Goodby MP- Hello Cuzco

Trip Start Aug 05, 2005
Trip End Aug 21, 2005

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Friday, August 19, 2005

I set my own pace this morning- declining the option for the 5:30 am group climb to MP- the mountain and the gateway. Instead, I hit the road- that' is the bus line- at 8am. I bump into Jessica on the bus. She went to the vigilance hut yesterday so she's off to see the residential area & the condor stone. We both get our passports stamped with the MP mark. We separate shortly after the check point.

The walk to the hut is pretty much straight up over irregular stairs for the first part. I'm puffing and heart's pounding. Stop for water & remove fleece. Although over cast it's somewhat warmer- signs of sun breaking through.

I finally reach the lower tier of the terraces and meet Milena. She's started with the 5:30 crown but decided she couldn't make it any further. She'd been under the weather a couple times over the past week. She offers to sit with my backpack. I strip it off plus my over shirt then grab tghe wide angle lens and begin to head up again. Halfway to the next level I realize I've left the WA lens adapter rings, so the lens is useless! I finally reach the watchman's hut for the postcard view of MP below. Then decide to see how far I can get to Mt MP. The path is rocky but not steps- some areas in woods as the path begins to wrap around the site. After a bit, I decide I can't make it any further & turn around back to the hut.

At the hut I discover several of the 5:30 crowd hanging out on the terraces. Take some more postcard shots. Danise takes one of me- we all share shooting each other including Irene. I figure Milena might be ready to go since her sister has already headed back. I continue down the path I came up. I discover Milena & Bozena ready to leave, so timing is just right. Then I'm joined by Kathy, Danise & Irene who appear to have come by a different route. We all head back to the bus stop. We bump into Carol & Paul just arriving. Long line at the WC. I wait for Irene & Danise while everyone else heads out. When they finally join me on a bus, we leave immediately with just 5 on board- there were 3 arriving buses back up.

We we arrive back in Aguas, we walk up the RR tracks & discover Pizza Row We settle on one where Danise & I have little pizzas while Irene has chicken breast fillets. Then Jean joins us just as we get our food.

Afterward, we walk up to the market place next to the station. I have to make a quick run to the nearby station- the pizza didn't last long. Then I head back to the market looking for pachamama cross- end up with 3 as gifts.

The train is delayed- some do more shopping. We finally get on board for the reverse of yesterday's run. This time the train is packed & I share a seat with Irene.

Amerigo meets us in Ollantaytambo with the bus & we load up. Brief WC stop at another alpaca store. Kathy does us proud by buying a $90 sweater.

Finally arriving in Cuzco back at hotel. Luggage eventually makes it to the room. So I do a quick run out to buy some more souvenirs. I've got everything organized in piles- big bag, backpack, souvenir bag. I'll check one tomorrow & have to carry on the other two. This will be a challenge when we merge again with the stuff left behind in Lima.
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