Machu Picchu

Trip Start Jan 08, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Sunday, July 9, 2006

We arrived in the lovely town of Cuzco to stay in the best hostel of my travels so far. Middle of the world cup, big T.V, awesome beds, good food and bar with a beautiful view of the city and a nice courtyard to relax the day away in the sun!! A good start to getting ready for our trip to Machu Picchu. After sifting through all the dodgy tour agencies we decided upon SAS (a company that some other friends had also recommened) and we weren´t to be disappointed. The following day we were off on our Lares Tour that would end in the final day being spent at Machu Picchu. Our tour began at 6am with a forty minute drive to our breakfast point over looking the Sacred Valley. Another short drive then it was time to begin our hike. Several hours of walking through different valleys and mountain ranges we were picked up by our bus and driven to some hot springs for a dip. Naturally the clouds come out, blocked the sun and made it a little chilly out of the scolding hot water. Luckily the showers on the side of the pools were a lovely temperature and it was a fight to keep Katie out of the way. haha. Next was our three course lunch, something that became a common occurance for every meal. Yum. Fooooood.

For the next two days we walked up and down mountain sides, reached 4400m, ate by lakes, woke up to local children staring into our tents, ate great food, had fabulous views, spent some time in a little school to hand out paper and pencils (that we had bought for them) and walked 45kms in that time. We then jumped on a bus followed by a connecting train to take us to Aguas Calientes (aptly named 'Hot Waters' because of the thermal springs found in the area). The bags were dropped in the room and it was short walk up to the springs to clean off after three days of no showering. Luckily the water wasn't crystal clear, as Adam (a new friend we nicknamed Shregan) and I certainly weren't the cleanest bodies after such a trek. A few beers in the pool and my hands started to look like a prune, so we headed back to the hostel to get ready for our early rise the following morning.
Up at 4.30am to have brekky and take the bus up to Machu Picchu, we were the second bus there and only had to wait for the gates to open up at 6am to let us in. Once opened we quickly followed our guide to one of the best positions overlooking MP. Just before sunrise, it still showed us its beautiful mystical qualities. A brilliant tour around the site for about two hours, learning all about its history, its rediscovey and its future. During these two hours we were blessed with no crowds and room to move. We also had a prime position to watch the sunrise land directly on the the sacrifice table in the Temple of the Sun! The sheer amazing talents of the Inca's to build such an incredible place is phenomenal. Literally.

After cruising around for some more time without our guide it was time to tackle Waynapicchu.... (the mountain in the back of most of my pictures). It was a steady climb for half and hour and the exhausted feeling at the end of it was quickly forgotten due to the incredible sight beneath us. Gob smacked is only a touch of how I felt to be there. We had a quick look around the buildings and then found a great position to have some food and chill out away from the rest of the Gringos who had climbed up also. To enjoy something I like to lie down and take it all in. Doing it here was fantastic. Great views, great friends and great weather. The only problem could have been the thousand feet drops all around us!!! But after a couple of hours it was time to wonder down and see some more sights. Walking around MP has a special effect on you. It's difficult to put my finger on it but it is a mix of awe, tranquility, an air of mystical qualities and a massive touch of sheer amazement! For those of you who have done it, you understand....for those who still have the lucky adventure to look forward too, BRILLIANT and you will never regret it!!!

Eight hours after we first walked through the gates it was time to go and by this time the crowds had certainly started to show their impact on the sight. The next decision to be made was whether to walk the 1000 steps to the bottom or take the bus.....Hmmmm... after four long days and many kms walked, our tired little bodies gave in and the bus it was. After a bite of lunch back at the hostel it was onto the train, followed by another bus, to take us back to Cusco. The end of another fullfilling South American experience! Off to the coast to soak up some sun and enjoy some well deserved sea level air.

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