Three years ago she lost both legs, now Hannelore climbs to Machu Picchu together with Belgian singer- TV presenter Koen Wauters.
Photo:VTM: Hannelore Vens and TV host Koen Wauters at Machu Picchu (2400 m/7873 ft)
In September 2014, Hannelore Vens (27) lost both legs when she fainted in the train station of Brugge (Belgium) and fell down flat on her belly unconscious on the train tracks right when a train arrived and run over her legs. It was quickly noticed in the hospital that her legs could not be saved, and she has been wearing prothese legs for 3 years now.
But Hannelore had a dream, ever since she was 14 years old, she wanted to climb the famous Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. She said: “This ancient path to Machu Picchu fascinated me since I was a child. After the accident I first thought I would never be able any more to realise my dream. But then I saw that on the TV station VTM they looked for people with a physical restrictions who wanted to make their dreams come true. I didn’t think I was going to be selected but I thought this was maybe my last chance.”
When the famous Belgian singer and Television host Koen Wauters told her she was selected for the program, they immediately started to think about the right training program and several medical experts were consulted. She trained very hard for five months every day to get her muscles ready for the challenge. She was swimming, walking and training so hard to get as fit as possible that she got injured. “I almost gave up at that point” she said, “but my friend pulled me through it”.
They were in Peru at the end of May and one of our fearless mountain guides, Marisol Flores, assisted them on this adventure. Marisol said: “It was an amazing and very inspiring experience for me to spend these days with such a resilient, passionate and courageous young women as Hannelore. She made such an impression on me. I will never forget her. If someone without legs can get to to top of the mountain, everything is possible. We just need to start with one little tiny step at the time.” She also mentioned that Koen Wauters and the support team were incredible nice.
The program will be on TV on Monday in Belgium in the program “Over winnaars” (this means “About Winners”) on VTM channel.
Photo credit: Marisol Flores. Selfies at the Sun Gate (2750m/9000 ft) from where they could see the first views over Machu Picchu, the Lost City of the Incas.
Photo by Marisol Flores. The team at the Sun Gate with an amazing panoramic view over the ruins of Machu Picchu and the green surrounding in the back.
Do you want to travel on the mini-Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and live this magical experience too?
Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
Day 1: Cusco – Inca Trail – Aguas Calientes
In the morning your mountain guide will meet you at your hotel and we will bring you to the train station to take a very scenic ride through the Sacred Valley of the Incas to the starting point of the famous one-day or ‘mini’ Inca trail to Machu Picchu at KM 104 of the railway.
The bridge at KM 104, the starting point of the mini Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
We hike through the most beautiful cloud forest with gorgeous fauna, flora and green mountain scenery.
Along the way you encounter the hidden Inca ruins of ‘Winay Wayna’. (‘Forever Young’)
Photo: On the way to the Sun Gate and Machu Picchu you encounter the beautiful Inca ruins of Winay Wayna. (2650m/8694ft)
Then a couple hours further going up and down we get to ‘Intipunku’ or the Sun Gate, the place from where you can appreciate an breathtaking panoramic view of Machu Picchu.
whenever you are ready you hike down to the Lost City of the Incas to visit a first part of the ruins with your mountain guide. You’ll have some free time to make pictures and in the afternoon you’ll take the bus down to the village of Aguas Calientes to spend the night in a hotel (many choices available) where you can relax in the open air hot springs.
Day 2: Machu Picchu – Cusco
Today we get up early to take the first bus from Aguas Calientes back to Machu Picchu. You will be rewarded as you see the mist rise off the mountains revealing the forgotten city of the Incas. You have a guided tour with your guide and then you will have plenty of time on your own to enjoy the beauty of Machu Picchu. You can climb the steep Wayna Picchu mountain if wanted from where you can observe Machu Picchu from a totally different angle. In the afternoon you take the train back and you will be transferred to your hotel in Cusco or the Sacred Valley.
Photo: Vamos Expeditions: taken from the trailhead to go to the Inca bridge in Machu Picchu.
Vamos Expeditions is a direct licensed operator of the Inca Trail and other treks in the area of Machu Picchu and Peru. The company is Belgian-Peruvian owned and can organize tours and treks for both individuals, families, small or large private groups. Its founder, Annelies Hamerlinck, studied Sports and Movement Sciences at the University of Ghent and Development Cooperation in Belgium. Annelies did her practises at University teaching blind people how to ski, and taking them on hikes. She invites anyone to come to experience Peru. She sees well-organized Adventure Travel as a great tool to protect nature and to help the local communities. Her company’s mission is to provide safe, life-enriching adventures that support sustainable development, cultural heritage and the environment. Vamos Expeditions was founded in 2004. The Inca Trail is only one of the many tours they offer.
Useful information about this trekking:
- Starting altitude: 2100m/6900ft.
- Highest altitude: 2730m/8792ft.
- Walking distance: 10km/6.3 miles
- Overall Difficulty: Easy to Moderate difficult (depends on your level of fitness
- Important: If you like to hike the Inca Trail you should book very well in advance as spots are limited. (aprox. 6 months in advance is great)
- This short Inca Trail can start from the city of Cusco or from the Sacred Valley of the Incas. (the regular Classic Inca Trail is 4 days/3 nights)
- More information can be found at our website: Vamos Expeditions
- Or contact Annelies Hamerlinck for more information by email (in Spanish, English or Dutch) at: firstname.lastname@example.org