Inca trail and Macchu Pichu
Trip Start Apr 09, 2013
67Trip End Mar 15, 2014
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Our first stop was the Sacred Valley (Pisac and Ollyantaytambo). Here we fed some alpacas, learnt how local people weave/knit and spin the wool that they take from alpacas/llamas and sheep. We also learnt how they colour the wool different colours using natural dyes such as cactus parasites for cochineal. As we are always in favour of giving money to local people yet again Liam invested in some local knitted garments, this time in the form of a woolly brightly coloured alpaca scarf!
After a short trip to Pisac where we explored some Inca ruins, including going through the mountains in a tunnel which was especially exciting, we headed to local markets where we tried our hands at bartering
At Ollyantaytambo we were introduced to many many inca steps and a mini inca village at the bottom of what looked like the Gibraltar rock, we also got to try out our brightly coloured ponchos for the first time. We looked like coloured poddington peas!
An early wake up call marked the start of the inca trail. All of our bags were weighed to make sure that the porters weren't carrying too much stuff and we were given our hiking sticks which would become a bit of a lifeline for us over the coming days.
Our tour group included 2 scots, 3 Canadians, 2 icelandics, 2 Guides, 11 porters and 2 cooks.....!
The first day of walking wasn't so bad, it was varied in up and downhill and we were able to enjoy the views and more inca ruins as well as getting to know our tour group. This was also our first introduction into the fine dining that we would receive throughout the trip as well as the standing ovation that we would receive from all our porters as we reached various milestones
Day 2 was the hardest for us as it was 5 hours walking, constantly uphill up to an altitude of 4200 meters above sea level followed by 2 hours downhill on particularly slippery rocks (why we couldn't just go round the middle I do not know!). The highest point of the trek was called dead woman's pass because apparently it looked like a woman's nipple whilst lay down - personally I think they were clutching at straws with this one! This was also the coldest part of the trek for us (and the dead woman's nipple too) due to the high altitude. Unfortunately our sleeping bags were not quite sufficient to keep the heat in so we borrowed a couple of table cloths to act as blankets to get us through the night.
Day 3 was our favourite, it wasn't nearly as hard as day 2 and we were constantly faced with different terrains, from snowy mountains, to gorgeous valleys and Indiana jones style jungle passes. Another highlight of this day was that by the time that we reached base camp at the end of the day, the cooks had prepared a surprise for Mark (one of the Scots) and Liam for their birthdays
Day 4 was Liam's official birthday and what better way to mark the occasion than getting up at 3.30am, hiking 2 hours without a proper breakfast to watch the sun rise over Macchu pichu city. Unfortunately happiness was temporarily knocked when on route down to Macchu Pichu city, one of our group fell off the mountain/cliff edge and hit his head. Fortunately he was caught by a tree or things could have been much worse. He was swiftly taken off to hospital but our tour round Macchu pichu city then had a very different feel.
In spite of the drama, we were still managed to appreciate how amazing Macchu Pichu city is. With over 3000 terraces, countless houses, impressive temples and other amazing inca architecture, this really is one of the true wonders of the world.
Finally we returned to Cusco where we went out for a slap up meal, dining on guinea pig (which is disgusting), alpaca and some Peruvian pisco (local booze).
All in all the inca trail and Machu Pichu definitely get the thumbs up from us!