This old mountain

Trip Start Jun 08, 2012
Trip End Aug 16, 2013

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Sunday, May 26, 2013

This is the last blog entry written by April from her holiday with me:
With only a few days left before my flight back to London, we booked an all day bus to get us to Cusco.  At the bus station, we spotted Rick, who we'd met at Isla Del Sol - he'd been the one to tell us about travelling in style on the 'tourist bus' so it was nice to get the bus with him.  had a guide who was very enthusiastic and clearly loved what he did. For the first time, we felt like we knew what the plan was.  We stopped at various places along the way including 2 beautifully decorated churches, one of which is known locally as the Andean Sistine Chapel, and finally we arrived at Cusco.  Nadine was feeling nostalgic as this is where she started her travels nearly a year ago.  I loved the vibe straight away.  We checked into our awesome hostel and knew instantly we wanted to stay here longer.  We had to figure out the Machu Picchu trip straight away and as soon as we'd got it all booked, we headed down for a drink in the Irish bar.  Nadine and I had decided that we wouldn't have been with each other for either of our birthdays this year and worked out that it was around half way between both of them – this was a great reason to celebrate!

The next morning we got up and tucked into our free breakfast in the hostel bar and then wandered to the square to people-watch.  We were bothered a little by people selling things and also one of the locals who had a shop came over to us and was practicing his English.  He was very friendly with us and kept touching my leg.  Obviously one of the cons, but he was harmless and we were quickly rescued when we spotted another friend who'd just rolled into town and called him over.  That night we made a date to go to the veggie restaurant Nadine had been talking about since the first mention of Cusco.  It had been talked up a LOT and it did actually live up to the hype! (Nadine: of course!!)  Our friend Sebastian joined us and we had a feast of yummy foods until we were too stuffed to move. 

The next day, we packed up our stuff and brought only the essentials with us for a trip to the sacred valley and then Machu Picchu.  Through the day, we realised more and more that our booking hadn't been made in our names, but they'd somehow done a group booking with another guy (Matt) from our hostel.   Thankfully we made friends with him quickly 'cause we ended up spending the next 2 days with him, sharing all our stuff and even the hostel room that night as the hostel had overbooked and didn't have enough rooms for all of us!  The first stop was at a place that had loads of llamas and alpacas. They were sweet and friendly (and none of them spat at us) so we got some cuddles before we had to leave.  Next, we stopped at Pisac which was gorgeous.  We walked around the ruins and got to do some shopping in a place they make silver. 

The next stop was lunch but we weren't paying the ridiculous price for the buffet that was the only thing on offer so Nadine and I went hunting around and found a place where we had a sandwich made, an Inca Kola and a chocolate bar, all for less than 2 each.  We even got to spend some time with some puppies too – win!  

We had one more stop at more ruins in Ollantaytambo before our tour guide and group left Nadine, Matt and I on our own.  We were much happier alone and kept wandering around the ruins which were slowly emptying of tourists.  We wandered around the markets afterwards and got some food while we were waiting for our train to take us to Aguas Calientes, the town at the bottom of Machu Pichhu.  At the station, we spotted a couple of Irish boys who we'd met the last night at the bar.  They'd been hammered when we met them at the bar, and in the morning when we'd been waiting for our bus to pick us up, they'd showed up and convinced themselves and the woman picking us up for the bus that they were with us, it was quite a funny 30 minutes while we watched them frantically get ready while having the shakes and no-one really knowing what was happening (and it turned out they actually weren't with our tour group at all!).

Matt, Nadine and I got to our hostel and got told what was happening the next day and then headed out for a drink.  Of course we ran into the Irish boys on our way for 'just one more drink' and we joined them.  It was a really funny evening, involving the drunk boys trying the local cuisine of Cuy (guinea pig) who got named Jimmy and Dennis before being eaten, and finally after several more 'one more drinks', when we only had 3 hours left to sleep before getting up for Mapi, we left them.  They were talking about carrying on when they got back to their hotel and later we learned from Matt that they actually got too drunk and didn't make it up to Machu Picchu!  After paying all that money, and going all the way there, they didn't even get the bus up to see it!!

We were slightly regretting the drinks when we had to get up to Machu Picchu (which means 'old mountain' in the Quechua language) before sunrise.  Matt was doing the walk up so set off before us.  We got ready after he left and I got in the queue for the bus while Nadine got us some much needed coffee!  The bus wound its way up there and we weren't very hopeful for seeing the sunrise over the mountains cause it was really cloudy and overcast.  At the top, we spotted Matt straight away and all went in together.   We walked to the guard house and couldn't see anything through the clouds and fog but we hung out there for a while. I was a little deflated that I maybe I wouldn't even get to see Machu Picchu in all it's glory but as the sun started to come up over the mountains, it started to burn away the clouds.  The clouds were slowly parting and revealing the ruins as they rolled off into the valley below.  It was a truly stunning sight! 

We joined our guide who showed us around and explained the different areas in the ruins. To be honest, he was a little boring and we were happy to leave him and be free to roam by ourselves.  Joined by Alison, another woman in our tour group, the first thing we did was find a grassy area to have a picnic lunch.  Then we walked up to the sungate and enjoyed the scenery there. 

 This was my last full day in Peru and of my trip, and I felt really happy that it had ended on a high note.  We made it back to the hostel quite late and exhausted.  After showers, we dragged ourselves out for some food and then pretty much got straight to bed.  The following morning, we got up and went to one last market, got a fruit juice and got ready to say our goodbyes before I had to set off for my mammoth journey home.  I got to do everything I wanted to do and loads more. I'd got some great time with Nadine and had also met some other awesome people.  My trip from start to finish had been incredible! 
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