Cuzco to Macchu Picchu
Trip Start Sep 06, 2004
17Trip End Dec 04, 2004
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Actually we didn't rough it that much. The first couple of days, we stayed in tents in the mountains so pooing behind trees etc. was necessary, but after that we stayed in hostels and thankfully Marcus got to wash his feet.
On arrival in Cuzco, we were very disappointed to learn we wouldn't be doing the famous Inca Trail to Macchu Picchu as we'd hoped. A new rule means that you have to register a month in advance (unless you're willing to go with a dodgy agency and fake a passport pretending to be a gringo that has cancelled!) Instead we opted for the Mount Salkantay to Macchu Picchu trek
The hardest thing was the 4700 metre mountain pass that we had to climb over on day 2. I don't think I've ever plodded upwards so slowly. We chewed coca leaves (taste like shit), and scoffed mars bars but it was sooooo hard. Luckily neither of us got altitude sickness, so we made it over the mountains and down into the jungle unscathed.
The most fun thing was the "local truck" we took on day 3. We piled on to a lorry with around 50 locals, their sacks of corn, their colourful swags of potatoes, and their bags of live chickens, one of which I nearly killed when I sat on it! We bumped along precipitous hairpin mountain roads (my fear of heights has been forcibly bashed out of me after all the hair-raising Andean tracks we've been on), and ducked beneath banana trees and jungle creepers whipping past our faces. It wasn't the most comfortable journey, but it was an experience.
The saddest thing was the villages we stayed in. It was really hard to see such poverty (they don't even have an allocated hole for pooing, you just go in the dirt behind the mud shacks)
So, we took the tourist train from the end of our trek to the plastic tourist town at the foot of Macchu Picchu Mountain. The next day we climbed up (very stupid - at 6 am it was already very humid in the jungle) to Macchu Picchu. It was cloudy when we first got up there, but it gradually cleared and we ended up with great views of the site. It really is as amazing as it looks in the guide books. We climbed the famous peak that you see in all the photos behind the site, and took photos back down. On plan it's supposed to look like a condor (Inca religious symbol), but to us it looked strangely like a koala bear. Take a look at the photos and you'll see what we mean. Marcus's current theory is that it wasn't the British or the Dutch that discovered Australia at all, but actually the ancient Incas. (too many coca leaves I think!)
To celebrate our fantastic trek Marcus had guinea pig (Peruvian national dish). He just had to try it, despite the fact that it comes in the shape of guinea pig (teeth and all), just flat. He tried hard not to think of the cute furry pet variety as he ate!, and even managed a chomp on one of the ears, making all our new found trekking friends very nauseous.