys and pigs. The “toilet” itself simply consisted of a small open hole in the dirt ground. Unfortunately due to Bolivia’s effect on the system we couldn’t avoid the use of these facilities…
Our host mother was lovely - feeding us at every opportunity. The kitchen was interesting, one dingy light, no fridge, and there was no door protecting the food from the animals (pigs, dogs, chickens), which popped in regularly. We were fed fresh hard boiled eggs for entree. Dinner was a very homely stew, we’d said that we were vegetarian in a cowardly attempt to not get sick. Tea was served after dinner, but it was probably more than half sugar!
The household all rose at around 5am, our guide wasn’t due back until about 9am so we had a lot of time to kill. Breakfast was our first experience of liquid porridge/rice pudding, served steaming hot in a mug. Delicious gruel!
Our guide’s brother turned up at about 11am to take us home. We had spent the hours awkwardly read our kindles in the courtyard beside the pigsty. It was a short walk through farm tracks to the village where a road reached, then we were whisked away back to the civilization of Cusco.
The route that we took on horseback was beautiful, taking us past ruins, up a valley, over a pass and along a lake. We don’t necessarily recommend the horse trekking, but it’s definitely an area worth seeing if you want to spend a day near Cusco.