We’ve all had a holiday experience that didn’t turn out exactly as planned. Spare a thought for the Maitland quartet of Kath and Dean Lawrence and Joy and David Agnew whose train ride through the picturesque Peruvian jungle was cut short – when protesters ripped up the rail line they were travelling on. Their only option … a three-hour trek with bags on their backs.
A group of Matiland holiday-makers’ South American journey literally went off the rails when they were caught in the middle of rowdy protests in Peru earlier this month.
East Maitland’s Kath and Dean Lawrence and Joy and David Agnew were among the hundreds of tourists left stranded when the railway tracks they were due to travel on were torn up by protesters.
The quartet had finished a four-day trek on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and were preparing for a train ride back to the city of Cusco when word came through that protests had erupted throughout the region.
“It was a bit of a shock as we went out to celebrate finishing the trek,” Dean said. “We were looking forward to a rest day and the train back, only to find out we had to strap on the hiking shoes and backpack.”
The group were forced to walk for three hours from the small town of Aguas Calientes to the nearest vehicle accessible point. They followed the train tracks through the Peruvian jungle, with Dean describing the walk as “quite difficult” as they traversed rocky, unstable surfaces and river crossings.
There was little respite after their trek, with the quartet boarding a minibus for a seven-hour drive on winding jungle tracks back to Cusco.
Dean said the unrest was a bit wild compared to home, but they never felt unsafe.
“Other travelers had expressed it being scary. We personally didn't. It does present as a bit wild compared to protests as home.”