Inca Trail Day 4

Trip Start Oct 13, 2007
Trip End Feb 15, 2008

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Flag of Peru  ,
Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Woken 4 so we could beat the other trail walkers to the checkpoint at 530.  After an hour and 20 of fairly steep walking to the sun gate overlooking the ancient city of Machu Pichu from a distance we got to the top and saw nothing!!  Clouds had rolled in and compltely smothered us in white!  I have a great picture of me geaturing grandly at smooth greyness!  Thankfully however, clouds move on and first the clouds covering us moved and then the clouds covering MP lifted and so we caught our first glimpse of the place we had walked so long to see.  Not that impressive from a distance actually but we were at a fair distance!  40 more minutes of walk down brought us to the close overlooking spot and some super pictures (when the clouds weenīt covering it!) and a deep sense of satisfaction that we had made it!!  That was another 7km and now all all walking would be in the city itself.
Walked a couple hundred meters to just outside the ruins to the tourist meeting point and a restaurant of sorts past some schoolgirls, one of who took my picture with her friend.  Why?  I donīt know, lots of giggling though!  We met up with the four people in our group who could walk (Binny and Kim, in their 50s, Dianae, bad back, Ellen, gastro) and then were takern on a 2.5 hr tour of the city by head guide Ruben. 
Machu Pichu is a sacred city of the incas.  It housed a 1000 people and had major temples to the sun, earth and water (the three Andean elements) as well as to their main spiritual god.  It also has houses, farming terraces, sundial/calendar stones, tricky windows which let in the sun at the solstice and so on.  It is by far the most impressive ruins we had seen so far and has been very well restored and cared for.  I still think the best thing about it was overlooking the place and feeling the satisfaction of having earned it by walking though.
After the tour we could wander around some more.  Five of us (Mike, Jo, Billy, Iceman, Keith) ran up the young mountain overlooking the city but most of the rest of us thought that MP was getting crowded (the tourist buses were arriving now), and hot so we headed to the restaurant and clean toilets before getting on an (air conditioned, thank you god) bus down to Aguas Calientes (the town at the base of the mountain).  Bit of wandering till 200 where we met at this pizzeria for lunch and to collect train tickets we would need this afternoon.  The train left at 420 and we were 1.5hrs on it then we had to change to a bus at Ollantautambo and ride it to Cusco for another two hours, getting in at 810.  Mike and I had the same room weīd had before and as we didnīt have to get up early the next day and didnīt have to walk hard we wasted no time in buying some rum and setting up on the terrace with it and some Cuban cigars I had brought with me for a comfortable night.  We chatted to various people that walked by and even got two of them who were going for pizza to pick us up one as we couldnīt be arsed to move.  After Matt and Jules brought it back they drank red wine and we kept on with the rum and we finally went to bed at 1140.
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