¡Feliz Navidad! Inca Style vs Family Shankers
Trip Start Oct 05, 2012
64Trip End Apr 01, 2013
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Family Shankers (FS)
Inca Style (IS)
(FS) Not an hour I would normally see on Christmas Day...
(IS) Woken up by my alarm after a very restless night where it sounded like someone was setting off fireworks in the hallway of the hotel, and when every time I woke up I tried to hear if the rain had stopped or not. It was still pelting it down though, making it even harder to peel myself from the bed and struggle into the still wet clothes from the previous day
(FS) As above...
(IS) Wearing all my clothes and draped in a super sized poncho, I joined the queue (yes, there was already one...) for the bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu. It felt like a very long wait (although in reality only 15mins) until the first bus moved into place and they started loading. I found myself on the 2nd bus and was soon on the very steep and winding road to the entrance gate!!
(FS) Probably when my sister first wakes up, excited about Christmas Day, getting presents, and most importantly her beloved stocking. Even now, at the age of 32...
(IS) Arrival at the ticket gates to Machu Picchu!! A very small queue and I was through!! 5mins later I made my way up the main pathway and got my first glimpse of the lost inca city. Mist hung over the mountain tops, covering parts of the ruins as it slowly drifted around the base of Huayna Picchu. But this just added to the atmosphere and It was truly amazing
(FS) Alison would probably still be lying awake, staring at the ceiling and clock watching. Dad maybe also awake by this time, again unable to sleep due to his excitement about getting presents...
(IS) The start of a 2 hour tour around the site, starting off at the location where all the famous postcard shots are taken from. About 30mins into the tour, the rain stopped (yippee!) and the sun started to break through the clouds. We made our way through the sun temple, storage houses, the main temple zone, public plaza, inca botanical garden, saw the agricultural terracing in the agricultural zone, and oohhed/aahhed at the llamas grazing in the centre of the site. It also turns out the Incas were quite the drainage experts. No cascading waterfalls down the many steps due to the rain, instead large numbers of fountains and drainage channels dealt seamlessly with what must have been a huge amount of rainwater. Now, there's obviously a thing or 2 to be learnt from their architectural and engineering genius!! Overall, the tour was a great introduction to the site, and made even better by the disappearance of the rain :-)
(FS) The loud footsteps outside my room and the Christmas music from downstairs have done there trick and I would probably be awake, crawling out of bed and making my way downstairs...
(FS) Present opening!! Exercising my arms and mouth only...
(IS) My 'present' to myself (one of the many during this trip!!) was one of the limited 400 tickets to climb Huayna Picchu, the mountain to the rear of the ruins which is seen in most pictures. It is incredibly steep, and I wasn't really looking forward to climbing it because of the earlier rainfall. It took quite a while for the queue to go down but we eventually got through the gates around 1045 and were on our way...
(FS) Champagne (the first bottle of who knows how many!!) would have been opened by mum, accompanied by nibbles and mince pies as a pre-dinner appetiser
(IS) After a far more moderate climb than expected, I reached the top of the mountain. Because the rain had stopped, the stairs were nowhere near as slippy as expected and the only real hazard was the narrowness of the walkway and the passing of other people. The final ascent took me through a tiny little cave, which provided a very welcome respite from the heat of the sun as there were cool drops of water dripping from the roof. Coming through this, I reached the very top of the mountain, found myself a great spot on an unoccupied rock plateau and allowed myself to be awed by the view. It was totally worth the climb as you can see the whole of the site, not to mention the surrounding mountains and valleys. I also got sunburnt on my shoulders...silly me forgot to replace the sun lotion which had been rubbed off by my rucksack during the climb...
(FS) Mum would be opening another bottle of champagne. Dad would be looking disapprovingly and only allowing his glass to be topped up a very small amount - all the more for us girls!! Alison would have appeared with her trademark 'GR' red lipstick, and I would probably still be fighting with my hair...
(IS) My descent from the mountain complete, I rested for a while at the base and decided where to go next
(FS) The Queen's Speech - although attention would be limited as the finishing touches are put to the meal. Turkey this year, as I wasn't there to supervise Dad and the Beef Wellington ;-)
(IS) Again, a much shorter walk than expected and it wasn't too long before I arrived at the Sungate. This is the traditional entrance for those coming off the Inca Trail, allowing them their first glimpse of Machu Picchu before they make the descent into the site
(FS) Probably 2/3 of the way through the Christmas meal, with dessert about to start. Christmas pudding, and this year there would have been even more to eat without me to force down the obligatory lump. Not that I don't like it - it's just always slightly too much at the end of the meal...
(IS) I arrived back at the storage room to collect my bag of soggy clothes and the much needed rain poncho. I debated a while whether or not to get the bus back or to walk, but being stubborn and feeling like I should walk simply because I had got the bus up in the morning, I set off down the many stairs towards Aguas Calientes.
(FS) Christmas dinner over for another year. Dishes would be cleared, and Alison would be ferreting around in the back of the pantry for another bottle of wine. Dad again would be looking disapprovingly, but eventually would give her one of his worst to ensure she doesn't pick the most expensive...
(FS) One of the Christmas specials would be on - Strictly Come Dancing or similar. Although Alison would probably be the only one still awake...
(IS) The train left Aguas Calientes!! Finally, on the way back to a hot shower and a nice bed...
(FS) Turkey sandwiches, more mince pies, chocolates and possibly a liqueur
(IS) Arrived at Ollantayamba station, where the train terminates and the journey had to be continued by bus. There were hundreds of people with names on boards, one of which was mine. Yippee!!
(FS) Maybe another movie or game. Maybe more TV. Who knows...the day is almost over...
(IS) I arrived back into Cusco, was dropped a 2 min walk from the hostel and literally ran back there.
(FS) As above.
(IS) In bed - wearing all the clothes I left in my big rucksack in Cusco to help warm me up....a well deserved zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...