If our Mount Kilimanjaro Trek didn’t tickle your fancy then you should check out this latest opportunity Karnival are offering. This Sunday we have are bringing you the info meeting for Macchu Picchu in the stunning surroundings of Peru. As with Kilimanjaro we asked one of the Nottingham students who took part in the last few years to write us a taster about the whole experience. Check out what Zak Soithongsuk had to say about his time in Peru…
“When my friends and I heard about the charity challenges that you can get involved in at Nottingham, we jumped at the chance. We were keen young first years with a freshly landed student loan burning a hole in our pocket, just begging us to sign up to climbing Kilimanjaro, to trek the Great Wall of China or to cycle India. All of these sounded amazing, but the one that caught our eyes was a bit of a rogue choice, but one that not a single one of us regretted – trekking across the Andes to see one of the seven ancient wonders of the world: Machu Picchu.
After months of fundraising for the Meningitis Research Foundation, the day finally came to pack our bags, head to Heathrow and jump on a three-leg flight to Cuzco, the 900-year-old town that acts as a gateway to Machu Picchu. After a couple of days to acclimatise to the high altitude and explore the ancient town, we climbed onto a coach to take us to the foot of our six-day trek through the Andes Mountain range to reach the elusive Inca city.
The trail you take isn’t the well-beaten, overcrowded and very touristic Inca trail. Instead, you’ll face the challenge of the Salkantay trail, because remember, this is all for charity. Don’t fear though, the trek itself is incredible. It’s not every week that some of your best memories occur all within a six-day period, from camping at the foot of two mountains in complete darkness with not another person in sight, to taking a swim in a tributary that leads to the Amazon river with sheer mountains of rainforest looming above, to having to relieve yourself in the wild – both numbers one and two.
Every day of the trek is different, as you begin walking across flat plains with icy mountains either side (including, at one point, the humongous snow-capped Salkantay after which the trail is named), through rocky landscape snaked with rivers and streams, and then atop the lush and humid Amazon basin. Your penultimate night is spent in Aguas Calientes, the nearest town to your final destination where you can take a well-needed rest in the hot springs that give the town its name, although try not to get your flip flops stolen by a local! When you awake in the morning and once you’ve finally climbed the biggest staircase you’ll come across in your life, you reach the ancient Inca city, with its sprawling grey skeleton begging you to take that famous photo.
Machu Picchu is one of the ancient wonders of the world for a reason. It truly is an amazing and beautiful place, only becoming more and more mysterious as you learn about its history. I can’t stress enough how it’s something you have to see in your lifetime, and it’s made all the better knowing that you being there has helped a good cause.
After the trek is done, you also have the chance to travel around Peru for a while to see what else the country has to offer. It also gives you another chance to go home with an alpaca-wool jumper (or three) if you didn’t take the chance in Cuzco!
Trekking to Machu Picchu will be one of my greatest memories from university for many reasons and I couldn’t recommend the trip more. It’s not every day you get the chance to fly halfway across the world and trek through the Andes to see what is undoubtedly one of the must-see places in the world. And all of this, in the name of charity. How can you say no?”
This year we are doing the trek for Meningitis Research Fund and Action Against Hunger. Two fantastic charities who both have very experienced student fundraising teams. Want to hear more information? Then come along to A48 in Clive Granger on Sunday at 7pm!