It's a long way to the top...

Trip Start Mar 01, 2011
Trip End Jun 12, 2011

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Hostel John

Flag of Peru  , Sacred Valley,
Friday, March 18, 2011

On Monday we were picked up at 7.00am to commence our tour to Machu Picchu. Our group consisted of 2 Argentinians 2 Israelis, 1 Brazilian and the guide a Peruvian (Ray), there's a joke there somewhere :) After breakfast we headed to Ollantaytambo which is about 2 hours from Cusco. There we began our bike ride towards a small village, Santa Maria. We were quite high, approx 2800 metres and it was quite chilly as we rode but the ride was downhill so it warmed up along the way. My legs didn't get as much of a workout though, not as much as my right hand did, gripping onto the brakes! It was a bit unnerving that there was so many graves along the side of the road where people had perished and the fact it was pissing down didn't help matters either. There was also a few streams that ran through the road which were quite scary at first as the current could take you over the edge. I got used to them until we came across a wider, stronger stream and one off the girls in our group attempted to cross it. She was quite shaky and loss her balance and fell of her bike and dived into the water. The current took her bike over the edge into some rocks, luckily it was able to be fetched out. She was fine too and looking back on it, it was quite funny and we had a laugh about it later. I have to stop myself from cracking up laughing every time I think about it, (sorry Natalia) hehe. You can see footage of Luke crossing it, it doesn't look as bad as it was. But Natalia's fall put me and the other girl off doing it. I was soaked from the waist down and didn't want my core to be as well. So we jumped into the van and came out the other side of the stream and continued our ride.   We only went a few more kilometres before we had to stop due to mudslides preventing us from crossing. One had taken a woman's house out, (picture attached).It was terrible sight. Once at Santa Maria we washed up, had some dinner and few games of cabeza de caca (shithead) before an early night for our big trek ahead. 

The following morning we headed off at 7.00 through the Inca Jungle.  The weather was a lot warmer with patches of rain and the walk quite intense at times. It was hard to distinguish the rain from the sweat, nice! Some parts of the walk were through the original Inca Trails, along the Urumbamba River and train tracks and the views the whole way were breathtaking! There was all types of plant life, banana and avocado trees, coca(ine) plants, coffee beans, different insects, millipedes, huge snails,and beautiful butterflies along the way. The whole journey took about 8 hours and we arrived into another small village, Santa Teresa. We freshened up, had some dinner, the usual steak/chicken, chips and rice, and headed out to the local nightclub. We were the only ones there at first and it didn't fill up too much more before we left (10.30) too early to party in South America!

The next day was a bit more easy going, we only walked 6 hours till we reached Aguas Caliente the closest (6km) town to Machu Picchu. It was an early night there as we had a 4.00am start the next morning. We commenced our walk to the National Park entry and waited for the gates to open at 6.00am, then we began our ascent. After biking and walking for the last 3 days it was quite tough going but a good way to wake up! We were one of the first to reach the top (in just under 50 minutes) and I was the first female, not bad for an old chook :) Being first had it's advantages, we got the choice to climb Wayna Picchu Mountain and at what time. They only allow 200 people up at 2 times both in the morning. We chose 10-11 when the cloud/mist had blown over. It also meant we were the first into Machu Picchu and managed to get photos before it was filled with loads of tourists. Ray gave us a guided tour then we were left to our own devices. We took that opportunity to take the classic postcard shot near the guard's house and to climb Wayna Picchu. 360 metres higher than Machu Picchu, (we're mad, I know)! The views overlooking MP were spectacular and although it was knackering it was well worth it, that is where we stopped for lunch, can't say you do that all the time :)  

The walk back down to Aguas Caliente was tough, and put alot of strain on my knees. Once in the town we headed straight to the hot springs to ease the pain before taking the train and bus back to Cusco for a well earned sleep. Today I had an hour and half hot stone massage just to set me right and prepare me for our next stop Copacabana, Bolivia!
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Justyna on

Nat, This is awesome!!!!!!

thecaputos on

It was Justyna, loads of fun. I forgot to mention that our group were a good laugh which added to the experience! x

Naty on

Hermosas las fotos naty!!!!! Fue un placer compartir esta experiencia con uds!!!! Si pasan por Argentina avisen asi salimos a tomar algo!!!!!Muchos besos!!!

thecaputos on

Fue muy bueno divertido conocerlos y nunca me olvido cuando te llevo la corriente, jeje. Como esta Manuel? Saludos y besos de los dos!

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