Trip Start Sep 04, 2012
47Trip End Aug 02, 2013
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All of this was the warm-up to arguably South America's main event for us.....the 'Inca Trail.' This thing is popular.....really popular......we only just got on it having booked it in mid-February
So day 1 was very easy (flat)
Day 4 is an ABSURD 3.30 get-up, a long wait in a queue, waiting for the final checkpoint to open, then a bit of a pace-walk for an hour to the 'Sungate' to get your first glimpse of Macchu Picchu. We got there at 6ish.......and not for the first time on this trip......COULD NOT SEE A THING......CLOUDS!! The guides made themselves comfortable which we took as a positive sign and about 15 minutes later, within the space of 30 seconds, the clouds miraculously lifted and revealed what we had all been waiting for. Everyone's seen the pics of this place and it is ABSOLUTELY STUNNING....even more so when we got a bit closer to it. Definitely one of the best sights we've seen! These Inca chaps were quite something to build what is technically (by their standards) a small city right in the middle of the mountains! The site was built by the Incas over 60 years and was home to the King and Nobles in approximately 1450. Incas from all over South America travelled to the site to worship the King and to volunteer in helping to build the city. In total there are approximately 40,000 km of trails through Ecuador, Chile, Argentina, Bolivia and Peru which ultimately lead to Machu Picchu. Sites along the trails were mainly made up of houses and farming terraces and are thought to have been used as resting places for people who were travelling to and from the city
We were given a short tour which included what rooms/places were used for what purpose (based on the quality of the stonework), how they used the sun and constellations to determine seasons and farming patterns, how they kept jungle enemies at bay and how they actually cut the rocks to form such pristine buildings among plenty of other interesting things. A really impressive bunch of people!!
Shortly after our tour, we broke off from our group as we had already booked to climb Huayna Picchu, the mountain directly behind Machu Picchu (the one you see of the 'postcard' pic of Machu Picchu). As if we hadn't done enough bloody climbing already! Anyway, it was only half an hour or so up and provided even more superb views! An incredible day to be honest, marred only by the fact that the 'hot springs' at the end of the tour were a) BLEEDIN UPHILL and b) LUKE WARM AT BEST!!!
So that brought South America to an end for us. It certainly tested us for a 2-3 week spell in late May/early June but one of our main reasons for doing what we've done this year is to get 'wowed' by stuff, and this place does that in ABUNDANCE!! Massively fond memories of South America! We'll miss it, but it's time to go on 'holiday' to the States.......