Two Men And A Mule

Episodes

EpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
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01From Andean Cloud Forest To Steamy Jungle20151002

The Andes have become a symbol of a lost world of Inca wisdom and cities in the clouds, of the Celestine Prophecy and Indiana Jones. It needs two men (and their mule) to cut their way through the mystique with some machetes and wit.

Renowned explorers Hugh Thomson and Benedict Allen join forces with their trusty mule, Washington to journey to the extraordinary Last City of the Incas, Espíritu Pampa. Deep down in the Amazon, this is where the Incas escaped when on the run from the Spanish conquistadors in the 16th Century and where the very last Inca emperor, Tupac Amaru, was finally captured and brought back to be executed in the main square of Cuzco.

This arduous trek takes them down off the steep slopes of the Andean cloud-forest into the steamy jungle, down stone-laid Inca paths, across raging rivers and landslides as they trek to the last city of the Incas - Espiritu Pampa - 'the Pampa of Ghosts'.

Produced by Ruth Evans

A Ruth Evans Production for BBC Radio 4.

02To The Last City Of The Incas20151009
02To The Last City Of The Incas20151009

Hugh Thomson and Benedict Allen, along with their trusty mule Washington, continue their exploration of Peru's Inca past as they journey from the high Andes, deep down into the steamy Amazon jungle, searching for Espíritu Pampa, the extraordinary Last City of the Incas.

Espiritu Pampa means 'the Pampa of Ghosts' and this romantic and evocative site has been a magnet for every explorer in this part of Peru since Hiram Bingham, with its enormous plaza so overgrown that it is impossible to see from side to side, its towering ceiba trees and jungle birds like the oropendula with their long, looping calls. This is where the Incas escaped when on the run from the Spanish conquistadors in the 16th Century, and where the very last Inca emperor, Tupac Amaru, was finally captured and brought back to be executed in the main square of Cuzco.

Produced by Ruth Evans

A Ruth Evans production for BBC Radio 4.

03The Festival Of The Snows20151016
03The Festival Of The Snows20151016
03The Festival Of The Snows20151016
03The Festival Of The Snows20151016
03The Festival Of The Snows20151016
03The Festival Of The Snows20151016
03The Festival Of The Snows20151016

03The Festival Of The Snows20151016
03The Festival Of The Snows20151016

The Andes have become a symbol of a lost world of Inca wisdom and cities in the clouds, of the Celestine Prophecy and Indiana Jones. It needs two men (and their mule) to cut their way through the mystique with some machetes and wit.

For the third and final programme of the series, explorers Hugh Thomson and Benedict Allen - along with their trusty mule Washington - make the arduous journey to Qoyllurit'i, the so-called 'festival of the snows' held high up in the glaciers of Peru, where 30,000 people gather for what is very much a Glastonbury of the Andes.

This is one of the very last places where the rituals and beliefs of ancient Peru still intersect with the present in an extraordinary mix of pre-Colombian and Christian ritual - festival goers walk to the high glacier with crosses, which take on the spirit of the glacier and are then carried down the mountain to local chapels, from where the spirit of the glacier can watch over the community.

The festival is policed by bear-men who whip the participants if they do not follow the elaborate set of rituals prescribed for the festival from the beginnings of Andean culture.

Produced by Ruth Evans

A Ruth Evans production for BBC Radio 4.