Christmas Day up Machu Pichu!

Trip Start May 07, 2003
Trip End Sep 05, 2005

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Flag of Peru  ,
Thursday, December 25, 2003

What a shock it was coming from the blast furnace sauna of Central America to the freezing chill of the Andes. I made it into Cuzco after a quick hop over Columbia and then a 22 hour bus ride high into the mountains just before Christmas. I trudged wearily into the huge Plaza de Armas, to find every inch of the square was packed with a screaming Peruvian. Two enormous video screens were setup and there was a footie match on. I sussed out this was the final of the "Campeon de Copa de Sud America", the Champions League equivalent in Europe. And Cuzco's tiny team was in it, playing against the huge 'River Plate' of Argentina. Amazingly 'Cienciano' of Cuzco won it! To put this in perspective, this is like Blackburn Rovers winning the Champions League! The ground shook at full time and the whole city went into a wild frenzy of two days partying. There were people drinking on the square until 8 the next morning, then all day the next there was player presentations, more partying and an open air concert. A great introduction to Peru.

So I booked up to climb Machu Pichu on the 22nd Dec. Since before I left Scotland, it was my aim to be up Machu Pichu for Christmas day. After 3 days climbing thru some trully spectacular Andean scenery, we made it, well just me and a Canadian boy actually. We had got so p1ssed off waiting hours for every fecker in the pissing rain, we walked the last day in a oner, we had the whole trail to ourselves, which is unheard of and were at the Sungate for a great view of the ruins on Christmas eve. The only people ahead of us were the porters. These guys are amazing, aged from 16 to 60 years old, they carry up to 50 KILOS on their backs. We struggle with our ten kilo packs up these high altitude mountain passes, whereas these guys RUN up and down, make our lunch when they get to camp, pack everything up, then overtake us and have dinner ready by the time we get there! Most of them have viens popping out of their legs and muscles like horses. They get paid a pitance however and suffer from many health complaints. On Christmas day we made it to the ruins proper, it kinda blows your mind when you see a place like that, I was trully in awe for the whole day.

The ruins themselves are so intricate, perched impossibly ontop of the world, with amazing engineering and the most impossibly precise stonework. Huge rocks were shaped into Condors, Pumas, sillouettes of mountains behind, even a model of the ruins themselves. But the surrounding locale was even more breathtaking, green pinacle-like mountains, sheer rockfaces 1000m's high, great rivers rushing so far below.

And we were really lucky with the weather after walking thru some pretty bad conditions on the way there, someone was smiling on us though and made Chrimbo day a gorgeous one - cheers mate!
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