Inca Hunt Part II: Off to Machu Picchu

Trip Start Feb 21, 2012
Trip End Sep 20, 2012

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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

About 4 months ago we wanted to book the Inca trail to Machu Picchu, unfortunately, however, it was already fully booked so we had no choice but to take an alternative trek - the Lares trek. Four days and three nights, our last trek and our last World Wonder on this trip...

Day 1: New Friends  (12km hike)
We got up at 4.30 in the morning to meet up with our group an hour later and take a two hour bus to the beginning of our trek. In the middle of the forest we ejoyed our first breakfast together before we began our hike up hill. It took about six hours (inlcuding a long lunch break) to reach a waterfall at about 3800 metres altitude where our porters had already put up our tents for the night. It was one of the many sleepless nights we had on this trip, and also one of the coldest - during the night the temperature dropped to minus degrees. The next morning the grass and the tent were frozen. For me it was a completely new experience of camping. So far I always had my inflatable bed with me when we went camping and I slept like a baby. On the Lares trek we pretty much slept on the floor, with a one centimeter matress. The cold crept in from everywhere....
On our first day we got to know our little group a bit better, our two guides were very nice and then there were also two French girls, a nice Canadian couple, an older know-it-all American couple and my new best friend Ian. Ian told me on the first night that he disliked Germany and all Germans were generally boring. I expected some happy days ahead of us.

Day 2: Reaching the peak  (18km hike)
Getting up at 6 am felt like a sleep-in. Like I said, it was still freezing cold when we continued our ascent. For three hours the trail got steeper and steeper until we reached the highest pass called Pachacutec Pass (4758m). From there the trail took us downhill through beautiful mountains and past glacial lakes until we could see the valley Quisuarani (3700m) where we headed for lunch. All together the hike took about five hours. Originally it was planned to stay in the valley for the rest of the day, camp there and then head on to the hotsprings in Lares on the next day. However, the hot springs, only 2,5 hours away sounded so tempting that we continued to walk after lunch. At sunset we arrived at the spings and enjoyed a hot soak before dinner. Our porters managed to sneak in some wine and beer for us, which made the evening quite entertaining and it definetely helped me to endure Ian. That night we slept a bit better in out tents, at a lower altitude it was much warmer.
Day 3: Kind of pointless

Because we had already done the hike that was meant for day three on day two, there was not much going on. We bathed in the hotsprings, took a walk to Lares town and waited to get picked up by a bus that would take us to a train station from where we would take a train to Aguas Calientes. In Aguas Calientes the company had booked all of us into a hostel, the times of hardcore camping were over. Generally the day included mostly travelling and hanging about, which I felt was a bit disappointing and I regretted not having booked the actual Inca trail earlier, where you hike all the way to Machu Picchu.

Day 4: Wonder of the World
Another early rise at 4 in the morning, breakfast and a 20 minutes bus ride to Machu Picchu - and then we were finally there. Finally at our last World Wonder! It was absolutely amazing to see the city of the Incas and with how much effort it was built. I had wanted to see it for so long and all my expectations were fulfilled. What a great final highlight at the end of our amazing travels. 
Back in Aguas Calientes we had to wait for several hours until our train took us back to Cusco. That time we spent drinking coctails in bar. It turned out that the know-it-all American couple wasn't so bad in the end once they stopped lecturing us about everything and anything. Ian had luckily gone to some other hot springs, so we managed to spend our waiting time having fun ;)
At 10.30 pm we arrived in Cusco and said goodbye to our fellow travellers. Finally alone again!

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