Day 3 Inca Trail
Trip Start Dec 29, 2008
77Trip End Mar 22, 2009
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Where I stayed
Pizza restaurant in Aguas Calientes
The trail ducked through a tunnel that had been created half naturally and half by the Inca, before gradually rising to the third pass. On the way there were stunning views down to valleys on either side of the path, and of the surrounding mountain ranges. Along the way we found out we had a decision to make. For some reason the campsite we were supposed to be camping at for the night only had enough room for three of our tents, so we could either squash up for the night, or push on and finish the trail and stay in Aguas Calientes for the night. We decided to head for Aguas Calientes, as this gave us the opportunity to see Macchu Pichu twice.
From the third pass the trail began its steep descent. The Inca sites became more frequent with fountains with running water and large stones for offerings to the gods featuring strongly. There was also agricultural terracing stepping down the slopes. Up on the hillside above the trail was a site that had been discovered only in 2003, but had not yet been cleaned up properly. Along the trail there were many beautiful flowers, in particular special tiny orchids that grow wild.
We had lunch at the campsite we had intended to stay the night. It had a shop, a bar and hot showers available. From there we could look down onto Aguas Calientes.
The descent continued after lunch until we reached the steep steps climbing up, indicating the Sun Gate (Inti Pinku) was near. At this time the rain drops began again and by the time we got to the Sun Gate the only view we had was of fog. We watched as the fog cleared, then rolled in again, trying to get pictures of Macchu Pichu whenever possible. As soon as we started down the last short trek to Macchu Pichu, the clouds cleared and we had a perfect view of the mystical sight.
We first reached the agricultural terracing of Macchu Pichu, with llamas chewing on the grass. Soon we moved down to near the lookout house, to get the classic picture down over Macchu Pichu. We couldn't enter the site properly, or our passes wouldn't be valid for the next day, so we wandered down the side to the exit point. We had our passports stamped to say we'd completed the Inca trail and purchased bus tickets down to Aguas Calientes.
Our accommodation for the night was the upstairs floor of a pizza restaurant. We had a quick look around before walking up to the hot pools. To get into the pools you have to buy a ticket quite a while before you get to the pools themselves. This made sense as soon as we saw the pools - they were all a dirty brown colour and absolutely packed with people. We thought we'd give them a go anyway, but after 15 mins the smell of urine was really getting to me, so I showered off in the kind-of showers they had and headed back through town for dinner.
Our porters were still with us, and they had cooked up an amazing feast to end the trip. We even had apple cake for dessert! After dinner and more pan-pipe music it was time to thank the porters. The group had put together some money for each of our 14 porters and 2 cooks and also bought a few bottles of beer so we could do a toast. We got all the porters together for a photo, then jumped in to have a photo with them. Us girls all sat on the knees of the guys in the front row. One of the porters had taken a particular liking to me and didn't really want to let go of me.
We got to bed early, with our sleeping mats rolled out on the floor, in anticipation of an early trip to Macchu Pichu.