. When it cleared the site was truly amazing, however by this time the gates had opened and other tourists started to flood the site. Bill took us on about a two hour tour of the site but the magic of the early morning had disappeared with huge groups of people everywhere it felt different. The last few days had been an almost spiritual time where we could almost imagine the Incan ways of life, the empire built around education, class systems yet socialism well before its time. The rituals and prayers done to mountains and gods we have never heard of so often with the coca leaves that kept us climbing and descending. There is no doubt Machu Picchu is an amazing sight but it is probably too busy to really appreciate it.
After about another hour of wandering around the ruins we decided not to climb Machu Picchu mountain or Wayna Picchu (or however it is spelt) there were too many people around and we were all quite frankly knackered, after walking 49.5 kilometres we didn't even feel guilty. We therefore got the bus back down the mountain to Agua Calientes town for a well deserved lie down on a bed. We got to the place and more or less fell straight to sleep, we woke for lunch, and decided to have another quick nap before walking to the hot springs, unfortunately we didn’t wake back up again until almost tea time, we had a quick walk around the town, and the amazing 4 x 1 happy hour offers on Pisco sours, before heading back to the hotel for dinner and beers
. Oh nearly forgot after Erica's shower she left a strategically placed pool of water outside the bathroom door (yes thats a private bathroom folks how posh) I slipped losing my feet and landed horizontally with my back on the corner of the step, I thought I needed hospitalising when it happened but over the course of an hour or so it eased and I could move but with a great deal of pain. We survived the walk but nearly didn’t survive Lady E’s trap. As soon as we finished dinner though we were straight back into bed for the night. The Inca trail is a funny old walk, it is hard work, perhaps not just because of the altitude but the constant climbing and descending, is it one of the world’s best walks? Yes, but it is mighty expensive, and quite frankly a bit of a pain in the arse. Definately a once in a lifetime thing for us.
We were woken by rain and banging on our tent, I checked the watch it was 03:30am, what the..... We had breakfast at 4am still feeling worse for ware and watched the rain gradually fade. There seemed little point sitting around so we made Bill walk with us in the dark to the checkpoint, where Llama Dung were already waiting (of course). We stood for maybe an hour until it got light and the checkpoint opened. Some of the other guides were absolutely wasted much to Bill's delight with him telling us, "look all you lot do is complain about walking up and down hills, look at me, he is f*cked, I am great" much to his delight and our amusement. We were the second group through and we paced on for about one hour until we got to the Sun Gate. Needless to say it wasn’t sunny, indeed it was still as cloudy and misty as ever. Bill strongly insisted we did not wait in case it did not clear and push on down to Machu Picchu itself before the buses and train loads of tourists arrived. When we arrived maybe 40 minutes later the air was starting to clear ever so slightly and the front gates had not yet opened, which meant we pretty much had the site to ourselves, except for Llama Dung obviously