Fancy something active and adventurous? And I don’t mean hurtling towards earth at terminal velocity relying on a length of elastic or a parachute to save you from an early grave! No, I mean trying something a little different whilst enjoying the riches of nature. This month our extraordinary travel partners, The Travel Producer, have two suggestions to get your travel juices flowing. Discover Debbie Suenson-Taylor’s recommendations below:
'First up is summertime in the Alps. Most of us associate the Alps with skiing but I would argue that summer is the best time to experience this wondrous area in all its splendour. During the months between June and September, the mountains and valleys shed their monochrome black and white to erupt in a riot of colour as the wild flowers and shrubs flaunt the full spectrum of the rainbow.
There are lots of options to suit every individual’s preference for exertion. The easiest is to travel by train. Swiss trains really do run like clockwork and they are clean and comfortable. The network is comprehensive, meaning it is simple and stress free to get about. So sit back and relax, enjoy the views of the lakes, valleys and mountains. By train you can cover a large area of the country, skipping from Geneva to Interlaken to Lucerne. In between, you can use the lift system to reach the mountain tops to soak up stunning panoramas of endless Alpine peaks.
The healthiest option is to walk. The Alpine trails are clearly marked, easy to follow and take you to places only accessible to walkers. In their efficient way, the Swiss have made this as easy as possible by transporting your luggage from your current destination to the next (using either the train system or post vans) so that the intrepid walker only needs to carry a small backpack containing food, water and wet weather gear each day. It’s not hard to wander from Grindelwald to Wengen to Murren beneath the mighty Eiger and with wonderful views of the magnificent Jungfrau. The air is sparkling fresh and the panorama is simply breath taking. It’s easy to jump on a lift or a funicular should you get tired or linger too long in a mountainside hostelry!
My second option involves travelling further afield to experience the mighty Andes in Peru. Nestled on a small plateau high up in the mountains is the lost city of Macchu Pichu, a Unesco World Heritage site. It is one of the few cities that was not destroyed by Spanish invaders in the 16th century and it is in remarkably good condition. The craftsmanship of the Inca stonemasons is truly impressive and, because the city is complete, we can understand much of how this remarkable civilisation lived on a daily basis.
As with the Alps, this can be accessed by train from Agua Calientes, a small town built on warm thermal spas some 1,500 metres below the Lost City. It’s a lovely place to wander the streets, take in the local culture, markets bars and little restaurants. The canny visitor can even stay in the well- appointed five-star hotel built just outside the gates of the Lost City so that guests can explore well ahead of the arrival of others.
The walking options here are numerous but I like wandering the Macchu Picchu trail. It is a relatively straight forward four day hike that takes you up and over the infamous Dead Woman’s pass on a well-marked path and is done with guides (who will take you to smaller Inca settlements and regale the history of the Inca Empire) and with porters (who carry your spare clothing, food, water and rubbish). The rewards for taking this option are the views of the stunning, pristine, snow-capped Andean peaks with perhaps even a Condor riding the thermals. It is one of those life experiences that will never be forgotten.'
Discover Travel Producer's curated Machu Picchu and Swiss Alps itineraries.
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Debbie Suenson-Taylor - Director
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