Nick Knowles Amazing Railway Adventure | Preview (Channel 5)
Nick Knowles is going on the railway journey of a lifetime across the extraordinary landscapes of Peru to magical Machu Picchu.
Starting at Puno on Lake Titicaca, Nick’s journey takes him to the highest point on this railway line (and the fourth highest train station in the world) at La Reya. Here, he takes a lightning tour of a local street market, where he haggles (successfully) for a woven alpaca throw.
Back on the train he’s introduced to a charismatic cocktail maker and the Pisco Sour, Peru’s national cocktail, made from Pisco (white brandy), sugar, lemon and white of egg. Delicious – but pokey!
Next on this extraordinary journey, Nick stops off for a stunning boat ride across the deep waters of Lake Titicaca to visit the floating islands of the Uros, a pre-Inca tribe who still live in southern Peru. He fishes with one of the locals and back on the island, shares food with them. Reaching the ancient Inca capital of Cusco, Nick travels out of town to the ancient ruins at Moray.
Right next door is Mil Centro, one of the foremost restaurants in Peru. Here, he meets Virgilio Martinez, regularly named as one of the world’s top 50 chefs. While tasting some of the world’s finest dishes, he learns about the role of the humble spud in Peru.
This is the potato’s country of origin and there are over 3,000 known varieties, with hundreds still in daily use. Back on the train out of Cusco, Nick jolts his way through ‘El Zig Zag’, a series of five sharp turns in the track via points changes, which enables the train to climb out of the city. The train calls in at Ollantaytambo, where Nick visits an architectural dig.
Keen to get involved, Nick unearths an ancient artifact, part of a clay object stunningly painted in the form of a face. Wherever Nick goes, he finds stories that will surprise and delight and fascinating people to talk to.
Finally, it’s time for the last stage of his journey on the train (the only form of transport available as there is no road) up to Machu Picchu itself. Standing above the ancient citadel, Nick is moved to see the intricate beauty of the ancient terraces.